by Ken Pishna & Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
There was a time when mixed martial arts always walked in the shadow of boxing. But it seems that lately, despite a record-setting pay-per-view by the recent Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. bout, boxing has been riding the coattails of MMA to grab the spotlight.
Even garnering approximately 2.15 million pay-per-view buys and a live gate of more than $19 million for their blockbuster bout, Mayweather was parlaying the popularity of the UFC to lead up to the record-setting numbers from his fight with De La Hoya. In weeks building toward the fight, he said things like, “[The UFC] ain’t nothing but a fad… These are guys that couldn’t do boxing.”
When UFC President Dana White called him on his comments, offering to give Mayweather the chance to back them up by facing UFC Lightweight Champ Sean Sherk, Mayweather quickly retracted his statements, sending word to White that it was just hype for the fight.
On MMAWeekly Radio recently, Sherk didn’t hold back his thoughts on Mayweather’s comments, “I took it as a direct insult, as the UFC champion. I wanted to get that fight set up. It was something Dana and I talked about. Immediately after the fight, he retracted it. He said he did it just to sell tickets.”
He continued, “I would have loved to have a fight like that. That would have been great to expose boxing for what it is, it’s one dimensional.”
Since that time, International Boxing Federation Welterweight World Champion Kermit Cintron, ranked #7 in the world by The Ring magazine, has said he wants the fight with Sherk.
“I want the fight,” said Cintron. “I can wrestle. I can box. I can beat those UFC fighters at their own game. Tell Mr. White to make me an offer and I’ll take on his guy after I fight Matthysse…”
Cintron was referring to a mandatory defense of his IBF title against challenger Walter Mattysse on July 14. The fight is scheduled to take place on the Arturo Gatti vs. Alfonso Gomez fight card on HBO.
With all of these boxers, now including former heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison, jumping on the MMA bandwagon, White gave his thoughts on the situation to MMAWeekly, “Boxing is in a position now where to get any notoriety they have to come out and say they’re going fight our guys. Not Floyd (Mayweather), Floyd’s the real deal.”
The UFC President also doubts that these boxers really want to fight MMA at all. Addressing whether or not Mayweather would really agree to such a fight, White stated, “No. Come on. Kermit Cintron doesn’t want to fight any of these MMA guys either. No one knows who Kermit Cintron is.”
Informed that Cintron is the current IBF Welterweight Champion, White replied, “Which means what? What does that mean? It means nothing. I mean, when they’re calling us out now, obviously it’s a good thing.” Of course referring to boxing’s numerous attempts to piggyback MMA’s popularity.