PDA

View Full Version : UFC vs. Boxing. What are they doing right, wrong, and what is the future?



dgiharris
04-12-2009, 10:09 AM
So its late, i'm watching the UFC 94, and I'm amazed.

The fights are incredible and I'm totally into them...

Then I had a thought. When was the last time I watched a Boxing match? The answer surprised me since I grew up watching boxing.

I have some opinions about the UFC and Boxing, but thought i'd throw it out there to get your takes.

What do you think about the UFC?

What do you think about Boxing?

What do you think of their respective histories?

What are they doing right and wrong?

And any other comments/ponderings about this subject.

Mel...

K. Taylor
04-12-2009, 12:29 PM
Been a UFC fan for a few years now. Never watched boxing, except for a couple times we were in a gold medal round at the Olympics. I've always had an interest in martial arts, even spar with my current boyfriend, so UFC is much more entertaining for me. And when you get to know a lot of the guys, they're actually really nice, humble, decent folk outside the ring.

Prozyan
04-12-2009, 01:34 PM
Boxing today suffers from the same fate that eventually the UFC and, if the trend continues, most physical sports will suffer.

That fate is the competitors are no longer allowed to be heroes. I recall watching an old school boxing match between Rocky Marciano and Ezzard Charles, 1954. In the 7th round, Charles hit Marciano in the nose with such force, Marciano's nose was literally torn off his face. At the round break, both the doctor and ref wanted to stop the fight, but Marciano begged for one more round. In the 8th round, Marciano overcame the injury and knocked out Charles.

This is the heart of physical sports: the human spirit overcoming the seeming limitations of the physical body. In modern times, the health of the competitors has come so far into focus that fights are stopped at the first hint of injury. The human spirit is no longer allowed to triumph, fighters are no longer allowed to be courageous, and heroes don't overcome. There are many examples of this across the sports spectrum, from football all the way to collegiate and olympic wrestling.

MMA, for the time being, allows people to overcome physical injury and still prevail. You see cuts that would stop a boxing match. You see broken hands, sometimes injured joints, and the competitors are allowed to continue.

At the end of the day, boxing has become stale because the competitors know fights will be stopped at the first hint of injury. And as anyone who has competed in boxing or MMA knows, you cannot effectively attack without the risk of being effectively counter-attacked. So, boxing matches have become contests of who can dance around the most, hold most effectively, and tally enough points in small flurries to steal rounds.

MMA, on the other hand, encourages aggressiveness. Indeed, in the Pride days, one of the judgment criteria was "will to finish the fight". Of course, as MMA moves more and more mainstream, more and more restrictions will be placed on it until, eventually, it suffers the same fate as boxing.

Jerry Cornelius
05-04-2009, 06:46 PM
I think boxing has been fantastic this year and only looks like getting better. Even the heavyweight division is offering us something. And I'm one of the people who said boxing was dying out a few years ago.

UFC, I don't watch as much any more. It's clear to me cage fighting is still early in its development as a sport. Unfortunately as a form of entertainment it's come along much further than it has any right to, in terms of hype and popularity. That's why we get so many upsets: even the established guys haven't figured it out yet, and Dana White is starting to realise why pro wrestling eventually stopped being legit: it's very hard to promote a fighter in a sport that isn't an exact science yet. You've got popular guys getting knocked out by less popular guys, and then they have to be hyped to the moon and the hype that preceded the loser is played down or swallowed nervously.

It also explains why Brock Lesnar is champion with his no-so-impressive 3-1 record. That should be an embarrassment for the UFC, that a guy famous for fake fighting has come over and beaten their best and taken the title. Instead they have to try and market it like a success, that he's a genetic freak, that he earned the title and they've uncovered a real sporting gem. If Lesnar had gone into boxing he'd still be paying his dues on the under card and probably wouldn't get a shot until he had at least 25 fights under his belt.

The other thing I'm not a big fan of is that at some point everyone in UFC realised the best way to win was to drag the opponent down to the floor and dry-hump him for style points. I'm certainly not suggesting every boxing match is exciting, but the general principle is standing and punching. Even the followers of UFC, and in fact even the commentators, acknowledge that stand-up fights are so much more exciting and entertaining than ground ones. Well, every fight in boxing is a stand-up fight. They're getting rarer and rarer in UFC from what I can see.

