20.1.09

Report: Roy Jones to Face Omar Sheika on Combined Boxing-MMA Card

Golden Boy Productions and Affliction have been kicking around the concept of top-level cards combining boxing and MMA for a while. So far they haven't acted on that idea - and are actually doing the exact opposite this Saturday by promoting separate boxing and MMA events on the same night - but now it looks like they'll have a chance to watch someone else take the risk of trying it first.

ESPN's Dan Rafael reports that Roy Jones Jr. will take on Omar Sheika as part of a mixed boxing-MMA card in Jones' hometown of Pensacola on March 21. The event will be on pay-per-view and is planned to include multiple boxing and MMA bouts.

Though the article states that the state of Florida has already given its blessing to hold a combined card, it's not immediately apparent who Jones and Square Ring are working with to fill out the MMA side. Several regional promotions that have held successful events call Florida home, including Xtreme Fighting Championships and the Mixed Fighting Alliance, and the popular American Top Team camp has fighters training all over the state.

On the boxing side, Jones seems to have found the perfect foil in Sheika: someone Roy should be able to beat if he's not completely shot but credible enough to avoid allegations that the fight is a farce. Sheika owns a victory over Glen Johnson and has been in against Joe Calzaghe and Jeff Lacy, though he's fought just once since 2005 while battling various injuries.

While there's little doubt Jones will draw at the gate in his hometown, the real question will be whether going pay-per-view in a down economy will bear fruit, especially since other bigger fights seem to be headed the other way in 2009. Jones and company will have to hope his name and curiosity about the hybrid card can translate into buys.

4 comments:

uatu said...

There's no reason this can't work. It's all about quality in the match-ups. It won't please everyone, but in this economy, why not give more value for your dollar? Why not try to capture a varied audience?

spartan117 said...

One reason it might not work is that the varied audience you speak of may be smaller than you think. Fight Fans may want to save their hard-earned dollars for exclusive boxing or MMA PPVs, regardless of quality match-ups.

uatu said...

yes, that is true too. As a newer UFC fan, I weigh money now for boxing ppv's against the UFC too. there's only so much one can spend on fight ppv's.

The Franchise said...

I think the jury is still out on whether or not the combat sport audience will support this, and we won't find out until someone does it right. Unfortunately, I don't think this event will qualify, but I do feel like Golden Boy and Affliction are probably secretly thrilled that someone else is going to be the guinea pig.