Boxing is a longstanding combat sport with its origins being traced back to before the common era. The sport has become a testament to the physical being as hand-to-hand combat in its purest form is both barbaric and disturbingly beautiful.
The sport has shifted gears over the years in a number of different ways but the constant that remains is the desire of the knockout – anyone who has ever been involved in a boxing match will express their feelings towards victory by TKO or DQ or any other stoppage of the fight as less than perfect. Perfection in the boxing ring comes by way of knockout.
Mixed martial arts is a full-contact combat sport with its origins dating back to the Classic Greek era where a sport known as “Pankration,” which blended boxing and wrestling and was loose on the rules, was contested.
In modern times, the most popular forms of mixed martial arts can be found in the Ultimate Fighting Championship – which was established in 1993 and has grown significantly in popularity over the past two decades. People are drawn to the UFC for it's quick and brutal approach to fighting. There are many who find an ultimate fight is more exciting to watch than a boxing match – which can drag out to a lengthy decision – while the fight gets to the point much quicker.
In the following article, we will take a look at some fighters and some boxers both past and present, as we pit them against each other in a list of fantasy bouts. Keep in mind that this is strictly hypothetical and is not meant to place one sport over the other or one competitor over the other. This is a compilation of fights based on my own personal thoughts (you may have some of your own in mind that do not appear on the list). There will be no predicted winners in each entry as we will leave that for the reader to decide.
These are the top 15 fantasy bouts: fighters vs. boxers:
15 Butterbean vs Roy Nelson (Ring)
This first bout is purely based on humor and lack of humility: Roy Nelson, the big, bearded, gut-bearing mullet-wearing fighter vs. Butterbean, the big, round, heavy-swinging, boxer.
Now, Butterbean outweighs Nelson by a large margin but we place these two inside a boxing ring due to their knockout abilities and body-types (watching these two grapple would be like watching two Grizzly bears tumbling over the last salmon). While Butterbean has mixed martial arts experience, Nelson and his style of fighting could easily transfer over to the boxing ring. These two large athletes (loose term) may not put on the prettiest fight but someone is sure to have their face rearranged.
14 Shane Mosley vs. T.J. Dillashaw (Cage)
Now that the big fellas have done their job of entertaining, let's get into a more technical bout. Shane Mosley, a standout boxer vs. T.J. Dillashaw, the current Bantamweight UFC Champion.
Mosley outweighs Dillashaw by over ten pounds (remember this is hypothetical and the fighters don't have to make weight), but since he is the one stepping out of his world into another, we give him the weight advantage. Dillashaw is quick and an excellent wrestler but Mosley seems like he'd match quickness with Dillashaw naturally. This bout would not necessarily be very graphic, but certainly interesting.
13 Ronday Rousey vs. Laila Ali (Ring)
It's time to give the female fighters their due in this next bout (we apologize for the lame "dressy" picture, but there weren't many good options!). Ronday Rousey, the current UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion vs. Laila Ali, the undefeated female boxer.
Placing Rousey into the boxing ring seems like the right move in this one. Rousey is considered the best pound-for-pound female fighter in the world and if anyone could go toe-to-toe with Laila Ali in a boxing match, Rousey is the prime candidate. This fight would be an epic encounter as two of the most bad ass women on the planet square off one-on-one.
12 Jon Jones vs. Sugar Ray Robinson (Cage)
The next bout will include our first legend. Sugar Ray Robinson, the man responsible for the term “pound-for-pound” vs. Jon Jones, the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
Robinson passed away before UFC was ever introduced to the public, but in his prime, he's the type of fighter who could have made the switch over and fared well in the cage. Jones is viewed by many as the best pound-for-pound fighter in his sport, so a fight against the great Sugar Ray in the octagon would prove to be no easy task.
11 George Foreman vs.Tank Abbott (Ring)
Keeping with past greats, we turn our attention to the following bout. Tank Abbot, the big, mean, iconic UFC fighter vs. George Foreman, the former two-time Heavyweight Champion and grill-master.
Before losing a bunch of fights in the 2000's, Tank Abbot had a solid record as one of the men who was instrumental in the launch of UFC. We place him in the ring against the former Heavyweight Champion George Foreman because Abbot can match his size and strength. This is another bout that would lack flare but maintain a a lot of physicality.
10 Bernard Hopkins vs. Anderson Silva (Cage)
This next bout is a battle of ignorance and cockiness. Bernard Hopkins, the foot-in-his-mouth former boxer vs. Anderson Silva, the brash former UFC Middleweight Champion.
This one takes place in a cage because if Bernard Hopkins is anything, it's not humble. Hopkins seems like the kind of man who would step into the octagon with a sense of self-certainty even against a great mixed martial artist like Anderson Silva. This fight would place two very arrogant athletes against one another and perhaps fans wouldn't choose sides, preferring to see both men beat each other senseless.
