Boxing vs MMA

The Final Showdown

By Umar Al Mujahid Abdur-Rasheed Formerly Anthony Navarro

Just like the heated debates that Muslims and Christians have over Jesus being a just Prophet or the Divine son of God, fight fans have been arguing over which sport has the better all round athletes…. Boxing or Mixed Martial Arts.

I myself am a former boxer with a passion for Boxing that runs deep in my blood, but I also respect the athleticism, skill and courage it takes to step in the Octagon. Without playing favorites or being biased, I will analyze the two sports with all of their ups and downs, pro’s and cons to come to the final conclusion as to which fight sport reigns supreme over the other. Some of you may agree and some may disagree, but hey…. everyone’s entitled to their own opinion I guess, right?

Growing up as a child with a Puerto Rican grandfather who also used to fight, I was planted in front of the television every fight night, regardless of who was fighting and was put through an intense home version of boxing school. My grandfather taught me about foot work, defense, conditioning and why the jab is the most important punch in Boxing. He taught me about respect and how it’s better to fight and lose than to duck like a coward. I came to respect anyone who ever laced up a pair of gloves and I learned to respect and love this ritual of man verse man in an attempt to prove which one is the alpha male.

Boxing is the sweet science where you could take out a bigger stronger opponent by combining the right foot work with punches in the right places. A great game plan like Muhammad Ali’s “rope a dope” will allow you to tire out even the biggest puncher and crumble him with the softest touch. In Boxing you need to be intelligent as well as skilled and conditioned. Same goes for MMA. I remember the first time I saw a UFC fight and watched as teeth were knocked out and blood flowed from every fighter, I thought to myself, “damn, the fight game dun changed.” It was beautiful and ugly at the same time. Three, five minute rounds of brutal knees and elbows, Wrestling, Jui Jitsu, Karate, Boxing and street fighting. Almost anything was allowed and it made for an entertaining watch.

I wondered how Boxers would have fared against these grapplers and take down artists in the UFC. I also wondered how long these MMA guys would have lasted

against boxing animals like Mike Tyson or David Tua. It’s a tough comparison, but each sport has its up sides and down sides and it really comes down to what you the individual are looking for.

Boxers have to condition themselves to stand and trade punches with another trained fighter for twelve long rounds. If you’re a boxer and not much of a slugger, then you have to be prepared to bounce around the ring picking your shots. This is not an easy task. I have had college football players quit after sparring for one minute, for the simple fact that they got tired and couldn’t breathe well. So you know that this is a special kind of stamina that we’re talking about. Speed, accuracy, power, endurance, all topped with the skill to use them, put together in a beautiful display of dominance over your opponent. Fighting who ever, when ever to prove that you are the best in the world makes for modern day gladiators, but with the advancement in salary, things have changed in Boxing.

Greedy fighters and promoters are ruining this great tradition. With so many titles out there and fighters winning them before reaching 20 fights,

masculine pre Madonna’s are starting to demand money that they haven’t proven they are worth. Boxers like Floyd Mayweather Jr and David Haye, who make claims of greatness, but then dodge the fighters we want to see them fight are the culprits and we the fans let them get away with it. If they can make millions of dollars fighting bums and maintaining their great records then why take the risk of damaging their image that they worked so hard in portraying themself as?

MMA doesn’t have this problem because their fighters aren’t making as much as boxers so it’s more of a proving grounds to make the big pay days, rather than running your mouth and fooling people into thinking that you’re something worth paying to see. In MMA everyone is not a champion and this is something that they have over Boxing. You have to beat the best to be the best and it’s almost impossible to duck anyone. As of right now, I feel that MMA is the more competitive sport because their fighters are hungrier for the wealth, fame and respect of being a true

champion. You have boxers who are in the lime light just after a few wins, not because they are amazing fighters, but because they have caused some sort of controversy or for just being loud and obnoxious, like Britain’s Dereck Chisora. With only 14 wins he was thrusted into the spot light for biting one opponent and kissing another. I really don’t see the point in becoming famous as a fighter for kissing another guy, but it has happened and his mouth has got him a shot at the title with champion Wladimir Klitschko. Has this title shot been truly earned or has the crooked politics of Boxing struck again?

MMA’s downside is the floor fighting. Some fighters use an early take down to start a wrestling match that lasts the entire fight. It’s not very exciting to watch and personally, I’d rather watch a boring Boxing match than MMA wrestling. Also not many of these MMA fighters are known, so there isn’t much of a personal connection between fighter and fan, like there is in Boxing. I’ve followed some of my favorite fighters from their first fight until the championship bouts. When you don’t know much about someone

it’s hard to get excited about seeing them in a match. Boxing is great at playing on the emotions of the fans. So many legendary nights have filled television screens all over the world. When you follow two great young fighters and watch as they do battle at the height of their career, it can be an almost magical event. I don’t see much of that with MMA and that is something that would send it into another level…. the intimate personal relationship factor.

In conclusion I will say this; Boxing is a sport that has been around since the earliest man. It has had much time to develop into a great sport and also has had time to have a down fall. MMA is fairly new on the scene, but has great potential to turn into something as amazing as Boxing was from the 60’s up until the year 2000. Politics and greed have drastically changed the dynamics of the sport and need to be rid from Boxing before many casual fans lose interest. MMA has grabbed many fans quickly, but like I said, it lacks that personal touch that Boxing offers the fan. Both sports have amazing athletes and if anyone thinks they can just jump in the

ring or the octagon and compete, then they will “sorely” be mistaken.

My final opinion is that Boxing and MMA are two entirely different sports and should NOT be compared. MMA fighters train for take downs, kicks, elbows and wrestling, while boxers train for defense and striking only. I don’t think a boxer is better than a mixed martial artist and vice versa. Look at what happened to the great boxer James Toney when he courageously stepped up and took on MMA. He was submitted quickly and we are still waiting for a mixed martial artist to step up and take the Boxing challenge. Boxers are not ready for knees and elbows, or to be taken to the ground the same way a mixed martial artist will not be able to stand the striking skill and accuracy of a boxer. To me personally, comparing Boxing and MMA is like comparing Baseball and Basketball. Both great sports with great athletes, but it’s up to you to decide which you like better. So I say respect to both Boxing and MMA athletes, and…. let’s get it on!!!

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