Sherdog.com's Loretta Hunt is reporting that former UFC Heavyweight Champion and current Affliction star Andrei Arlovski will be making his highly anticipated professional boxing debut on Apr. 11, 2009 as an undercard on the Paul Williams vs. Winky Wright middleweight match at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas.
Arlovski, a potent striker, has shown a penchant for boxing in his recent matches. His bout against Fedor Emilanenko was going his way until a flashy flying knee by Andrei and a arching overhand right by Fedor put Arlovski flat on the mat.
Known as "The Pitbull" for his fearsome looks and aggressive style, could Andrei Arlovski very well be the kind of star the personality-deprived world of heavyweight boxing has been looking for?
My answer is yes.
If Arlovski can back up the skills that his current boxing coach, the famed Eddie Roach, claims he has, then he very well may be on his way to boxing glory.
Given the current state of the once-lucrative boxing business, someone like Arlovski, who sports a custom fanged mouth guard, may be the type of fighter pro boxing has been looking for to reignite interest in their very uninteresting heavyweight divisions.
Will the boxing debut of "The Pitbull" lure avid MMA fans away from the fold and, at least for one night, to the boxing ring? Will promoters flock to Andrei Arlovski's management to pair him against other heavyweights in a bid to reinvigorate America's passion for boxing?
At the very least, Arlovski's upcoming match against an as-of-yet unnamed opponent will be entertaining. Hopefully Arlovski can spread MMA love to boxing purists (who continually bash the sport) and inspire some passion for boxing in MMA fans (who, as a whole, watch relatively little boxing).
Arlovski's team has stated that this is simply one match and he is planning on fighting on an upcoming Affliction MMA card in June or July. But with Affliction losing money and the possibility that the UFC will not pay Arlovski the kind of money he is used to, will the soon-to-be 30-year-old Belarusian turn to the "sweet science" that has earned him many MMA victories and paychecks?
We'll find out Apr. 11, assuming Arlovski delivers the goods in the form of a devastating performance. If he does, and the promoters start to call, he very well could be the white knight boxing has been waiting for.