Freddy Roach Discusses Training MMA Fighters
It is refreshing to see a respected boxing figure like Roach speaking intelligently on the differences between boxing and MMA. Many people in boxing do not respect MMA athletes and believe the sport is nowhere near as sophisticated as the sweet science. The truth is, they are two completely different sports and transitioning from one to the other doesn’t happen that frequently for a reason: It is very, very hard.
Boxers have had limited success in MMA because many of the things they are trained to do are highly dangerous in the octagon. Bobbing and weaving doesn’t work because of kicks and knees, and the 50-50 weight distribution can make the front leg extremely vulnerable to kicks. That isn’t to say that boxing doesn’t have its place in MMA – that’s why people like Freddy Roach have been brought in to sharpen up various fighter’s hand skills. But to assert that boxing is ‘better’ or ‘more sophsticated’ than MMA doesn’t hold up. The fact is, MMA includes all facets of fighting – kicking, punching, clinching and grappling, and these days, the top athletes must be world class in all of them.
Anderson Silva, George St Pierre, Fedor Emelianenko and BJ Penn are all fighters who could hold their own with professional boxers, kick boxers, standout wrestlers and world class Jiu Jitsu practitioners. MMA fighters work longer and harder that virtually all other athletes precisely because they have to know so much.
I’m a huge boxing fan, probably more so than MMA, and I am fascinated by the intricacies of the sport. I love the defensive genius of fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Pernell Whitaker and admire the offensive wizardry of aggressive boxer-punchers like Manny Pacquiao and Roberto Duran. But are they any better at their jobs than fighters like Anderson Silva who have knocked fighters out with every limb of their body, taken down elite level wrestlers, and submitted them with an array of highly technical Jiu Jitsu techniques?
I think not.