First of all let me just say that I am a fight fan. I started watching boxing years ago -- back when tuesday night fights was one of the coolest things on tv. Once the first few UFC's came out, it became clear in a way it never could have been made clear before: Styles Make Fights! After watching the first 4 UFC's I was able to view professional fighting in a way I was never able to before. A way that few trainers truly understand. This knowledge can be applied to both boxing, MMA, and many other combat sports (I Imagine). However, this knowledge still appears to be something that few people really grasp.
Take the last real big boxing match: Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya. Does everybody understand that De La Hoya was the favorite in that fight?! I mean, how could that be? The most common train of thought was that De La Hoya was just BIGGER. I was surprised to see that when it came to fight time, Pacquiao was bigger, but I was not at all surprised in the result. As an MMA fan, how can you not be accustomed to the tremendous amount of weight cutting that takes place. Pacquiao, clearly, has been doing it fairly well for quite some time. But the point is that Pacquiao is a bad stylistic match-up for a guy like De La Hoya, or Diaz. He's quick, he's strong, he has reach, and a good corner. Let me just say that I was comfortable with my bet.
The reason I'm writing this semi-rant, and the reason I even slightly care, is because I would like to see the level of fight discourse be elevated, especially on a site like BE. Bloody Elbow IS the best place for fight discussions, but it still has some room to grow. The spark that prompted this post occured last week in a discussion about Mike Swick fighting Thiago Alves. Many people, including an editor of the site, gave Mike Swick next to no chance in that fight. This, of course, is rediculous, but what is more rediculous is the fact that no stylistic data was used in backing up this assertion (no data what so ever, actually). Once the BE bloggers got involved, we all got a refresher course in Alves's resume, but still no stylistic comments. One blogger was so infuriated by the support of Alves (and lack of stylistic discussion), he actually used the word "douche bag" while at the same time making a stylistic statement supporting Swick. The stylistic statement was ignored but the gratuitous use of the word "douche bag" prompted a threat from the afore mentioned editor, but still no stylistic response to the heinous allegation that Swick has little chance.
All I ask, and I'm sure I will not receive, is that we all think, just a little bit, about what would actually happen in a fight before we all start commenting on the fight. If everybody was able to do this we could all learn from, and enjoy fights a little bit more.
What would happen if Swick fought Alves:
Swick would use his fast hands and reach to pummel Alves who relies on getting inside to use his strength. Alves is not quick enough to get into range on Swick and Swick is powerful enough to hurt Alves on the outside. Although Alves is an excellent fighter, Swick is a very bad match-up for him. Swick would have to make a mistake for Alves to win. My money goes on Swick.