Tim Sylvia recently talked to Fighters Only about his boxing aspirations. To wit:
"Its something I've always wanted to pursue and if it works out like I'd like for it too, I can switch over. I don't want to be done with MMA, but the money is a lot better in boxing. Plus its a lot easier on your body and its a lot easier to train for a boxing match than it is an MMA match."
Asked if a run at a title belt in the boxing world is on his mind, Sylvia is unequivocal. "Yeah absolutely, I would love to fight some of the heavyweight champs, you know? I mean the paydays are ridiculous!" he says, adding with a laugh "$10 million paydays, that is just stupid money."
Yahoo's Steve Cofield puts Sylvia's enthusiasm in perspective:
The money is better? At the highest level, of course. With the downturn in the economy, boxers in the top 20-to-50 range are making 400-800k at best. Chad Dawson and Antonio Tarver just made a combined $1.8 million. So the money's not that big in boxing unless Sylvia thinks he's fighting a Klitschko brother. Which won't and shouldn't happen.
We have no idea if Sylvia can be a high level boxer. The guess is no chance. His hand speed is below average and his footwork is shaky and slow. Don't even worry about him against a top 10 fighter. Could Sylvia even be competitve with fellow giant Tye Fields, who is 6-foot-8, 270 pounds? I doubt it. Boxing is different animal. It was the same as saying Fields could win an MMA fight against Sylvia.
It's one thing to take on Ray Mercer, a near 50-year-old boxer whose best days passed him by many years ago. It's quite another to talk about challenging some of the better pro boxers, currently fighting in the prime of their careers. I'm not convinced Sylvia can get by Mercer, anyway.
While a loss to Mercer, or some other boxer, probably isn't a significant blow to the MMA juggernaut, a win for Sylvia against an irrelevant boxer has no real upside for Sylvia, himself, and there's certainly no overwhelming benefit to be derived for the sport of MMA. Tim Sylvia, like him or not, is one of highest ranked heavyweight mixed martial artists in the world (#8 according to the USAT/SBN Consensus Rankings). However, this assertion by Sylvia that he can make waves at the top of the professional boxing ranks, and thus score the serious cash, seems premature at best. Actually, the more cynical among us might label it sheer craziness.
Update by Brent Brookhouse: I just wanted to point out that I'm not really sure where Cofield's numbers are coming from. One of the hottest American prospects on the heavyweight boxing scene in years is Chris Arreola. Arreola is currently ranked #7 in the world by Ring Magazine. If there is anyone who would be pulling the higher end cash that Cofield claims these #20-50 guys make it would be Arreola. Hell, it should be even higher considering that he is such a hot prospect and well above the top 20 level. However, in his last fight Chris' purse was $400,000. The insane payscale of boxing is a myth beyond the absolute top guys in the sport. Tim Sylvia is not cracking the top 20 of boxing anytime soon, I'd say the safer money for him is in MMA where he is already considered top 10 and can get his regular purse in addition to sponsorship bonuses.