What we have in UFC is a brawl trying to become a sport and being booked like WWE. The results are occasionally spectacular, but too often ludicrous and lacking credibility. Fedor and Anderson Silva aside, I don't look at any MMA guys and even consider including them in a best athlete list.

dgiharris
05-04-2009, 09:50 PM
So I will answer my own question.

Interestingly enough, I disagree with the posts above. First I will comment on Boxing.

The reason boxing is dying is simple. PAY PER VIEW.

Back in the day, boxing was on normal T.V. so it was easily accessible and grew to be one of the most popular sports in the world. This meant that it had an incredibly wide base and demographic.

Then in the 80s, boxing moved to cable. Luckily, most people had access to cable and the majority of that wide base was able to still follow their favorite sport. Plus, normal t.v. still showed fights.

But then, in the late 80s early 90s, boxing went Pay Per View.

That wide base slowly eroded. It's expensive paying $50 per fight, especially as your favorites retire. Boxing is not growing 'new' viewers, not planting seed corn, and just gorging themselves on the base they established in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Want proof?

Walk up to ANY 10 teenage or twenty something males and ask them who the Heavy weight, Middle weight, and Light Weight Champions are. Bet less than 3 would know, and I doubt any could name all three.

Imagine what would happen to football if all the games went pay per view? Simple math. Limit
the accessibility of anything and over time it will degrade. In the case of sports, if you don't plant the seed early (teenage males) then you will have a really hard time indoctrinating them when they start earning an income as adults.

And I grew up watching boxing. I don't think it will ever 'die' but it has slowly lost its dominance. Hell, more people watch The World Series of Poker now than boxing.

Mel...

Jcomp
05-04-2009, 10:09 PM
So I will answer my own question.

Interestingly enough, I disagree with the posts above. First I will comment on Boxing.

The reason boxing is dying is simple. PAY PER VIEW.

Back in the day, boxing was on normal T.V. so it was easily accessible and grew to be one of the most popular sports in the world. This meant that it had an incredibly wide base and demographic.

Then in the 80s, boxing moved to cable. Luckily, most people had access to cable and the majority of that wide base was able to still follow their favorite sport. Plus, normal t.v. still showed fights.

But then, in the late 80s early 90s, boxing went Pay Per View.

That wide base slowly eroded. It's expensive paying $50 per fight, especially as your favorites retire. Boxing is not growing 'new' viewers, not planting seed corn, and just gorging themselves on the base they established in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Want proof?

Walk up to ANY 10 teenage or twenty something males and ask them who the Heavy weight, Middle weight, and Light Weight Champions are. Bet less than 3 would know, and I doubt any could name all three.

Imagine what would happen to football if all the games went pay per view? Simple math. Limit
the accessibility of anything and over time it will degrade. In the case of sports, if you don't plant the seed early (teenage males) then you will have a really hard time indoctrinating them when they start earning an income as adults.

And I grew up watching boxing. I don't think it will ever 'die' but it has slowly lost its dominance. Hell, more people watch The World Series of Poker now than boxing.

Mel...

Amen.

One of the things that helps UFC is they make it accessible. Every so often they hold an event that isn't pay-per-view, and they also run a weekly show (after wrestling, of all things) on basic network television on Friday nights showing some of their better fights. It's a brilliant tactic.

I'm an MMA guy these days. Boxing is still cool, but it's hard for me to even watch a boxing match anymore without wanting to scream "Take him to the mat! Chop him down with leg kicks, he's just begging for it!

Oh wait..."

I can't even play boxing on the Xbox anymore. I'm dying for this new UFC game to drop later in the month. I hear it's amazing.

shawkins
05-04-2009, 10:20 PM
I got wacked pretty hard with the nerd stick, to the point where I barely even remember the rules to most sports. I haven't voluntarily watched a ball game in decades.

But I do like boxing. I like UFC even better. I've been a fan since the very early days, even before Royce Gracie--I saw that one where the LV boxer gave the ninja dude a reality check (and probably permanent brain damage) and I was hooked.

Dommo
05-04-2009, 11:55 PM
I like the ground aspect of MMA. It creates multiple dimensions of combat as opposed to one in boxing.

