Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ray Mercer vs. Kimbo Slice - Both Fighters Make Their MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Debut

By now, most sports fans are very familiar with the UFC and the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. In fact, the sport is rapidly growing to be more popular than boxing. The UFC Ultimate Fighting Championship) has become a household name in many countries around the world. The Cage Fury Fighting Championship is not as well known as the UFC, but they are doing a good job of drawing attention to themselves, because hardcore MMA fans across the globe are anxiously awaiting this weekends show, and the main even in particular. A topic that is often debated is whether or not a world-class boxer would be able to compete successfully in Mixed Martial Arts. Perhaps on Saturday, June 23rd 2007, we'll know at least how former world heavyweight boxing champion Ray Mercer performs in his MMA debut against an internet legend and brawler by the name of Kimbo Slice.

Ray Mercer has a very impressive boxing record, which includes a WBO World Heavyweight Championship, as well as an Olympic gold medal. During his boxing career, Ray Mercer has fought some of the best heavyweights of our generation, such as Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Larry Holmes, and Wladimir Klitschko. Since retiring from professional boxing, "Merciless" Ray Mercer has decided he wants to try Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), the fastest growing sport in the world.

Mercer’s opponent will be another big name making his professional MMA debut. Kimbo Slice is a big, scary looking heavyweight who developed a cult following on the internet due to his famous bare knuckle brawl videos that are posted on various internet sites. Kimbo has appeared very impressive in these fights, but I'm not sure about the quality of his opponents. Nonetheless, Kimbo's power seems unquestionable. Also, in 2003, Kimbo Slice squared off against Sean Gannon, a MMA practicioner who later fought (and lost) in the UFC. Sean Gannon won his fight against Kimbo, leaving Kimbo laying on the ground unable to continue. However, most of Kimbo's opponents were not as skilled. If you watch his videos online, you will see overweight and untrained fighters that use names such as "Afro Puff" or "Big Mac" and inevitably they get punched out by Kimbo.

Both Ray Mercer and Kimbo Slice are primarily stand-up fighters, preferring to slug it out with their fists. Most MMA fans don't believe either of the fighters have any ground skills, but Kimbo has been seen working on his grappling with Bas Rutten, a MMA legend. Ideally, fans would like to see a slugfest, but I won't be surprised if Kimbo tries to take this fight to the ground, considering Ray Mercer is a former boxing world champion with fierce punching power.

Age could also be a determining factor in this match. Kimbo is 31 years old, and Ray Mercer is 46, but that extra experience could be in Mercer's favor. I definitely give the advantage to Ray Mercer if this turns out to be a stand-up battle. Ray Mercer hits like a truck and is known to have an iron chin. Kimbo should try to take this fight to the mat as quickly as he can, unless he just feels confident that he can take Mercer's punches. Also, Kimbo should not make the mistake of underestimating Ray Mercer on the ground, as he has supposedly been training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and also has some background in wrestling.

My heart wants Ray Mercer to win this fight, but if you're going to guess who will win you have to consider which fighter has more desire to win. Kimbo is young, and may still feel like he has something to prove, whereas Ray Mercer has been champion and already established himself in the fight sports world. In 2005 Ray Mercer fought a kickboxing match in K1 against Remy Bonjasky, and quit after being kicked upside the head. I may be wrong, but I'm still going to say Mercer wins this. Regardless of the outcome, I just hope it lives up to the hype and is a legitimate, outstanding fight.

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