By Ron 'The Yacman' Yacovetti - www.mogulus.com/wmma
When word spread that Nick Diaz, fresh off of beating MMA legend Frank Shamrock, is now calling out a boxing legend, Roy Jones Jr., I first wondered if Diaz would call out Lance Armstrong, considering he has competed in triathlons too.
There's no question Diaz displayed top notch boxing abilities in his one-sided victory over Frank Shamrock.
I too was taken aback by that. And in the same maiden voyage production for Strikeforce on Showtime, Benji Radach, in one writer’s opinion, displayed even better and more slick boxing skills in his instantaneous loss to Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith. But can Nick Diaz hang with the likes of Roy Jones?
Jones has been inconsistent in his last four or so bouts. He’s beaten contenders he was expected to have trouble with or lose to, yet shows almost no killer instinct or offense when he soars up the ranks again, facing an “A” level guy like Joe Calzaghe.
A match with Diaz would be hard to peg on the Jones motivation scale. Let’s be honest, in the back end of Roy’s career, a lack of motivation has him as aggressive and violent as Gandhi.
In the prime of Roy Jones’ career, any mixed martial artist would be so outclassed in a boxing match that the viewing audience would wonder: Why? Why do this? His athletic ability ranks amongst the best all time in boxing. Period. This, by the way, a belief I share with The Fight Professor himself, Stephen Quadros.
That said, Roy Jones Jr. is not in his prime and is tricky to predict when he fights.
The real danger here is Jones still possesses the lightning quick hand speed, he still hits extremely hard (hard enough to have stopped a 235 lb. Ruiz in his tracks) and he can fight ten or twelve rounds without gassing.
We also know, Diaz can likely finish an entire boxing match with plenty of fuel in the tank, but what we don't know is, can Diaz take punches from a guy like Jones? It is safe to assume he has not yet, despite his boxing experiences and cage fighting career.
In a fight like this, I tend to believe that the sport of origin will win. In other words, if Jones vs, Diaz happens in a cage, Diaz wins…if it happens in a boxing ring as a boxing match, Jones wins.
It’s kind of that simple.
Diaz won’t be able to pull out an Oma-plata or dish out leg kicks against Jones. He will be left throwing hands with one of the most precise strikers of all time. Even an aged Jones will stupefy the best MMA fighter in a pugilistic battle.
The one thing I found intriguing about a Roy Jones versus Anderson Silva fight is that Silva, in MMA, displays the type of dominance and athletic superiority that Jones did in boxing. So the best of both world colliding is somewhat of an attention grabbing concept.
While Nick Diaz is amazing, tough and an elite level warrior, I almost feel a match against Jones is like hearing that my father-in-law laid out a championship golf challenge to Tiger Woods. It just seems out of reach.
Let us not forget that despite how amazing Nick looked against Shamrock, he was outboxed big time when he fought a KJ Noons for the EliteXC lightweight title.
So it’s difficult to imagine Noons picking him apart with fluid punch combinations and even an aged Jones being unable to do the same damage or worse to Diaz.
Do I feel this can hurt MMA if Jones destroys Diaz? No.
I think that fear is what kept Dana White and the UFC from allowing Anderson to fight Roy and in that case I do see their point. Silva is synonymous with the best of MMA, so watching the ambassador for the sport get wrecked in another combat sport "could" give artificial leverage to the boxing purists, who feel cage-fighters aren’t skilled like boxers.
One thing is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Nick Diaz is a true fighter. Anyone that would even consider fighting Roy Jones truly is an ‘any place, anytime’ kind of fighter.
With Strikeforce open to co-promotion and HBO Boxing not as in bed with Jones, as once they had been in his prime, we just may see Nick Diaz take on Roy Jones Jr. in what will hopefully be two talented fighters putting on one hell of a show.