Sylvia to boxing: a MAINEiac-al decision?
According to news reports earlier this week, former UFC Heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia is contemplating leaving MMA entirely, and entering the world of professional boxing full-time.
Granted, the announcement comes leading up to a ridiculous “boxing in a cage” event in Alabama, where Sylvia will take on former Olympian and heavyweight boxing champion Ray Mercer.
This has given some MMA betting fans the idea that the statement could be nothing more than posturing to legitimize the heavy-scorned event. However, given Sylvia’s plummeting stock in the world of mixed-martial arts, it may be a somewhat logical maneuver financially for the former UFC betting star.
Outside of financial reasons however, the move appears completely pointless.
While Sylvia may have been a reasonable striker with a few knockouts in MMA, his stand-up skills certainly are not up to snuff in the world of professional boxing. Any clear-thinking MMA odds expert will tell you that an MMA fighter’s punching is not of the same caliber as a boxer’s.
That’s not a comparison between sports, neither is better than the other—that’s just the facts. Just as Vitali Klitschko couldn’t go to the ground with a jiu-jitsu artist, a martial artist would be hard pressed to prevail in a legitimate boxing contest.
Unfortunately, his bout against a near-senile Ray Mercer will either prove to be an undeserved ego boost, or an embarrassing loss.
There’s no upside for Sylvia in this contest, who will be favored on MMA odds and boxing odds, depending on where the BetUS sportsbook lists them. Any boxer with a pulse is likely to have his way with Sylvia, whose looping punches and atrocious footwork are not fit for the squared circle. He will no longer be able to use his weight to land on opponents—contrarily, his weight will come crashing to the canvas very quickly if he does not learn to keep his hands up.
A possible, slightly intriguing boxing contest could be emerging between Andrei Arlovski and Sylvia. Arlovski currently trains with Freddie Roach, and has stated that he will be making a foray into boxing following his Strikeforce commitment coming up. The two have a heated past stemming from an ex-girlfriend with whom both had involvement with, and could make for an entertaining—if not comical—duel.