8/05/2008 5:32am, #1
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
Rick Morrissey: Boxing beats the heck out of MMA
I get it that boxing is dying. Or at least I get it that boxing is perceived to be dying. We're all in the process of dying. But that simple fact does not take away from the truth that each of us has inherent value, even as we head toward certain death.
If you've been paying any attention to the burgeoning popularity of mixed martial arts, you know that boxing has become uncool. It's as if your father has started wandering the neighborhood in shorts, black socks and wingtips.
It's sad. Yes, this will be a plaintive defense of the sweet science, and there will be a decent amount of head-scratching over what makes MMA so attractive to so many people.
It comes from someone who finds MMA, compared with boxing, unsatisfying. I'm not saying I don't like a good cage match. But after a few years of watching MMA, I've realized that the ultimate-fighting matches I find most appealing are the ones that involve the most boxing.
Watching two guys breathing on each other for a minute or more while they try to extricate themselves from a tangle of arms and legs on the ground leaves me frustrated. So do the weak punches and elbows thrown at a fighter who is trying to play turtle from a prone position. Watching one opponent put another in a chokehold leaves me feeling empty. Then again, so does a boxing match in which two fighters spend most of the bout in a clinch.
But when boxing is good, when two fighters are going at it with skill and fury, it's very good. When MMA is good, it's very good too. The problem is that it's not very good enough of the time.
I think we can agree that for all the various reasons we might be attracted to blood sports — the incredible dedication, the athleticism, the nobleness of competition — it's the blood we're after most.
And that's the tease of MMA. The fighters use much smaller gloves than boxers, and thus the chance for blood is high, as long as punches are thrown and landed cleanly. The problem with the sport is that many bouts lack punches and, therefore, punch.
I don't want to give the impression that I'm a huge boxing fan. When I'm channel surfing, I'll usually stop for boxing and MMA. I'm not against MMA. I'm for boxing. I prefer knockouts to submissions. Feel free to consider me a picky barbarian.
As I write this, I realize that what bothers me about ultimate fighting is the ground-fighting part of it. Before MMA's arrival, ESPN and other networks showed kickboxing matches. I'd watch those if they washed ashore while I was surfing. I can appreciate a good kick to the head, as long as it's not my head. But when wrestling and some of the hand-to-hand martial arts were added to the equation, it felt as if everything was slowed down.
Ground fighting has a tendency to grind things to a virtual halt. During the recent Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito welterweight title fight, HBO announcer Jim Lampley said something along the lines of, "We promised you violence, and we gave you violence!"
You could almost feel boxing's desperation in his voice. The message was that MMA doesn't have the market cornered on brutality.
Margarito won an 11th-round technical knockout. It was a wonderful display of Cotto's boxing skills and Margarito's relentlessness. Cotto's record fell to 32-1. Margarito is 37-5.
That brings me to another sore spot. When you watch an MMA title fight, it's not unusual to see a fighter with a 9-4 record going for a championship. Randy Couture, one of the legends of ultimate fighting, has a 16-8 record. Yes, it's a young sport, and fighters are evolving. But why do the best of the best seem to lose so often?
I can already hear MMA fans' rebuttal: Because everybody in the sport is so good. What's the deeper meaning of the sport's popularity?
I had an ultimate fighter once tell me that every man has a warrior inside him wanting to come out. Perhaps, but nothing in that explanation separates MMA from boxing.
Maybe the allure has to do with a yearning for a world with no rules. It's no-holds-barred street fighting, and nobody gets arrested afterward. It's "Mad Max."
The demographics for MMA skew younger than boxing, and that's exciting for anyone with a product to sell. It's why ESPN the Magazine featured ultimate fighter Kimbo Slice on its cover. It's why CBS aired the Slice-James Thompson fight in prime time.
The highlight of the May bout came when Slice burst one of Thompson's cauliflower ears with a punch. Hey, at least there was a punch thrown.
****One of those Ignorant in MMA***
Last edited by snakerattle79; 8/05/2008 5:34am at .
8/05/2008 7:10am, #2
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
- BJJ, Judo
If watching MMA frustrates him so much why does he even watch it and prolong his frustration?
Last edited by RuledByEnmity; 8/05/2008 7:22am at .
8/05/2008 7:27am, #3Originally Posted by snakerattle79
That brings me to another sore spot. When you watch an MMA title fight, it's not unusual to see a fighter with a 9-4 record going for a championship. Randy Couture, one of the legends of ultimate fighting, has a 16-8 record. Yes, it's a young sport, and fighters are evolving. But why do the best of the best seem to lose so often?There are no wrong threats, only wrong answers. (Strategy game truism)
8/05/2008 7:33am, #4
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- Sep 2004
- Dayville, Connecticut, United States
Not to mention that MMA has a lot more ways to lose than boxing. It's hard to have a perfect record when you are always a heartbeat away from losing.And lo, Kano looked down upon the field and saw the multitudes. Amongst them were the disciples of Uesheba who were greatly vexed at his sayings. And Kano spake: "Do not be concerned with the mote in thy neighbor's eye, when verily thou hast a massive stick in thine ass".
--Scrolls of Bujutsu: Chapter 5 vs 10-14.
8/05/2008 7:40am, #5
So you don't like grappling. I do. Big deal. Next.
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Maybe because they tend to fight other top guys instead of cans, and of two people, at most one can win? Duh. Next.
8/05/2008 7:57am, #6Originally Posted by Grappler
8/05/2008 12:51pm, #7
I thought it was a well written article. I think if more boxing fans would take this approach there wouldn't be a stigma of boxing vs mma. It is what it is. It's hard to get around that basic idea. I like boxing for what it is, I like grappling for what it is and I like mma for what it is.
8/05/2008 12:56pm, #8
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- Jan 2008
8/05/2008 1:06pm, #9
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- Nov 2005
- Improv comedy
Decent article I expected much worse
If your a fan of pugilism you'll enjoy boxing over MMA.
No big deal
8/05/2008 1:11pm, #10
Originally Posted by gameness
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- Aug 2007
- Judo, BJJ