It’s official, folks. The highly anticipated boxing showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is officially set for August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The fight will air live on pay-per-view, courtesy of Showtime, with a $100.00 price tag to finally see what happens when a top-level MMA fighter steps out of the cage and into the ring.
Let’s get this out of the way: McGregor only has a 1% chance of winning this fight, and, depending on who you talk to, that’s being generous. Mayweather is arguably the greatest fighter of all-time and certainly the greatest defensive fighter that has ever lived. The sweet science is imprinted in the Mayweather family’s DNA, and professionals who have trained most of their lives never came close to beating Floyd.
The last time I was completely dismissive of a fight, Matt Serra defeated Georges St. Pierre to become the welterweight champion. I’m trying not to make the same mistake twice but I don’t see many avenues where Alexander Gustafsson finds victory against Jon Jones at UFC 165 in Toronto.
This week, combat sports lost two of its most influential and beloved members in Jeff Blatnick and Emanuel Steward.
Blatnick won the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics in Greco Roman wrestling and was a color commentator for UFC 4-32. He was instrumental in drafting the unified rules that govern the sport today and coined the term Mixed Martial Arts.
Stewart won the national golden gloves tournament in 1963. He transitioned to training professional fighters and became one of the most accomplished and sought after trainers in the sport. The founder of Detroit’s legendary Kronk Gym not only produced a plethora of championship fighters such as Thomas Hearns but helped get troubled youths off the streets.
Todd Martin of the Wrestling Observer wrote an insightful piece on Jeff Blatnick, and ESPN posted a wonderful article on Emanuel Steward. I highly recommend you check them out.
The apples and oranges argument of MMA vs. Boxing makes me roll my eyes sometimes. Some feel caged combat is overrated and deprived of any athletic craftsmanship. In contrast, others say clashes of the pugilistic variety are too one-dimensional and archaic to be considered real fighting. It’s easy to understand how MMA can look like an uneducated brawl at times, but you have to remember the sport is currently in its golden years.
Boxing’s organizational roots can be traced back to 1743, while the Marquess of Queensberry rules that were drafted in 1867 have governed Boxing ever since.
The first organized Mixed Martial Arts bout took place in 1989 in Japan for the Shooto promotion, while the Ultimate Fighting Championship held their inaugural event in 1993.
My parents hadn’t met each other yet when Joe Frazier was the heavyweight champion of the world. Still, I felt a lot of sadness when news of his passing broke. I’m a casual boxing fan at best who enjoys the big mega fight on occasion. Watching Joe Frazier beat Muhammad Ali, via VHS, was a moment for me that validated the notion that ethnicity is not defined by public perception or stereotypes. In the days leading up to their encounter at the Garden, Ali hurled a plethora of racial insults that questioned how “black” Frazier really was. Ali was loud and flamboyant while Frazier was reserved but fierce. Fight night arrived on March 8, 1971 and ‘Smokin’ Joe did his talking in the ring.