Recently Dana White put the kibosh on a MMA fight between Roy Jones Jr. and Anderson Silva. My first reaction was "Dammit Dana", which has become my default reaction to any headline that bears his name recently. But then I thought about it for a minute, what exactly would this fight prove? The answer…nothing. Roy Jones, like every other aging boxer not named Lennox Lewis, is looking for 15 more minutes of fame and a big paycheck. Silva on the other hand seems to be in his prime. He dominates the middleweight division in the UFC and is the single reason former middleweight champion Rich Franklin has become a light heavyweight.
Under MMA rules Roy Jones barely has a punchers chance at his age. Granted one lucky blow by Jones could end the fight, but the probability of that happening against Silva’s superior defensive skills is slim to none. There is nothing to gain from UFC’s point of view. If Silva wins, it will most likely be a terrible fight. Yes, even more terrible than Silva’s last two “opponents”. If by some miracle Roy Jones is somehow able to connect with a knockout blow, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC would fall to an aging washed up boxer.
So what if the roles were reversed? What if Silva stepped into the boxing ring? The answer… Who knows? A good portion of Silva’s fighting style includes the use of his legs. Taking that away, along with all the other MMA extras, limits what Silva can do. Is Silva as formidable of an opponent if he can only throw punches? Not having to worry about his clinches or kicks could move the needle in Jones’ favor. But again what have we proven here? If Roy Jones wins, then he’s beaten a fighter foreign to the boxing world. If Roy Jones loses, then we are back to Silva beating an aging, washed up boxer. Another lose, lose situation.
Will boxing and MMA ever collide? I believe so. This is the fighting world after all and there is always a promotion that will find fighters willing to do anything for a paycheck. But will we ever see the best of the best give up their specialty to fight the best of the best in another specialty? Unlikely. When it comes right down to it, at the highest level boxing and MMA are different worlds and different disciplines. Tactics that work in one don’t necessarily work in the other. The fact 2 people are fighting each other is almost where the comparisons stop.
How could a fight be structured so top of the line fighters would want to participate? I’ve heard of having a different fighting style for each round of the fight. I think that clearly gives the advantage to the style that happens to get round one. How about scheduling two fights months apart? Maybe the first is boxing and the second is MMA. Would you pay to see a 2 fight contest against, let’s say Manny Pacquiao and Urijah Faber?
Bottom line, we will have to be content with Silva facing Forest in UFC 101. A fight that I hope will bring excitement back to a Silva fight. Forest as everyone knows has no problem pushing the pace inside the Octagon. As for Roy? Maybe he can start out a bit more modest than challenging the best middleweight in the world to prove that he can hang in MMA. Maybe someone like… Jose Concesco.