(The beginning of the boxers-in-MMA epidemic. Thanks again, Tim. / Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)
After he humiliated Tim Sylvia last June, we were worried that former boxing champ Ray Mercer would ride off into the sunset for good, having proved himself a master at two different combat sports. But you have to give the dude credit — he hasn’t given up on MMA competition, and he won’t be fighting scrubs just to collect a paycheck. MMAFighting.com passes along the news that Mercer will be appearing at a King of the Cage event on April 16th in Detroit, against Ron "The Monster" Sparks, a 6’5", 300-pound bruiser with a 5-0 record. Granted, Sparks’s first four opponents were making their pro debuts, and his last one has a losing record. Still, considering that Mercer is just 1-0 himself (not including his exhibition bout against Kimbo Slice in 2007), it’s a matchup that makes sense. Will Mercer continue to find success as a mixed martial artist? How long will it take until he’s ready for a UFC heavyweight title shot against James Toney? KOTC’s 4/16 show will be headlined by Jeremy Horn vs. Jake Rosholt, and will be broadcast live on HDNet.
Speaking of boxers crossing over into MMA, Shine Fights has signed undefeated NABO cruiserweight champion B.J. Flores (24-0-1, 15 KOs) to a non-exclusive fight contract. Shine Fights previously drew attention with their signing of former junior middleweight boxing champion Ricardo Mayorga — who will face Din Thomas on May 15th — but their new acquisition is even more notable because Flores is a current boxing champion who’s basically in his prime. Flores’s debut-date and first opponent have not yet been named.