Looks like Ricardo Fighting Mayorga is actually going to go through with his attempt at MMA, as Shine Fights sent out a press release to hype Mayorga's May 15 fight with credible MMA veteran Din Thomas. In it, Mayorga had this to say:
"I conquered the world in the boxing ring all the while I was puffing cigarettes and drinking beer. I won three world title belts and I stood toe to toe with so many legends, beating some of them. Vernon Forrest, God rest his soul, was a great boxer yet I beat him back twice. I cannot be denied as I am a force of nature.
"Now I will shock the MMA fans and I know so many of my fans from boxing will follow me as I expand my repertoire. They can't deny me in MMA and I will destroy Din Thomas. I am going to smash him the way I smashed all the big superstars of boxing. To me, a fight is a fight -- in a ring, in a cage or on the street. Fighting is my middle name."
Mayorga (28-7-1, 22 KO in boxing) and Thomas (25-8 MMA, 7 TKO/KO, 14 SUB) will fight in Fayetteville, North Carolina, at the Crown Coliseum. They're thinking good business for this event, of course.
"We think Mayorga’s fans are just that, his fans and they will follow him to MMA. Many boxing fans are out there who can become fans of both sports and that's our target here. Mayorga inspires passion and that's what we're looking for," said Thomas.
While this will definitely get Shine Fights more attention than they usually receive, they're hopefully being reasonable here. Mayorga has not fought since Shane Mosley knocked him out in 2008, and I think the last real major memory of him in boxing is Oscar de la Hoya beating the ever-loving crap out of him in '06. Mayorga doesn't have a huge following.
This is a boxing/MMA idea I actually like. Mayorga is a pure brawler no matter what sport he's in. His limits in MMA are more glaring (I assume, anyway) than his limits in boxing, but he was no ring genius in boxing either. He's got nasty power, though, and with those small gloves he can turn lights out in a hurry. Thomas is a good fighter, probably on the downside of his career, but tactically should have almost all the advantages against Ricardo. Din has been fighting on small cards since his last UFC appearance in 2008, a loss to Josh Neer. He's been fighting professionally since 1998, stays in good shape, and unless he's hit fast, has got to be the overwhelming favorite against Mayorga.
But it's interesting. And I love the words from Devin Price, the CEO of Shine Fights.
"In my opinion, boxing and MMA are not in some knockdown, dragout war. It's not all one and none of the other. The sports have so much in common, especially when it comes to the courage and fighting heart of the athletes. There is room in the marketplace for both boxing and MMA and seeing a big boxing name like Mayorga cross over without abandoning boxing is proof of this. It's all about an open mind because fans of one sport can learn to love the other. I really feel this. All that boxing versus MMA nonsense is ancient history."