(Ariel Helwani breaks the news of this potential freak show on MMA Tonight.)
Alright, enough is enough.
For what seems like a decade now, Roy Jones Jr. has been making it his life’s pursuit to box an MMA fighter. First it was Anderson Silva, then it was Nick Diaz, then Rampage Jackson, and finally, Anderson Silva again. And maybe Kimbo Slice in there somewhere. For Christ’s sake, when we first reported on this, Old Dad was a contributor here. Think about that for a second.
And now, it’s being reported that retired UFC veteran Chris “Lights Out” Lytle is currently in negotiations to box Jones in a 10-round, 175-pound contest later this year. That’s right, ten-time bonus winner and one-time Indiana State Senate hopeful Chris Lytle, is going to box Roy Jones Jr.
Even as a big fan of Lytle’s, I cannot understand how this fight is possibly being considered. Lytle retired from MMA in 2011, has not boxed professionally since 2005, and is easily the smallest draw of any of the MMA fighters Jones has been linked to over the years. Say what you want about Lytle’s granite chin, or how much Jones’ skills have deteriorated, or how Lytle was 13-1 as a boxer with wins over…
This shit needs to stop. News flash, MMA fighters & Boxers: It isn’t 1993, and there is no longer a need to prove that one fighting style is better than another. We already know that MMA is superior, we know this, so why are we as a community so insistent on leveling the scales that were tipped in our favor following Toney vs. Couture? THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS, YOU GUYS.
With all due respect to Lytle, I must reiterate how terrible of an idea this is. The MMA vs. Boxing debate has long since lost all relevance in our society, and I point to the hilarious “debate” of Rousey vs. Mayweather as proof of this. Simply put, we do not need to add fuel to the fire by allowing Lytle, a consistently entertaining fighter, to get his ass whipped by one of the greatest boxers of all time.
How would this fight be billed, exactly? The average steadfast boxing fan barely knows who Anderson Silva is, let alone a guy of Lytle’s caliber. That “Light’s Out” has been retired for three years doesn’t exactly make things more enticing, especially when considering that Jones has fought as recently as December 2013, where he captured the vacant WBU Cruiserweight title.
In the octagon, we have seen Lytle outboxed by the likes of Marcus Davis, Robbie Lawler, and even Dan Hardy in his final MMA fight before rallying in the third round. Lytle is a power-puncher with decent footwork who relies on looping, home run swings of right hands that often leave him exposed to counter strikes (in his MMA career, at least). Roy Jones Jr. is perhaps the smoothest counter-puncher to ever step foot in the ring, next to Floyd Mayweather, with equally devastating offensive capabilities. So please, tell me how this will end in anything but a one-sided beatdown.
And God, how Jones would talk after defeating Lytle. We’d never hear the end of how Anderson Silva was “next” on his list, or how Rampage was “ducking him.” You guys remember all the nonsense Ray Mercer spat after destroying Tim Sylvia, right? How MMA fighters were all afraid of him, a 48 year-old former boxer, because he had knocked out an uncoordinated, past-his prime Fatty Boom-Boom who showed up to the fight some 40 pounds heavier than we had ever seen him? Think about the embarrassment you felt for our sport that day, Nation. Think long and hard (heh) about it before you offer an opinion on this fight.
Perhaps the most troubling angle of this fight is that Lytle is more or less viewing it as his final “farewell fight.” He’s no longer interested in MMA, but a boxing match with Jones is the one thing he apparently needs to call it a career (for seriously this time). Yahoo’s Kevin Iole recently wrote a great piece on the futility of these farewell fights, and his main point was simple:
The final act of so many fighters is not good. Retirement or so-called farewell fights should also be outlawed, because if a fighter isn’t fit to compete, then it makes no sense to go out and get kicked and punched in the head again in order to say goodbye.
On behalf of MMA fans and the sport in general, I’m begging you, Chris: Do not take this fight. You went out on possibly the highest note an MMA fighter has ever gone out on, and accepting a fight with Jones, an idol of yours he may be, will only tarnish that. You’ve got a wife and got kids who I’m sure would be just fine with the prospect of never seeing you fight again, and for good reason: MMA fans don’t need this fight, boxing fans don’t need this fight, and most importantly, you don’t need this fight.
The same goes for the rest of you, post-prime MMA fighters considering a fight with Jones. Let’s leave the MMA vs. Boxing debate where it belongs: Buried in a shallow grave and hidden from the sight of rational-thinking people.