9 Kimbo Slice vs. Sonny Liston (Ring)
Power is the predominate theme in the following bout. Kimbo Slice, the street fighter turned professional mixed martial artist vs. Sonny Liston, the enigmatic former Heavyweight Champion.
This bout is contested in the boxing ring because Slice has had some boxing experience. Both of these men were known for their intimating presence in the cage/ring and tremendous punching power. To watch Slice and Liston exchange blows would be exhilarating for fans on both sides of the spectrum. This is the kind of bout that could end up being a blood bath.
8 Mike Tyson vs. Chuck Liddell (Bar)
We have reached the halfway point of this list, so it's time for a little intermission. Go out to the bar, grab a beer, and watch Mike Tyson fight Chuck Liddell.
Yeah, no ring or cage necessary for these two guys. This is the kind of fight you want to see outside of any rules or structure. Tyson and Liddell, unsanctioned and unpredictable. Sure, this bout would sell tickets but there's nothing wrong with a good barroom brawl every once and a while – let 'em go at it until there is absolute concern for the well-being of one fighter – then pour 'em a drink.
7 Anthony Pettis vs. Manny Pacquiao (Cage)
This bout features two men who seem as though they could keep up with each other in either sport. Manny Pacquiao, the current WBO Welterweight Champion vs. Anthony Pettis, the current UFC Lightweight Champion.
We place Pacquiao in the cage because he has been around longer than Pettis and believes he can do almost anything – so why not jump into the octagon? With both men at the top of their respective divisions, this one could be great. With the proper kind of training, Pacquiao would be ready and able to take on Pettis in a legitimate cage fight – a nice bout to witness.
6 Oscar de la Hoya vs. Johny Hendricks (Ring)
Here we have a bout of rugged man and pretty boy. Johny Hendricks, current UFC Welterweight Champion vs. Oscar De La Hoya, “The Golden Boy.”
Johny Hendricks posses a powerful punch – a punch powerful enough to trade with Oscar De La Hoya? It seems feasible. Which is why we place this bout in the boxing ring where De La Hoya thrives, but where Hendricks could leave his mark. This is a fight that could go one of two ways, an early-round knockout or decision.
5 Jose Aldo vs. Floyd Mayweather (Cage)
Confidence is not lost in this bout. Floyd Mayweather, the arrogant, undefeated, Welterweight Champion vs. Jose Aldo, the current UFC Featherweight Champion.
The contrast of this fight would be great, having Mayweather step out of his realm and feel like the underdog for a change (although he would probably think otherwise). Choosing a hypothetical opponent for Mayweather was the hardest pairing on this list. Aldo is not known as the best ground-fighter, which means this would be a stand-up fight and a pretty level playing field.
4 Joe Frazier vs. Junior Dos Santos (Ring)
This is a bout based on a cat-and-mouse game. Junior Dos Santos, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion vs Joe Frazier, the former Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion.
We place this bout in the boxing ring based on dos Santos' impressive knockout record. Smokin' Joe, one of the best boxers of all time, was well-known for his bobbing and weaving ability – often wearing his opponent down. The best part of this fight would be watching Dos Santos throwing heavy hooks and Frazier dodging them – wondering which punch, if any, is going to connect.
3 Georges St-Pierre vs. Micky Ward (Cage)
This fight was a vision I had based on the neighborhood where I live, a Montreal-based community with a strong Irish and French presence – not necessarily best friends. Mickey Ward vs. Georges St-Pierre (you may think Micky shouldn't be here, but he's tough as nails).
This fight would happen in a cage at the Bell Center in Montreal. Ward, stepping into the unknown territory of the octagon against one of the most well-accomplished mixed martial artists of all time would surely be the heavy underdog. But, how could you have it any other way? These are the kinds of fights that people love.
2 Cain Velasquez vs. Wladmir Klitschko (Ring)
The battle of the Heavyweight Champions. Cain Velasquez, the big dog in UFC vs. Wladmir Klitschko, the beasts of the boxing world.
This fight has to take place in the boxing ring. Klitschko has five inches on Velasquez in height but the UFC Champ has all the knockout tools needed to compete in the ring with the big man. Velasquez is a combination puncher which will apply well in a boxing match – his raw ability to strike may pose as a threat to the Ukrainian heavyweight.
1 Muhammad Ali vs. Quinton Jackson (Cage)
Time for the big fight. The main event of the evening. The one-and-only Muhammad Ali vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
It is hard to pair any man up against the “Sportsman of the Century,” but Ali could not have been omitted from this list and somebody else had to be involved in the fight. Enter: Rampage Jackson. Picture Ali in all his glory, training for a cage fight and talking smack all the while, even though the cage is not his domain. Then picture Jackson and his rebuttal to all that smack talk – two flamboyant personalities going at it in the octagon, one night only, millions to be made, the fight of the night.