THOUGH it’s unlikely he will ever get the chance to prove it, UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal says he is “10-times the athlete” boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is and suggests it takes more to be a mixed martial artist than it does to be a boxer.
The popular welterweight, recently seen stopping Nate Diaz in New York, has been calling for a fight against Alvarez for a couple of weeks now and doesn’t seem in the mood to settle down. In fact, he is now adamant he not only wants to box Alvarez – in a ring, in his domain – but that what he does in the Octagon is beyond the capabilities of the Mexican superstar.
“I consider myself 10 times the athlete [Canelo] is just because of MMA in general,” Masvidal told the Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN.
“All the strength, speed and power you have to generate – to throw one kick is like throwing 10 right hands. The energy it takes to wrestle and pick somebody up in the air… boxing’s just your weight, nobody cares.
“If I could shift those energy blocks and bring them down to boxing where I’m throwing 80 or 90 punches a round, I feel I could hurt this dude.
“I definitely agree that if [Alvarez] was to go to MMA, it wouldn’t be a challenge because I’ve thrown 10,000 left high-kicks in a month and he’s never done one.
“It’s kind of the same thing to boxing, where if I’ve thrown a million jabs, then he’s thrown 10 million because that’s all his focus.
“That being said, there’s still an element that I could put his a** to sleep. Maybe I don’t hit harder, but I’m definitely bigger.”
The last time a mixed martial artist shared a boxing ring with a professional boxer it didn’t turn out well for Conor McGregor in Las Vegas. However, Masvidal says a fight between him and Alvarez would be a different proposition entirely and that the awkwardness McGregor brought to the table against Mayweather would be just the tip of the iceberg.
“I could definitely make a statement and even it out for MMA, my sport,” he said. “There [are] still things in boxing that are a part of boxing.
“I just feel I could beat him up in some areas. Does he have a better jab and left hook than me? Yeah, of course. But there’s still elements where I could make it awkward for him, just like Conor did to Mayweather.
“Those are the mountains I like to scale. If I’m going into boxing, I want the best guy they got.”
Somehow Masvidal’s logic is both admirable and flawed.
Manny Pacquiao’s a busy man and these days his fight schedule has to bend to his work as a senator in his native Philippines.
This, in addition to his advancing age, means we don’t get to see the multi-weight world champion fight as often as we would like. It also means that when he does fight, he tends to make it count.
Now 40, Pacquiao was last seen knocking down and outpointing Keith Thurman to win the WBA welterweight title in July. He has been inactive since then but will return to the ring in April or March according to Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions, who confirmed Pac-Man is expected to fight “in the first quarter” of 2020.
With the Senate in recess between March 14 and May 3, this makes sense for Pacquiao, who told the Manila Bulletin: “I can fight in March, April because the Senate will be on break during that time.”
As for his opponent, the shortlist for now appears to consist of Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. However, Amir Khan, a man often linked to a fight against Pacquiao, isn’t giving up the ghost and remains hopeful of being chosen to finally make some Pacquiao money in 2020.
“Manny Pacquiao or [Floyd] Mayweather or someone big like that,” Khan, a former training partner of Pacquiao’s, told IFL TV when asked who he would like to fight in 2020. “I want to be back out in March next year. A few fights we’re looking at. The Kell Brook fight.”
As unlikely as it has seemed for about five years, it’s fair to say at this point there’s probably more chance Amir Khan shares a ring with Kell Brook in 2020 than Manny Pacquiao. But who can blame a Bolton boy for trying?