Feature | Highlight 5 | Issue | Premium | Jan 07 2020

The Mixed Zone: Are mixed martial artists better athletes than boxers?

After Jorge Masvidal claimed he is a better athlete than Canelo Alvarez, Elliot Worsell spoke to boxers and mixed martial artists in search of the truth
Boxing News

LIKE some terrible disease for which no cure can be found, it’s now 2020 and we’re still comparing boxing and mixed martial arts and hypothesising what would happen if Random Boxer were to fight Random Mixed Martial Artist in either a ring or cage.

Ten years after I first wrote about this subject, I have again tasked myself with exploring the similarities and differences between the sports (spoiler: there are more of the latter than former), only this time, owing to some outlandish comments made by UFC (Ultimate Fighter Championship) welterweight Jorge Masvidal, there will be fresh emphasis on the respective athletic qualities of both boxers and mixed martial artists and an attempt to find out, hopefully once and for all (don’t count on it), which of the two sports comprise the superior athletes.

According to Masvidal, still running on the adrenaline produced during a November 2 win over Nate Diaz, mixed martial artists are better all-round athletes than boxers and this, he said, would give him an edge in a potential boxing match against boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. But not everybody agrees. The MMA fans back Masvidal, highlighting the need to learn numerous disciplines to call oneself a mixed martial artist, whereas boxing fans believe mastering one art, and the complete immersion this requires, trumps whatever is produced by the jacks of all trades, masters of none at the other end of the gym.