12 Boxers We'd Love to See Inside the Octagon
Since MMA went mainstream, one of the debates with regards to boxing is how would a prizefighter fare inside a steel cage with a fighter whom at the best of times also has the sweet science incorporated into their skill set?
Well it has happened on more than one occasion, and with mixed results.
Former Olympic Gold medalist and WBO heavyweight champion Ray “Merciless” Mercer made his first foray into the mixed martial arts world, his opponent was former UFC employee and street fighting Internet sensation Kimbo Slice.
That said, Mercer lost the bout via Guillotine choke.
His second and last fight in an MMA capacity was a nine-second knockout of former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia (MMA rules weren’t applied).
Though, the highest profile boxer to set foot into a steel cage, in this instance the Octagon, was none other than three-division world champion James “Lights Out” Toney.
It was a disaster in the making or better yet, a disaster waiting to happen. With little or no MMA experience, Toney was clinically and systematically put to sleep via arm triangle choke, courtesy of Randy “The Natural” Couture at UFC 118.
Shocking as it might seem, Lights Out presently harbours thoughts of throwing down with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and a certain Frank Shamrock.
With bated breath we wait, I think not.
Still, despite the shortcomings of the professional pugilist vis-à-vis everything MMA, some fans still entertain the idea of seeing the pugilist vs. the mixed martial artist.
Let’s take a look at some of those from the persuasion of the sweet science we’d love to see in the UFC’s Octagon.
12. Wladimir Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs)
“Dr Steelhammer” would be a welcomed addition to the UFC roster, for the simple reasons he’s one belt short (his brother Vitali holds the WBC title, talk about monopoly) of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and hasn’t tasted defeat since suffering a TKO loss to Lamont Brewster back in April of 2004.
Heck! That’s nearly eight years at the top—14 and 0 with 11 title defenses.
With a record like that, Wladimir deserves only the best that the heavyweight division can offer at the moment.
Step forth Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos, the division’s most dangerous stand up striker.
This fight will be stand and bang affair, unless of course Cigano feels out of his depth, then expect him to take it to ground and give the Ukrainian his first loss via ground-and-pound.
That said, I wouldn’t rule out a Cain Velasquez style stoppage to end proceedings in favor of Cigano either.
11. Sergio Martínez (48-2-2, 27 KOs)
Of late, “Maravilla” has been complaining about the lack of competition in his weight class, as well as the recognition deserved of a world champion, add the financial aspect to the equation, and I’d be p***** off too.
Well, Sergio Martínez we’d love to see you in the Octagon.
So who could be served up to the world’s No. 3 pound-for-pound boxing king?
As far as champions go, Anderson Silva gets to throwdown with Roy Jones Jr. and if not there’s that small business to deal with regarding the winner of the Chael Sonnen vs. Mark Munoz clash.
After a lot of head scratching (no soul searching here), Demian Maia will have to suffice.
Maravilla’s boxing will be of no effect here as the submission kingpin is sure as hell taking this fight to the ground.
It’s a submission all the way.
10. David Haye (25-2, 23 KOs)
The former undisputed cruiserweight and WBA heavyweight champion has a mouth that only a mother could love.
What emanates from the Briton’s facial orifice can be pure filth at times, however, he does talk the talk, and he walks the walk.
That is, until he met Wladimir Klitschko and everything went up in smoke including his heavyweight title.
An ideal opponent for “The Hayemaker” would be none other than former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir.
Akin to Haye, Mir has got a whole lot of swag and more often than not he brings it come fight night.
Mir stays standing at his peril, expect the jiu-jitsu wizard to take Haye to canvas and lock in a “Minotauro”-esque kimura (just kidding).
Still, Mir wins this via any submission of his choosing.
9. Chad Dawson (30-1-1NC, 18 KOs)
The former WBC and IBF light heavyweight champion became a champion for a second time when he defeated Bernard Hopkins via TKO in October of 2011 for the WBC title.
That glory, however, was short lived as he was stripped of said titles.
Now, that would never happen in the UFC (well I hope not), still, a foray into the Octagon might not be a bad idea for the South Carolinian native.
