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NFL Lockout Enables Football Players to Have Terrible Boxing Matches

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

First off, here are, uh, some "highlights" of Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards in his pro boxing (kind of) debut last Friday night.

Yeah. As you can see, he truly is like a mix of Ali, Tyson and Mayweather, just like his trainer says.

Here's what really bothers me about this crap. People say it's good because more people are paying attention to boxing when these things come up. No they aren't. They're paying more attention to the word "boxing," maybe, but not the actual sport. Ray Edwards is irrelevant in boxing. Tom Zbikowski is irrelevant in boxing (though again, Edwards makes Zbikowski look like Manny Pacquiao).

But none of the couple hundred people who attended this non-televised exhibition in Hinckley, Minnesota, or the few that will see this amazing footage, are going to go, "Holy cow, that looks awesome. I want to see more of this 'boxing' that I think Mo-hammed Ali used to do in that movie." People know what boxing is, and Ray Edwards and Tom Zbikowski are not the vehicle to lead them to the Gatti-Ward trilogy. And anyway, most of these lookie-loos would probably only care about the heavyweight division, which sucks and is 94% unwatchable even for serious boxing fans.

I don't want to really have the discussion. I've had it plenty. You can disagree with me. But this is just a rare situation where my mind's not changing. I don't think the other viewpoint has any basis in reality. That's just me. I could be wrong, but I'm quite certain I am not. And it's nothing to do with being an elitist, either. I want everyone to watch boxing. I want the TV ratings to be better than they are. I wish it was not a niche sport (which it is). I just don't think Ray Edwards is going to create new boxing fans by awkwardly pawing at a physically overmatched fellow non-boxer. And just to continue hammering this into the ground, we're also talking about Ray Edwards and Tom Zbikowski here, not major name, star football players.

So with the NFL lockout in effect, and the chance of a canceled or at least partially canceled NFL season coming, who would I pay attention to if they decided to follow Edwards' lead and take up boxing? (Tom Zbikowski actually boxed as an amateur. Not the greatest amateur competition, but he did really box. He does have an idea what he's doing. As harsh as I may have seemed in the past about Zbikowski, Edwards bugs me about 38584% more.)

Also keep in mind I don't think any of these guys can box. I'm just bored, to be honest.

1. Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers

Polamalu rules. He's aggressive, he hits like hell, and he chases dudes down constantly. Plus he's Samoan, and those dudes can fight, in my experience.

2. Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants

Jacobs already manages junior welterweight contender Kendall Holt, so why not? I always did wonder about Jacobs, who is 6'4" and a solid 260 pounds, in a boxing sense, because people like to do that whole, "Today's best heavyweights play football and basketball," and while I guess maybe I agree to a point, there's that whole issue of how well they get punched in the face.

3. Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens

Mostly I'd like to see someone punch Ray Lewis in the face. Legally. It's not going to be me, so it should be a pro boxer. Lewis recently said crime rates will go up if the NFL season is canceled. I was personally intrigued to find that there's a choice between watching football and robbing old ladies or the like.

4. Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins

Well he's gotten pretty bad at football, so maybe he should cash out with a grudge match against Bernard Hopkins. McNabb should be allowed to wear his helmet.

5. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

I imagine Newton would pull a Juergen Braehmer on every scheduled fight with some fake injury. He might be the fakest person I've ever seen, and he's another guy I'd just like to see get whomped on the head. Just once, that's all. I don't want him to be beaten badly or anything.

Actually, I'm lying. I would rather see boxers box, and football players play football. I'm not jonesing to see Chad Dawson suit up at WR for the Lions, either.

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