How many times have I seen a guy getting pwned, just to see his opponent slip up while fighting on the ground and end up submitted. That's what I like about MMA. Anything can happen, and upsets do occur frequently.

Jerry Cornelius
05-05-2009, 01:44 PM
So I will answer my own question.

Interestingly enough, I disagree with the posts above. First I will comment on Boxing.

The reason boxing is dying is simple. PAY PER VIEW.

Back in the day, boxing was on normal T.V. so it was easily accessible and grew to be one of the most popular sports in the world. This meant that it had an incredibly wide base and demographic.

Then in the 80s, boxing moved to cable. Luckily, most people had access to cable and the majority of that wide base was able to still follow their favorite sport. Plus, normal t.v. still showed fights.

But then, in the late 80s early 90s, boxing went Pay Per View.

That wide base slowly eroded. It's expensive paying $50 per fight, especially as your favorites retire. Boxing is not growing 'new' viewers, not planting seed corn, and just gorging themselves on the base they established in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Want proof?

Walk up to ANY 10 teenage or twenty something males and ask them who the Heavy weight, Middle weight, and Light Weight Champions are. Bet less than 3 would know, and I doubt any could name all three.

Imagine what would happen to football if all the games went pay per view? Simple math. Limit
the accessibility of anything and over time it will degrade. In the case of sports, if you don't plant the seed early (teenage males) then you will have a really hard time indoctrinating them when they start earning an income as adults.

And I grew up watching boxing. I don't think it will ever 'die' but it has slowly lost its dominance. Hell, more people watch The World Series of Poker now than boxing.

Mel...

A combination of that and, as I understand it, the time of day at which these fights are shown. Supposedly it used to be an afternoon sport in America.

Jerry Cornelius
05-05-2009, 01:44 PM
I like the ground aspect of MMA. It creates multiple dimensions of combat as opposed to one in boxing.

How many times have I seen a guy getting pwned, just to see his opponent slip up while fighting on the ground and end up submitted. That's what I like about MMA. Anything can happen, and upsets do occur frequently.

I can tell you, there are many more dimensions to boxing than to MMA.

Prozyan
05-05-2009, 02:32 PM
I can tell you, there are many more dimensions to boxing than to MMA.

No. There are not.

K. Taylor
05-05-2009, 03:11 PM
Ground fights can be very exciting if you know what you're watching - Jiu Jitsu. It's not that hard to pick up the basics and be an educated viewer. Just like I love seeing two Judo guys go head-to-head, because I know what I'm watching.

And I'm a 95lb girl that spars with her 270lb moose of a boyfriend. :D

Hopefully, they'll get enough guys in Heavyweight to split the division into Heavy and Super Heavy. A spread of 206lb to 265lb is too wide to be fair.

Jerry Cornelius
05-06-2009, 12:34 AM
No. There are not.

In theory, I would agree with you. In practice, not at all. As soon as MMA competitors learn how to box to any proficient standard, it will be a different story. At the moment the only common variation is in the ground fighting, especially since Cro Cop's downfall.

dgiharris
05-06-2009, 01:16 AM
I can tell you, there are many more dimensions to boxing than to MMA.

As an ex boxer and martial artist I completely disagree with this statement.

First, by simple definition, MMA has more dimensions because you are able to do more things. It is more complex since you can do everything you can do in boxing times 10. Can you knee in boxing? Can you elbow? Can you throw someone to the ground?


In theory, I would agree with you. In practice, not at all. As soon as MMA competitors learn how to box to any proficient standard, it will be a different story.

You are way off base here. On the surface, it looks like the MMA guys aren't that good of boxers, but that isn't the case.

In professional Boxing, you use 10 ounce gloves. In a sense, you have two volleyballs on the ends of your fist increasing the volume by over 200%. This does a lot of things. Distributes the force over a larger area (making it harder to knock someone out). It also makes it way easier to block and protect your face and body.

In MMA you use 4 ounce gloves which only increase the volume of your fist by 40%. Boxing defenses DO NOT WORK in MMA. In boxing, you simply lift your hands to the sides of your face to protect about 80% of your head. In MMA, lifting your hands to the sides of your face only protects 30% of your head. Hands can still sneak right through. And since more force lands with a punch, it is a lot easier to knock someone out in MMA than in Boxing.