There’s one small problem though—Jon “Bones” Jones reign supreme over that assemblage.
He should fret not—we’ll throw him a bone, in the guise of former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Rampage in the past has alluded to a boxing career, “Bad” will be the perfect bait.
Still, if Rampage stands and bangs, chances are he’ll taste the canvas a few times or even permanently.
Newsflash: The WBC has ordered a rematch between “B-Hop and Bad.
8. Amir Khan (26-2, 18 KOs)
The second British-born fighter on this list is “King Khan, former WBA and IBF light welterweight champion who recently lost both those titles to Lamont Peterson.
The 25-year-old Khan has a penchant for calling out fighters above his station—Floyd Mayweather being the most famous and decorated of them.
José “Scarface” Aldo (20-1) is the cream of the 145-lb. pounders, and I’m sure he would gladly accept a Khan challenge.
The end will most likely result in Aldo taking Khan to the deepest and darkest depths of Octagon hell.
7. Juan Manuel Márquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs)
“Dinamita” has just come off his trilogy battle with No. 1 pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, and still no joy.
The Octagon would be good start on how to at least get a win under his belt in regards to trilogy.
Perfect candidates would be Frankie “The Answer” Edgar and Gray “The Bully” Maynard—the latter lost the first, drew the second and in their final encounter proved that a knockout will always override a judge’s scores card.
A few wars with either combatant should stand the three-division world champion in good stead for a fourth and final bout with Pacquiao.
6. Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs)
Former WBC welterweight titlist Victor “Vicious” Ortiz is almost three-months removed from his left-right salvo “save the hugging for later” knockout at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
So, while he’s waiting for that rematch with “Money May,” (a rematch no doubt that will never happen even if pigs start flying) he could get a taste of what it’s really like to head butt an opponent and vice versa.
It must’ve slipped my mind—head butts, soccer kicks and stomping are a thing of the past, well, at least in the Octagon they are.
Nevertheless, his opponent on fight night should be someone in the same mould of Ortiz—a mixed martial artist that has a tendency for making excuses after failing to deliver.
A Story comes to mind.
5. Antonio Tarver (29-6, 19 KOs)
The former IBF, WBC, WBA and The Ring light heavyweight champion is as trash talking as trashing talking gets.
In a nutshell, “Magic Man” has some serious swag, enough swag no doubt to harass the former baddest dude on the planet into a showdown which Mike Tyson kindly declined.
The reason for the showdown? Dollars and cents.
Who would best suit the Magic Man? There can only be one person…Rashad Evans.
Evans has an uncanny, some might say disrespectful tendency to lick his hands and grab his family jewels or is that the other way round whilst beckoning his opponent towards him.
That same family jewels business is the reason why he now has the title of former UFC light heavyweight champion attached to his handle.
Needless to say, having the moniker “Suga” in no way suggests Evans has the skill set of a Sugar Ray Robinson or a Sugar Ray Leonard.
So to stand and bang with the Magic Man would be futile, and tantamount to Machida-esque KO.
For this match up, he’d be best served to utilize his wrestling expertise.
4. Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2-2NC, 34 KOs)
One upon a time there was a boxer who went by the name of Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins. Now B-Hop, as he was fondly known by, had the temerity to insinuate that MMA practitioners were predisposed to homosexuality.
"I don't want to watch two grown men with panties on, wrestling. I'm from the 'hood," Hopkins once said. "We don't play that. It's not me. To compare the UFC and MMA to boxing is ridiculous. They call that a sport?"
You do know that I’m talking about the here and now?
Needless to say, B-Hop would somewhat humbly retract the aforementioned comments. I say somewhat because it wouldn’t be B-Hop if he didn’t have the last word.
"I'm kissing [UFC] butt all the time now," he was quoted as saying by the Philadelphia Daily News.”
"James Toney got his butt kicked in, like, 10 seconds [by Randy Couture]. Same thing when Ray Mercer lost to Kimbo Slice. I'd get my butt kicked in maybe five seconds.”
“Name a successful boxer who ever beat an MMA guy [under MMA rules]. Hasn't happened. But the MMA guys couldn't beat good boxers under boxing rules. It's two different things.”
