by Robert Ramos
With this past Saturday’s historic victory, Bernard Hopkins has demonstrated that boxing is a thinking man’s game and at 46 years of age, his skill level was perfected to the point of winning a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal, who is almost 20 years younger than Hopkins. This recent light heavyweight triumph made him the oldest boxer to ever win a world title.
B-Hop has achieved greatness by not only having to rely on his physical skill, because like everyone else, his physical capabilities have faded somewhat, but his canny ability to capitalize on the mistakes of others, create diversions and psychologically get into his opponents’ head, eventually leads them to succumb to his will.
Along with the Hopkins’ victory, 2011 has been a great year for boxing’s overall fast resurgence, especially considering how MMA is growing. Many people were dismissing boxing as their fathers and grandfather’s sport, but boxing is miraculously breathing fresh new life into itself, especially with most recent fights of Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto, Orlando Salido vs. Juan Manuel Lopez, and Jorge Arce vs. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. These spectacular displays of heart and soul with spectacular bouts ending in knockouts have done wonders for the boxing game.
Does this mean that boxing will surpass the ever-growing youthful fan base of MMA, or is boxing at a level where it should be? Absolutely not. However, with more impressive matchups, great upsets and newly crowned champions, boxing is slowly gaining momentum and regaining it’s faded glory.
Boxing has become well respected by many MMA fighters and trainers, because in order to become an MMA world champion you need to have an array of strategies and be extremely well-rounded. However, when it comes to standup combat in the cage, nothing say’s hello better than a fast, accurate, and explosive pair of leather covered fist bombs, or an al a carte devastating left hook, served steaming hot for an impressive knockout victory. Yes, MMA fighters are honing their already lethal skills via intense training in the art of boxing. Freddie Roach, the legendary Wild Card boxing gym trainer is highly sought after by MMA greats such as, Andre Arlovski, BJ Penn, and even one of UFC’s top pound for pound champions Anderson Silva and the trend continues to grow.
Let’s try to forget about the pitiful James Toney circus act he performed while trying to create a riff between MMA fighters and boxers, by challenging MMA legendary fighter Randy Couture in an MMA cage match last August and trash talking all the way down to the last day of the fight. As we all know, the outcome was despicable for Toney. It’s downright foolish for anyone to try and compare the two sports, because each stands solidly on its own foundations. We all know a boxer stands no real chance in the cage, just as a cage fighter has no business in the boxing ring.
Seems like Dana White, the President of UFC and MMA marketing guru who was recently seen attending the Pacquiao vs. Mosley fight, has also had a change of heart. Dana, who been previously known for bashing the sport of boxing, he has been recently quoted to have become quite fond of boxing and believes they can co-exist on their own merits.
Fight fans can agree that the most exciting part of watching MMA bouts is the standup and striking portion of the fight. Without a doubt, newly acquired boxing skills have helped many MMA fighters to simply become better fighters and have actually enhanced the overall sport of MMA. Does anyone remember how ugly MMA fights were in its early stages? It was pretty brutal and sorry to watch, especially when it came to fist striking and the standup game. It’s not fair to say that boxing has almost perfected the MMA fight game, but it sure has made it far more exciting and enjoyable to watch.