Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Word: Has boxing tapped out to UFC?

By Eddie Brown

Despite the growing popularity and exposure of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, there are still many sports fans who would equate UFC more with Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment than the sweet science of boxing.
However, a UFC enthusiast would be quick to counter by rattling off the sport's lengthy and growing roster of Olympic champions in wrestling and judo, black belts in jiu-jitsu and judo, world and national wrestling champions, kickboxing world champions, and those with impressive credentials in more than one of these disciplines.

With boxing's heavyweight division in shambles, it's no surprise UFC continues to surge in popularity among "combat" sports fans.

The Bee went to the Fat Cat Music House and Lounge in downtown Modesto to find local residents' thoughts on the matter.

"UFC is gaining in popularity because it better represents actual street fighting," said Kevin Mayhew, 30, of Turlock. "In real life, 80 percent of fights end up on the ground. No one stands toe-to-toe."

Cornelius Jordan, 27, of St. Louis added: "That's why boxing at its best is better than UFC.

"There's more strategy. I've never seen a UFC fight that rivaled Ali-Frazier or Leonard-Hearns."

Others countered the best boxer would most likely lose to a mixed martial artist.

"Take Roy Jones Jr., pit him against a decent MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter, and I don't think Roy Jones would last. Even in his prime," said Jackson Carlson, 35, of Modesto.

"The MMA fighter would work wonders against any boxer. Boxers aren't trained for the type of fighting MMA does, and MMA is used to jabs, punches."


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