Old Ground: Punching in MMA vs. punching in boxing (again)

Unfairly blamed are the punch machines for their contribution to the spectacle of promoters throwing punches for social media attention, as well as the reduction of punch power to a numerical value displayed on a screen. These devices, such as “punch machines,” only serve to turn boxing into a debate driven by statistics and internet posts by individuals lacking experience and knowledge of the sport. Despite the clear distinctions between boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA), some individuals fail to grasp the differences in skill-sets and types of punches required in each discipline. By targeting the uninformed, cynical “crossover” promotions like Fury vs. Ngannou aim to exploit those who believe everything they are told. This disappointment arises from the ongoing perpetuation of this debate and the illusion created by boxing. The use of punch machines and blind reliance on numbers has misguided individuals into forming opinions without considering actual fighting ability. Thirteen years ago, the discussion of Boxing vs. MMA held an unknown element as MMA was still in its infancy. However, James Toney’s brief foray into MMA provided the definitive answer that punching in MMA vastly differs from punching in a boxing ring. Despite warnings from experienced fighters, some continued to believe that boxers could excel in MMA. Yet, fighters like Marcus Davis and Chris Lytle emphasized the need to adapt techniques to be successful in MMA. Kevin Ferguson, also known as Kimbo Slice, admitted his preference for the simplicity of standing and punching, explaining his transition from MMA to boxing. However, he acknowledged the commitment required to develop the necessary defense in professional boxing. While boxing is often seen as a one-dimensional sport centered around punching, there is much work to be done for those transitioning from MMA into boxing.

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