Franchise Thoughts: Could Help for the Heavyweight Division Come From MMA?

As the world of televised boxing takes a bit of a breather this weekend to prepare us for the stellar Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito clash next Saturday, MMA gets the spotlight all to itself. By the sound of it though, some of the bigger (literally) names on tonight's Affliction card are thinking about giving boxing a try.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski already has his foot in the door. He'll have Freddie Roach in his corner tonight, and the boxing trainer extraordinaire thinks The Pitbull has what it takes to become a legit heavyweight boxer. Arlovski was rumored to be fighting on the undercard of the September 13 Joel Casamayor-Juan Manuel Marquez PPV telecast, and while that plan appears to have fallen through, I wouldn't be shocked to see him in a boxing ring in the near future.

The man facing Fedor Emelianenko tonight, Tim Sylvia, also has boxing on his mind. As reported by Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports, Sylvia - also a former UFC heavyweight titlist - hinted that he'd like to take a stab at the sweet science:

“Absolutely, if the money was there, I believe I could beat any heavyweight boxer out there at his own game,” he said. “I’m that confident in my stand-up. I’d love for some boxing promotion to approach me with one of the top heavyweights because I’d probably beat them."

You don't even have to dig very far into Sylvia's quote to find out what's got both men considering a slight change of profession. Even with the skyrocketing popularity of MMA, the current business model doesn't allow most of the fighters to make the kind of money the top boxers make. And with a heavyweight division that everyone agrees is in disarray (okay, not everyone), it's not hard to see the same opportunity Arlovski and Sylvia see.

Both men have size on their side, especially Sylvia, who would look down at Wladimir Klitschko and outweigh him by a good 20 pounds. Sylvia claims to have had some boxing training and Arlovski is already working with Roach. Both are obviously good athletes (Sylvia haters may disagree!) who know how to throw and take a punch.

But could they really make a switch at this point in their careers and make it to world-class level in boxing? I'm skeptical. Arlovski is 29 and Sylvia is a few years older. They'd have to adjust extremely quickly to the differences in timing and spacing between the two sports and acclimate themselves to using bigger, heavier gloves.

Still, as a boxing fan, I say the more the merrier, especially at heavyweight. I'm not so sure it would be as easy as Sylvia thinks, but it might be fun to watch them try. And as anyone who sat through Klitschko-Ibragimov a few months ago would surely agree, the current crop of boxing heavyweights could use an injection of fun.

1 comment:

uatu said...

Uatu Would Love To See Any Mma Fighters Try Boxing? Why Not? It Would Make For Good Promotions And Make $. The Mma Fighters Appear More Muscular And Heavy For Their Heights So They Might All End Up Being Short Boxers In The Lower Classes. But It Would Be Interesting To See A Faber Or Pulver Try. - From The 2005 Sanyo