Also, in Boxing, you only have to worry about being punched.

In MMA, you have to worry about being punched, kicked, elbowed, kneed, body slammed, taken to the ground, submitted, and or any combination of the above.



At the moment the only common variation is in the ground fighting, especially since Cro Cop's downfall.

Not really. Many fights are still finished by knock out and or strikes or strikes that then lead to a submission since the person hits the ground.


As for the ground game.

MMA fans have grown with the sport and now have come to realize it. In fact, many times you will here louder cheers for the ground game than stand up.

The cool thing is that MMA keeps evolving as these fighters figure out more submissions, more submisison defense/counters, more counters to the counters.

In one of the recent fights, I saw someone get out of a rear naked choke. It was amazing, the crowd went wild.

I sincerely predict that unless boxing quits their Pay Per View ways and gets back into the mainstream, UFC will eclispe boxing in 20 years.

Right now, the majority of fans are in their 20s and early 30s. Eventually, these fans will become heads of various corporations and will have no problem sponsoring their favorite sport, especially as it is the UFC that is becoming more mainstream every year.

Mel...

Jerry Cornelius
05-06-2009, 05:03 AM
As an ex boxer and martial artist I completely disagree with this statement.

Without wanting to go into my own credentials (let's just say I'm very familiar with both), fair enough. But this is eveyrthing that backs up my "in theory" qualifier:


First, by simple definition, MMA has more dimensions because you are able to do more things. It is more complex since you can do everything you can do in boxing times 10. Can you knee in boxing? Can you elbow? Can you throw someone to the ground?

Also, in Boxing, you only have to worry about being punched.

In MMA, you have to worry about being punched, kicked, elbowed, kneed, body slammed, taken to the ground, submitted, and or any combination of the above.

If MMA was realised to its full potential as a sport, there would be many more dimensions to it than boxing. As it is, not in the slightest. In MMA we have essentially two types of fighting: stand-up and ground, with lots of different martial arts in between. Wrestling vs jiu-jitsu, judo vs BJJ, roughly American-style boxing vs muy thai, kickboxing etc. There's not much besides that. Where the difference comes in is how proficient each fighter is in each area, with the aim to be a jack-of-all-trades (Anderson Silva) rather than a master of one (Cro Cop). Simplified for the sake of time, but representative.

In boxing there is so much more to look out for. Defensive boxing, for instance, is an art unto itself. There's been a lot of MMA interest in Floyd Mayweather because of his defensive supremacy, but this I think displays ignorance of just how good this artform can get. Compare, if you will, the poetry of body movement that was displayed by Pernell Whitaker, the other truly great boxer since the days of Sugar Ray Leonard, to the relatively clumsy ducks of, say, Anderson Silva. Within defensive boxing we again have different styles: the shoulder roll as performed by PBF, the peek-a-boo employed by Miguel Cotto. We have outside fighters who like to get defensive or guys who don't mind defending on the inside. Some outside fighters are counter-punchers, who employ check-hooks, others are jabbers. We have inside sluggers or inside swarmers, straight punchers, and mid-range boxers. There are, as in MMA, strategists, blood-and-guts fighters and guys who simply fight to thier strengths. But the main difference is the "boxing" in MMA doesn't have nearly this depth, and even with the extra ground and striking elements added hasn't got the history or weight to make it up.

Expanding on that, boxers have had a long time to get good at this. A long time. Styles have gone in and out of fashion over this period and training techniques have improved. As I understand it, boxers generally train longer and harder than MMA fighters, and this is believeable when you consider the currently more high-tech facilities available and the major factor that is the greater emphasis placed upon weight differences in boxing. You'd be hard-pressed to find an MMA fighter who moved up and down in weight as constantly and as impressively as a Roberto Duran. Even Manny Pacquiao has taken on divisions that should be beyond his natural physical range. In addition to that, boxers are generally fighting longer than MMA guys. Cro Cop was washed up at 32, Wanderlei considered past his prime before he was 30, Big Nog peaked around 30, and so on. Weight and age and how the fighters adapt is a larger dimension in boxing, where guys regularly fight on until they're pushing 40, than in MMA which only has Randy Couture to show for that sort of freakish longevity. And even then, Couture was slapped around twice by a mere one-dimensional out-of-shape counter-puncher like Chuck Liddell before he toppled a crippled Tim Sylvia.

