Ricardo Mayorga, a former World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council welterweight champion, will make his MMA debut against UFC veteran Din Thomas at Shine Fights III. MMA Mania with the confirmation:
Former UFC lightweight Din Thomas will welcome former boxing champion Ricardo Mayorga to the world of mixed martial arts when the two clash at the upcoming third event from the Shine Fights promotion, which is expected to go down in March 2010 at a venue to be named.
MMAmania.com confirmed the match-up earlier today.
Ricardo Mayorga has a reputation as a "bad boy" with his tendency to insult fighters and their families in the build-up to his major fights, as well as his being quick to admit that he smokes and drinks in a way that is entirely unusual for a high level athlete. Some of Mayorga's best work was in the build up for his 2007 fight with Fernando Vargas which can be seen on this video:
In a conversation with MMA Spot, Din made it perfectly clear that he was more than willing to go that route in building up the fight:
I think he is afraid of me. If he does accept the fight I will put him into retirement and send him back to his fruit stand in Nicaragua. He will be wearing a straw hat, smoking cigarettes, and selling bananas once and for all. This is MMA and I will beat him standing or on the ground. I will let him pick how he wants to lose his first MMA fight.
Beyond the verbal jabs it is extremely interesting to note what this fight represents. This is a boxer who is still reasonably close to his athletic prime entering MMA to take on a legitimately skilled mixed martial artist. While Mayorga hasn't stepped into the ring since being stopped in the last second of his fight with Shane Mosely in September of 2008, he is still not as far removed from relevancy as Ray Mercer when he fought Tim Sylvia earlier this year.
Much as was the case in the Mercer/Sylvia fight, many fans will overvalue the meaning that the fight has in the relatively pointless boxing v. MMA debate. It holds interest in seeing how a pure boxer's skills will translate into a fight under MMA rules but in the end will prove little to change anyone's mind on the relative merits of either sport. Should Thomas take down the wild swinging Mayorga and submit him it will simply prove that which we learned in early UFCs, and if Mayorga manages to channel Ray Mercer and knocks Din out it will simply prove that boxers have very powerful punches and represent a legitimate threat on the feet.
No matter the outcome these truths exist now, as they did before the Mercer/Sylvia fight, as they will after the Mayorga/Thomas fight.