Still, he deserves to feel a bit a pain in the Octagon.
Randy Couture comes to mind but he’s retired.
Now that would’ve been a fight of the ages—at 46, the oldest pugilist champion ever, against “The Natural,” the oldest UFC champion at 43, he’s now at a grand old age of 48.
With a combined age of 94, that could’ve of been the first ever nonagenarian matchup between a boxer and a mixed martial artist.
Nevertheless, I would’ve suggested “Suga” Rashad Evans, but it seems he’s on that buddy tip with B-Hop, and with the latter sharing his boxing insight with the former UFC light heavyweight champion and all, it’s a no no.
How about Evan’s nemesis?
Current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones fits the bill to a tee—Bones has a knack of humbling the B**** out of the toughest of opponents.
Ask Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson or even Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida.
That said, there’s one fighter that exemplifies what B-Hop requires, and that’s a little bit of vicious ground-and-pound.
What’s his name again? Oh yes! Brandon “The Truth” Vera.
After Bones unceremoniously caved his face him, it suddenly dawned on him that that truth really does hurt.
Now I guess that’s something B-Hop could think about whilst he takes that long dreaded walk towards the gates of the Octagon.
3. Roy Jones Jr. (55-8, 40 KOs)
He was once the No. 1 pound-for-pound king in the realm of fistic eminence—Jones Jr. was untouchable.
I’ll cut to the chase, Jones was nonpareil with regards to anything pertaining to boxing, but then he got greedy—went up to heavyweight and won the title—came back down and won a light heavyweight title and then boom.
He encountered a counter punch courtesy of Antonio Tarver, and the myth that was Jones slowly and painfully disintegrated before our eyes—punch resistance gone, speed gone…and that’s about all she wrote.
Jones, however, did think of throwing leather with the UFC’s own pound-for-pound king a while back, but it never came to fruition.
Well, Jones gets to fulfil that dream—only this time he’ll get to hold court with the matrix-esque enigma in the Octagon.
Scoring system—Effective Striking, Grappling, Aggression and Octagon Control. Mike Goldberg eat your heart out.
Despite Jones declining skill set, this fight could go either way, but I’m inclined to give the edge to Anderson Silva.
Expect “The Spider” to spin his web via Steven Seagal style front kick.
2. Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2. 38 KOs)
The eight-division world champion is as humble as Georges St. Pierre and as ambitious as well.
Both fighters are at the top of the respective sports, and a match between these two would off the charts.
The poster boy of boxing vs. the poster boy of the UFC, and that’s where the similarities end.
With the UFC welterweight champion’s all-around skill set and his ability to change up during fights, this one is in the books.
“Rush” wins via ground-and-pound or submission.
Whoops! I almost forgot, Rush hasn’t finished a fight since 2009, so expect a unanimous points win in favor of the aforementioned.
1. Floyd Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs)
Floyd “Money” Mayweather without the slightest doubt whatsoever is the No. 1 boxer in the world we’d all love to see in the Octagon (obviously for different reasons).
Still, don’t expect to five-division champion and pound-for-pound great to just waltz up into the Octagon—if it makes dollars, then it’ll make sense for boxings most polarizing figure.
And we’re not talking Anderson Silva-type money here, we’re talking Mayweather money.
Be that as it may, who would be the best fighter in the welterweight division to give Money a run for his money (no pun intended) with regards to the trash talking, braggadocio and everything else that exemplifies Mayweather?
Hmm… “Don’t Be Scared Homie.”
Yeah! You got that right, Stockton’s finest, Nick Diaz.
Now let’s get down to the night’s proceedings.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we…are…live!”
“This is the main event of the evening.”
“This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for.”
Money May (42-0) vs. Nick Diaz (26-7-1NC).
This is how this fight pans out, if the fight stays standing, Diaz is as good as over, which it will be because the 209 son won’t back down from a fight neither a challenge.
Money retains his perfect record via check-hook (a.k.a “the 45”).
On the other hand, if Diaz decides it’s a case of brains over brawn, then expect him to execute his second successful Gogoplata.