Jump to content

MMA's Best: Boxer


Carbomb
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Paid Members

I thought it might be worth doing various threads on sub-disciplines of MMA where we can discuss said disciplines' best exponents; oddly, this came off the back of it being frequently mentioned that Floyd Mayweather is the best defensive boxer of all time.

I chose boxing for the first thread, rather than striking overall, because I'd like us to eventually discuss specifics such as elbow, knees, kicks, etc. There are just so many strikers of varying styles, it would be doing an injustice to discuss striking as a whole. Same goes for grappling; I remember wand mentioning that Wanderlei Silva had excellent defensive BJJ, but there seemed to be an implication that his offensive BJJ/submission game wasn't up to the task of dealing with Sonnen.

Anyway, another reason I wanted to do boxing first is because I love technical out-boxing (of the offensive variety - Mayweather's obviously impressive, but not in a particularly exciting way), and I frequently remember how impressed I was by Mark Hominick's technical boxing in his match with Jose Aldo in Canada at UFC 129. Sure, he lost, but it wasn't a one-sided domination. He was hitting Aldo with some beautiful strikes that were fast, precise, and compact. In fact, I would go so far to say that, if it had gone one more round, we'd have seen a finish - either doctor's stoppage when the bloody great hematoma on Hominick's head burst, or when he knocked out Aldo, as he was landing more and more shots towards the end of the fight.

When I posted my initial review of 129, I remember wand saying that Hominick had been one of the best technical boxers ever in MMA, and that it was a shame his career seemed to go downhill after the Aldo loss; something to do with his coach dying, I think. I have to agree: feels like we were robbed of a really gifted boxer who was able to mix it in with the rest of his MMA game and make it really work for him as an effective weapon.

 

I also enjoyed watching Brad Pickett; I know he came from a boxing background, so I always tried to catch his matches when he was fighting towards the end of his career. Might try to catch more of them on YouTube if they're on there.

Frankie Saenz was also fun to watch. He wasn't just boxing in his match against Faber, but what he did show, I really liked. His punches seemed to be effective and efficient; it's just a shame he was clearly over the hill, and he was up against a still very strong Faber.

 

Anyone else have any examples they care to mention? If this thread goes OK, might do one for offensive BJJ next (although my understanding of it is much more limited).

Edited by Carbomb
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Paid Members

First name that came to mind is Holly Holm. Overall, her game has some holes, but you can't argue with her achievements. Obviously she made Rousey look like an amateur.

Prime GSP's jab was a thing of beauty too. Clearly worked his arse off with Freddie Roach to perfect it; no better example than the Koscheck fight, who has not been the same since.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Paid Members

I'm trying to avoid picking pro boxers who made the jump like Holly Holm and Fabio Maldonado because that seems too easy. 

A few names spring to mind though...

Frankie Edgar. I think he's got some of the best boxing in MMA history. He mightn't be a name that jumps out to everyone because when you think 'best boxers' you think knockouts and Frankie doesn't really do that. He's never been a huge puncher. But his technique, accuracy, speed, combinations, footwork, angles etc. He's absolutely one of the best in the game. 

Nick Diaz deserves a mention as well. Defensively he's not the best but I think a lot of that  leaving his chin out and his hands down was by design to goad the opponent in, and he knew he had a chin. His boxing offence was tremendous though. His output was ridiculous, he was accurate, and he went to the body a ton which I love. Mixed in head and body attacks beautifully as well. 

BJ Penn in his prime was probably the best MMA boxer in that era. He was one of the only MMA fighters who understood the importance of the jab and how to use it for MMA. See the Sherk fight for the best example of this. Also had a wicked uppercut on him. Bisping is another one with underrated boxing. People think of him more as a kickboxer, and I guess he is, but he's got very good hands, a nice jab and good combinations. 

Hominick was a really good striker. He's been largely forgotten these days, which is a shame. I really believe his coach Shawn Tompkins dying had a massive impact on his career. He was never right after that. And never won a fight again after that. Tompkins was his coach for most, if not all of his MMA career. 

He fought Aldo in April 2011 and, as it turned out, that was the last time Tompkins cornered him. He died in the August. In hindsight, it would've been nice if Hominick had won the title that night. Even if he lost it straight back in a rematch. It would've been a fitting tribute for Tompkins' work with Hominick. It was still a great fight regardless. Hominick's last hurrah though. In his very next fight after Tompkins death, he got KO'd by the Korean Zombie in 7 seconds. 

