Rampage Jackson’s recent announcement about leaving MMA to become a boxer betrays a lack of self-confidence and commitment. He is abandoning the sport that made him rich and famous.
Here is what Rampage said on the ESPN.co.uk UFC Podcast. "I hate fighting people who are scared. When you fight somebody who is scared, you never know what they're going to do. They turn and run. That's why I'm gonna go to boxing." He goes on to say, "I'm gonna try boxing because they've got to stand with you. If I get knocked out I don't care because at least it's a fight. I've tried a lot of boxing, I'm falling in love with boxing and I know I can put butts on seats over there."
We must assume he’s referring to his recent loss to Jon Jones. As such, he starts out with an obvious insult, calling his opponent scared and running. He goes on to say that his opponent’s elusiveness and creative offensive attack were due to him being scared. That just ain’t right.
At the UFC 135 post-fight press conference Rampage was gracious and praised Jones, saying, "Jon is good. I'm telling you, the kid's here to stay. I don't know...whoever he fights next, I don't know who's going to beat him. He had me mesmerized."
Which Rampage should we believe?
Rampage realizes that his boxing-centric style of fighting doesn’t cut it in today’s world of true mixed martial arts fighters. He assumes that lumbering after his opponents like Frankenstein in pursuit of villagers while looking for one big punch may be a more effective strategy in the boxing ring.
He seems to think he can’t continue to find success in a sport where guys like Bones Jones, Georges St-Pierre, Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson continue to raise the bar in striking, wrestling and ground fighting.
Rampage comes across as a selfish man looking to salvage what’s left of his fighting reputation and to turn a fast buck in boxing. Granted, he would be better at a game with 75 percent less diversity, but to assume that boxers just stand in front of each other waiting to trade punches is sheer foolishness.
Talk about running, has Rampage seen any recent Mayweather fights? This guy makes Sasquatch look commonplace. Boxing, as it exists today, is an exercise in wearisome elusiveness.
Of course the tomato cans Rampage is talking about facing, 43-year-old James Toney in particular, don’t run much anymore. In fact, Toney is custom made for Rampage, only problem is Toney knows how to hit hard.
There is no easy fighting option; danger lurks in all corners of the ring or cage.