Which also brings up the point about prestige and records. The UFC Heavywieght title is undoubtedly a joke, but even the most respectable title in MMA cannot hold a candle to its boxing counterpart. Not simply due to the massive difference in time-spans, but also the comparatively unimpressive records of the "top" UFC guys. Lesnar, Sylvia, Arlovski, Mir would all be curtain-pullers in boxing with those records, Lesnar probably not even that.

This is not a slur against MMA, simply an acknowledgement it, being a much younger sport, has a long way to go, as well as something of a fight back against the asinine suggestion I keep hearing that boxing is encorporated into MMA, ostensibly proving the latter's superiority.


You are way off base here. On the surface, it looks like the MMA guys aren't that good of boxers, but that isn't the case.

It is. I'm actually looking forward to any cross-over fights that occur under boxing rules, because you take the best from MMA, put them in a boxing ring and they will get knocked out. I guarantee you.


In professional Boxing, you use 10 ounce gloves. In a sense, you have two volleyballs on the ends of your fist increasing the volume by over 200%. This does a lot of things. Distributes the force over a larger area (making it harder to knock someone out). It also makes it way easier to block and protect your face and body.

In MMA you use 4 ounce gloves which only increase the volume of your fist by 40%. Boxing defenses DO NOT WORK in MMA. In boxing, you simply lift your hands to the sides of your face to protect about 80% of your head. In MMA, lifting your hands to the sides of your face only protects 30% of your head. Hands can still sneak right through. And since more force lands with a punch, it is a lot easier to knock someone out in MMA than in Boxing.

This argument could only be put forward by someone who was ignorant of boxing defence. In any case, I'm well aware of the difference in gloves. What people who knock MMA for being more dangerous due to the lighter gloves fail to take into account is the fact you cannot hit as hard as if you are wearing 10 ounce gloves without breaking your hand. Defending is, on the surface, easier due to the percentage of face covered in boxing, but also far, far more vital. In spite of this, MMA fights are ended after two or three undefended strikes, whilst as many as thirty could conceivably be thrown in boxing due to the surface area factor. Yup, you have more limbs to worry about in MMA, but more devastating strikes in boxing (with the exceptions of the very rarely seen muy thai jumping knee or kickboxing head kick, neither of which make many appearances these days).


As for the ground game.

MMA fans have grown with the sport and now have come to realize it. In fact, many times you will here louder cheers for the ground game than stand up.

The cool thing is that MMA keeps evolving as these fighters figure out more submissions, more submisison defense/counters, more counters to the counters.

In one of the recent fights, I saw someone get out of a rear naked choke. It was amazing, the crowd went wild.

I'm more than aware this is a matter of taste, but as I said, it is generally acknowledged that stand-up fights are more exciting. As a ground-fighter myself I can appreciate the intricacies but find a brawl far more interesting to watch than your standard ground-and-pound.

dgiharris
05-06-2009, 09:44 AM
I think I misunderstood what you meant by boxing having more dimensions.

I interpreted the comment more in the sense of mathematics.

After your retort, I see that what you really mean is ability and depth.

Boxing, in terms of skill, depth, and ability is superior to MMA. I will grant that. Boxing has had a hundred years to perfect its art. Similarly, the breeding ground for boxing is 100 times that of MMA, so as a result, you get better quality fighters. Combine that with training, history, etc and you are absolutely right, you get a superior class of fighter.

I can concede that point.

A top rank boxer would be almost unstoppable in the UFC as far as the stand up goes. But the second the boxer is under wraps, game over. Problem is, boxing defenses wouldn't hold up as well in MMA, and unless the boxer scores a quick knock out (which is very possible) I'd give the fight to the MMA fighter.

In terms of MMA growing as a sport. This is where it is making leaps and bounds over boxing. We are in the wild wild west of MMA which makes it exciting. I just saw a kid John Jons, the first really really good greco roman wrestler in MMA. He actually won champships in Div IA college and he is cutting through the MMA like a hot knife through butter.

Now that MMA is growing, they are attracting better class athletes. I think within 20 yrs, it will have similar caliber athletes to boxing.

