I think I've said it enough to not have to remind everyone...but I'll say it again: I don't believe in the idea that boxing and MMA are in some sort of competition. But, I do think that the rise of MMA is directly responsible for the much improved matchmaking throughout the world of boxing over the past two years.
MMA fans by and large seem to hold onto the idea that the sport has been putting on much more competitive bouts than boxing, but a conversation with Scott from BadLeftHook earlier this evening really had me questioning which sport has been featuring the best fights since the start of the year.
This year alone boxing has been witness to:
- The culmination of one of boxing's greatest all-action trilogies in Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez III. This was an amazing fight in its own right.
- A rematch of one of last year's most important fights in Jermain Taylor vs. Kelly Pavlik II
- A rematch of an all-time classic draw in Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao II. Following an amazingly hard fought draw up with an action bout ending in a split decision that could have gone either way? To take it a step further it was a bout between two pound-for-pound top five fighters.
The one place where MMA remains much more consistent is the undercard bouts. The biggest boxing main events are still generally topping cards featuring mismatches and fights between guys who will never factor into the big picture of the sport.
Am I right? Has this been the year of boxing's top fights outperforming MMA or am I just forgetting some great fights from our sport in '08?