Yeah @ColinBollocks GSP is a good shout. 

Edited by wandshogun09
Link to comment
Share on other sites

BJ Penn in his pomp was considered to be a superb boxer for MMA standards. He was well on top in the first round of his initial fight with GSP, solely based on his boxing. GSP looked to be a beaten man when he headed back to his corner. 

GSP was not the most exciting boxer in the game, but he was one of the most effective. Even in the bout against Hendricks, he was boxing rings around him when he could create enough distance. He also dominated Koscheck with his left jab for 5 rounds, and broke his orbital bone in the process. For sustained dominance with pure boxing, that is probably the best example you can find in MMA (unless I have forgotten one)

Freddie Roach rated Anderson Silva as the best boxer in MMA in 2012. It's hard to argue against that. Time hasn't been kind to Anderson (imo). His resume doesn't hold up as well as GSP's, and I have my doubts that he is the best head to head Midddleweight ever. Despite Bisping being Champion, the Middleweight division has improved since Anderson was dethroned. However, during his peak, Anderson did make other fighters look foolish with his boxing. The Forrest Griffin fight being the most famous example. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Edgar is indeed worth a mention. He developed into a top-range MMA boxer almost overnight. At UFC 112, he was gifted a decision against Penn. The first three rounds of that fight were clearly Penn's. All three Sherdog play by play judges gave them to him. The last two rounds were a lot closer, with the 4th round being a pick-em, and Edgar winning the 5th. Despite getting the rough-end, Penn partially has himself to blame. He was stuck in 2nd gear all evening. Edgar did not look that impressive in victory.

Fast-forward to the rematch some 4 months later, and things were very different  Penn had regressed from the first bout. There's that famous gif of him looking disinterested before the fight started. However, it was clear that Edgar had also upped his game tremendously. He had the measure of Penn all night long; with his boxing playing a significant role. It was pretty shocking at the time, and the beginning of a new era at 155lbs. Edgar carried this form through to his next fights. Edgar's two fights with Maynard, were a bit similar to GSP's bout against Hendricks. The smaller man was clearly the better boxer, and would get the best of most of the exchanges. However, the bigger man had a lot more power, which even the playing field somewhat. Still, it was Edgar who managed to stop Maynard in the rematch; despite being in trouble early on. That was probably his finest hour. 

Since then, he's continued to impress in the boxing department. The highlight probably being his KO of Mendes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Paid Members

Cody Garbrandt showed against Cruz the level of boxing he's working at. Cruz's style seemed to be a bugger to crack, but Cody's boxing meant he not only landed when he wanted, but Cruz only really seemed to catch him on the end of reaching punches. It was an incredible display of stand up skill.

He's also knocked nearly every bugger out too with his fists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Paid Members

McGregor's definitely in the convo. A lot of his best stuff with his hands is set up with kicks but I don't remember that much kicking against Alvarez actually. I might be remembering it wrong but that was probably one of his most boxing-heavy performances and he dominated. And it's not like he knocked out a BJJ guy or something. Alvarez has pretty solid boxing himself. 

Garbrandt and JDS are good shouts that I completely overlooked. 

And I mentioned him earlier but Fabio Maldonado was one of my favourites to watch in MMA for pure boxing. His body attacks especially were beautiful and brutal at the same time. His fight with Igor Pokrajac was fucking awesome. If anyone's got Fight Pass and fancies watching a random forgotten war, you can do a lot worse than Maldonado vs Pokrajac. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Paid Members

Yeah, I was going to say that Mole. The threat of the takedown changes things quite a bit IMO. Cain always mixed takedown attempts in with his striking and it worked a treat for him. He could disguise and distract his attacks by shooting to set up his punches or punching to set up his takedowns better than almost anyone I've seen. 

We'll never know for sure and it ultimately doesn't matter because MMA is the game they agreed to play, but I always felt like if you took the threat of the takedown away and it was a straight boxing match, JDS would get the better of it. It's one thing JDS isn't very good at though, is putting everything together and MMA multi-tasking, I guess you could call it. He's good at boxing and he's good at defending takedowns but he's not the best at doing both at the same time and seems to get flustered by it. Cain exploited that perfectly in their second and third fights. JDS was never able to get into a rhythm or really plant his feet to land power shots because Cain fucked his timing up by constantly switching between boxing and wrestling and giving JDS too much to think about. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...