Mel...

Jerry Cornelius
05-06-2009, 01:35 PM
Ah, we don't really disagree, then. I just think it might take a little longer than 20 years to make up the distance, I could be wrong though.

As for PPVs and so forth... I couldn't agree more.

Whilst I maintain boxing has more to offer this year, I'm sure I'm probably in the minority.

dgiharris
05-07-2009, 12:33 AM
I think 20 years is actually a little on the long side, I think they can make it up in 10.

Why?

Well, sports science is HUGE now. And science allows you to really accelerate any process.

Then there is the multimedia aspect today. With the internet and cable channels that cater specifically to niche audiences, you can increase the exposure.

But despite all that, there is a limiting factor, and that is revenue. UFC is being a little conservative in their expansion. From a business sense, they have built a great brand. But as for the entire 'sport' of MMA, fans are more predisposed to view UFC as the only real MMA which then hurts the sport as a whole.

What would need to happen is for MMA to gain more grass roots acceptance (which it is doing).

You know MMA will be approaching 'boxing like' status when there are MMA gyms in every medium sized cities. Once non-UFC matches bring crowds in the smaller cities, then MMA will have enough of a base and revenue to fill the 'trough' for aspiring athletes to fight over. (some of this is happening already)

Then you will have a runaway effect that will be almost exponential.

I think it could happen as early as 10 years, I think 20 years is realistic.

Of course, if MMA gets greedy and turns everything into PPV, they can screw this up. Also, if boxing reverses course and gets back to cable they can win back their fans and regrow their seedcorn.

But the real threat to boxing is my generation (i'm in my 30s).

My generation is the first to be weened off of boxing due to the move to PPV. So when I'm at home with my kids watching a UFC fight that is what they bond too. UFC becomes 'cool' while Boxing becomes what their grandfather watches.

Mel...

Jerry Cornelius
06-14-2009, 02:53 PM
Here's a boxer vs MMA fight from last night:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqK6yJaE4mY

Now, I realise Tim Sylvia isn't exactly the real deal any more, nor did many rate him to begin with. But surely he's not so past-prime as to lose to a washed up 46 year old Ray Mercer.

Probably doesn't tell us much. But at the very least, it's fucking hilarious.

Prozyan
06-14-2009, 05:09 PM
a washed up 46 year old Ray Mercer.

I don't know how much the "washed up" part matters, since power is the last thing a boxer (or any puncher for that matter) will lose. George Foreman is a good example of this as well, winning 22 or his first 23 "comeback" fights by either KO or TKO.

Anyway, that was pretty darn funny. But I think all it proves is that anyone can get caught.

FWIW, Mercer did lose his first MMA match to Kimbo Slice, by submission.

Nightfly
07-20-2009, 04:26 AM
What's great about MMA is the is the combinations of strengths of disciplines (and of heart) that lead to a victory. A pro boxer may have a stronger punch and have better foot work than most but in MMA that's not enough. And you can say that about any discipline - wrestling, muay thai, jujitsu, karate, etc. It's awesome to see how these strengths match up.
It took me a while to come around. It seemed like every time I saw it at a friends house or something I'd see one guy take down another guy and for like a rounds at a time just stay there on top of him trying to land a couple of punches. I didn't see the discipline. But I kept watching reluctantly. I started to appreciate the skills of the fighters and then I saw the Machita / Sokaju fight and I was hooked.

When the fight started I saw this big, muscular, intense guy who was clearly extremely quick and agile for his size against a comparatively lean, calm guy and I thought "Well this guy hasn't got a chance." The outcome was a huge shock to me. And then I got it.

It's not size or strength or speed. It's the total package. These guys have dedicated years of hard work and tremendous discipline into finding out what they're made of. Of strengthening their weaknesses and capitalizing on their strengths to put together a style unique to themselves to beat just about anybody in the world in any kind of fight. Impressive.
Also these guys almost always treat each other with sportsmanship (Lesner's a Thug) -(or a boob) and what seems like genuine respect at the end of a fight win or lose which goes a long way with me. These guys are really tough and really amazing athletes.

I'm not sure if boxing can come back. It's going to take something big to get the attention of the masses again. I don't think MMA is going anywhere for a long time.