Freddie Roach may be boxing's best known current trainer, currently working the chief second for men like Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, but he has also worked closely with several mixed martial artists over the past few years.
Freddie was on "Inside MMA" on Monday to discuss his choices for the top five boxers in MMA. Not surprisingly, four of the five men are guys he has personal experience working with in his gym, but it's still interesting to see who he chose.
Noons is someone who gets brought up a lot as a guy with "great boxing" because he has an 11-2 pro boxing career. Of course, that record comes against mostly bad fighter with only three wins against fighters who won more than half of their bouts (records: 1-0, 4-2 and 6-4). In his one real attempt to face a step up in level of competition, Noons lost a decision to then 11-1 James Countryman. Countryman was a small level prospect while Noons was never particularly highly thought of as a boxing prospect (don't let anyone tell you differently). Of course, Countryman doesn't even have another officially recognized fight on his record since the Noons bout.
Diaz, Penn and Silva are all deserving of their place on the list if we're talking about good boxing skills translated to MMA but I still have questions about GSP. It's not that GSP's boxing is bad, but for all the time spent training with Roach and focusing on his training he seems to show little more than a strong jab. I'm sure he has the tools in his toolbox but he's not really utilizing them in his fights. That predictability (along with an eye poke) led to Jake Shields, with his low-level striking, hanging with GSP on the feet in their bout.
Any talk of dos Santos having the skills to be a world champion boxer is nonsense, but he uses good technique to generate power and utilizes decent combination punching for a heavyweight mixed martial artist. As for Edgar, he uses very tight punching that is basically as good as anyone in the game at this point.