Have you ever heard the saying in MMA that styles make fights? It could not be more true than in this fight. The McGregor/Mayweather fight exposes so much that is wrong in both MMA and boxing today. For boxing it is a sign of the times when you stop an average person on the street and ask them to name a top boxer and they will almost surely struggle to name anyone. So is the answer to have a Super fight between one of boxing’s last well know fighters and the MMA superstar McGregor? Will this get boxing back in the media spotlight it once had? The problem is that this well-known boxer has actually been retired for a while now. So he certainly is not fighting in his prime. Couple this with everyone’s memory of the ridiculously protracted, highly anticipated, money generating, hugely disappointing, and totally anti-climactic Mayweather/Pacquiao fight and I am not sure that this even qualifies as a “Super fight”. Many past boxers, trainers, and other boxing purest have been complaining that this fight is taking all the attention away from other matches featuring new and upcoming fighters. Let’s face it if boxing wasn’t in the state that it is in this fight couldn’t take any attention away. Do you really think if Ali/Frazer or Mike Tyson, in his prime, was fighting somewhere that a boxing match between a retired Boxer and a MMA fighter could possibly take the attention away?
From the MMA side this fight points out a number of issues. Firstly the UFC needs to stop promoting the Miss MMA winner of the week contest while totaling ignoring the rest of the company and all the other fighters. Fighting is not a popularity contest nor a contest to see who can draw the biggest crowds just by having the biggest mouth. Does the UFC really want to become big time wrestling? MMA fighters should not be dictating who they will fight and when. Nor should they allowed to hold up titles in different weight classes just because they are the media darlings at the moment. The UFC has for too long ignored the need for an actual bracketed structure in which fighters have to fight their way to the top. Fighters would then become champions based on their ability to fight instead of their ability to attract media attention by acting like a punk at weigh in’s andd media events. I understand that the UFC is a business and needs to make money but what they are forgetting is their business is fighting! Paying the real fighters peanuts while you are making Billions and allowing people to walk in off the street and be given a title shot because they were once a WWE star is, over time, going to be their demise. Sure fights like this one will make money but only for the short term. For the long term MMA needs the real fighters and the real fight fans.
The other thing that this fight will demonstrate is that MMA fighters are not boxers. Even if you take a MMA fighter that is well known (in MMA) for his boxing ability like Franky Edgar for example and put him in straight up boxing matches with seasoned boxers he will lose. That doesn’t mean that Edgar is not a good fighter, in fact he is a great fighter, he is just not a boxer. Due to the need to be able to fight both on their feet and on the ground (and host of bad coaches and gyms) most of the MMA fighters train in what have become a sort of cookie cutter, McDonalds martial arts, type training. They learn a little boxing, a little Muay Thai, and a little Ju-jitsu in a one size fits all gym. Again I am not trying to say that it is the fighters fault it is just the nature of how the MMA gyms have developed over time. If you doubt this just watch any of the countdown videos to an upcoming fight. If you watch closely you will see both fighters doing the same heavy rope shaking, tire rolling, hammer swinging, a bit of heavy bag work and of course hitting the mitts. Do you ever see them working on the specific techniques of fighting? One of the few that did things differently was George St. Pierre. When he wanted to train his wrestling he went to the gym of the Canadian Olympic wrestling team. When he wanted to work on his BJJ he went to an actual BJJ gym. When he wanted to Box he trained at a boxing gym with actual boxers. I believe that the value of this type of training was shown in the success that he had.
Did I mention the bad coaching? Have you ever listened to the advice the guys in the corner give the fighters in between rounds? Remember the Rousey/Holms fight? Here you have one of the best woman grapplers on the planet getting her ass kicked trying to out kickbox a kickboxer and did you ever hear her coach suggest that just maybe she should give up the kickboxing and concentrate on her grappling skills to win the fight?
So what about this fight? Who will win? The truth is that everyone will lose. Since McGregor will be limited to strictly boxing he will have only one technique available to him, a powerful punch. The problem is that with the superior footwork and body movement of Mayweather he will likely never get the chance to connect with that punch. I have not heard yet how many rounds this match will be but Mayweather obviously has the advantage if the fight is the same number of rounds as a standard boxing match. Lastly Mayweather has had to do nothing that he has not done in the past countless times in respect to his training for this fight. McGregor on the other hand has had to spend a huge amount of his time just trying to learning boxing basics and to not instinctively throw an elbow or a kick to Mayweathers head! So in the end what does all of this prove? If Maywether wins it proves that a top former boxer can beat a non-boxer in the ring. If McGregor gets lucky and knocks Mayweather out it shows that a MMA fighter can get lucky in the ring and defeat a retired boxer. If Mayweather would fight McGregor in a MMA fight would he stand a chance? Of course not! After all the hype it does not prove that a MMA fighter is better than a boxer or that boxing is better than MMA. It just proves that if all everyone behind this event care about is just taking as much money as they can from the fight fans and do not care about the actual fighting then neither boxing or MMA has a future!