Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Nine Who Need to Hang Up the Gloves

By Jake Rossen

Mustering up all his congested wisdom, geriatric prize fighter Larry Holmes once stated, "The thought of being broke scares me." The sentiment could help explain why Holmes stepped into the ring right into his mid-50s, and why having the spotlight shine on someone else seemed anathema to him.

Fighters know fighting. So few fighters know anything but fighting that even a lopsided career is better than none at all. And like boxing, MMA has seen its share of ill-qualified contenders continue to step in the ring, even when declining skills, advanced age, or lack of common sense should be enough to dissuade them.

These are nine athletes who no longer seem prepared to match the price of admission. Astute readers may note the lack of Kazushi Sakuraba (Pictures); because I've railed against his morbid participation for years, suffice it to say that any further mention would be redundant. Call him the tenth, absentee entry.

In random order:

"Tank" Abbott

Hard to believe, but the ample-bellied Abbott was once as foreboding a figure as any you'd find in a sport full of very stern-looking individuals. His eyes are positively reptilian in their apathy for other living things.

And though they say power is the last thing to go, Abbott's physical deterioration since a return bid in 2003 has forced a 1-5 record. Get him on the floor and he's absolutely helpless — vs. Kimo, Frank Mir (Pictures); stand with him and you're likely to plow right through his molasses-glazed striking — vs. Correira, Buentello. A penchant for nightlife has rendered his athleticism, once effective even in spite of its bulbous overcoat, stagnant.

Were it not for Wesley Correira (Pictures) willingly standing still and allowing himself to be clocked, Abbott's last victory would have been nearly a decade old. "Tank" is undoubtedly not the sort of someone you'd shove in a bar, but the sport's current criteria is — thankfully — a bit more strict than that.

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