With a lull in MMA due to the cancelled Montreal show, due to be UFC 145, a lot of attention has been shunted elsewhere into the MMA world. “The Ultimate Fighter Live” and Bellator have gotten their just due for the past several weeks, of course, and this weekend one of the more amusing stories to follow got more creative. Kevin Ferguson, better known as Kimbo Slice, won in what appears to be a miracle knockout after being down on the judge’s scorecards against an MMA fighter making his pro boxing debut in Brian Green.
After two devastating knockouts and a decision victory to start his boxing career, Slice had the sort of comeback that usually only appears in the movies. About to lose the fourth of a four round fight, Kimbo connected with a beautiful combination punctuated with an uppercut that dropped the former Bellator fighter with less than four seconds left.
On the surface it’s one of two things: either the sort of comeback that Sylvester Stallone never imagined he could pull off in the “Rocky” franchise or a really spectacular fix.
While I’m not here to argue the merits of whether or not it looks like a knockout or not, as the legitimacy of it is something that looks bad enough that even those heavily connected into the pro wrestling industry like Paul Heyman have speculated that it looks like a fix, the fight with Green was eerily reminiscent to another in Kimbo’s past: James Thompson at Elite XC: Primetime.
In many ways his boxing career is lining up eerily similar to how his MMA career has gone. Starting out with a guy who can best be described as a tomato can in Bo Cantrell, Slice headlined his first card as a fighter. Knocking out Tank Abbott in what would essentially amount to a freak show fight was next for Slice. His next fight should’ve been a concern for Elite XC, though. Slice managed to get a TKO over James Thompson but looked poor while doing so.
Moving up in competition from a relic of a day gone by in Abbott and someone like Cantrell to Thompson, who’s had an unspectacular but steady career as a journeyman, Slice’s flaws as a fighter were exposed. Anyone who watched the Thompson fight knew that someone with his level of skill or higher could eliminate Elite XC’s cash cow. Which is why Ken Shamrock was his next opponent; Shamrock was then in the same spot Abbott was as a name fighter whose skills had eroded substantially.
It was another name and another probable victory for Slice; Shamrock hadn’t shown anything of note at the end of his second stint in the UFC (and still hasn’t) but his name still means something. MMA fans will still come out to see Ken Shamrock because of what he means to the sport and pro wrestling fans will recognize his name from his days in the WWF. He was the perfect opponent for Kimbo because it was a notable and winnable fight, someone to give him credibility without a significant chance of losing.
A cut to Shamrock, and Seth Petruzelli stopping him in dramatic fashion, and Kimbo Slice was more or less done in MMA. A stint on the reality show prolonged his career somewhat but it was clear after going 1-1 against Houston Alexander and Matt Mitrione that Slice’s MMA career had a fairly low ceiling. He was akin to Brett Rogers in a way, beating up regional fighters without much talent but failing against anyone with above a subpar level of talent, but did so with a much brighter spotlight.
The all around nature of it took away his biggest gift, his ability to throw a power punch, and as such boxing seemed to be a better path for him. Without having to worry about leg kicks and grappling he could do better with his naturally powerful boxing style. Given a couple of bottom rung fighters to start with, Slice looked the part of the punching machine knocking out pro boxers in the same way he looked the part of the badass street fighter knocking out mixed martial artists.
It made for a great story, too, for those without a substantial boxing background or interest: Kimbo Slice as failed MMA fighter and reformed street fighter taking the boxing world by storm.
As was the case with Thompson as soon as he fought someone with more than just a passing level of talent he was exposed. Thompson exposed him in MMA and Seth Petruzelli finished the job. Brian Green, whether he threw the fight or not, spent the better part of 12 minutes exposing Kimbo Slice as a gimmick boxer at best about a half dozen fights away from fighting Eric “Butterbean” Esch in a strip club parking lot.
Tags: Boxing, Kimbo Slice, Mixed Martial Arts