Following what many would consider the biggest fight of the century between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, the comparisons between boxing and mixed martial arts were flung into the spotlight, with each side arguing who would win in the varying styles.
Mayweather defeated McGregor in the 10th round by technical knockout, which was fairly expected. McGregor’s boxing skills, while impressive, were not nearly as developed as Mayweather’s, thus sparking the argument that McGregor would not last a few rounds in the octagon with Mayweather. Though few people can argue against that, it’s important to note the differences between the two sports.
MMA is exactly as the same suggests; a mixed combination of martial arts incorporated into one fight. Boxing is strictly a punching sport, whereas MMA utilizes punching, kicking, elbow and knee strikes, wrestling, and submissions. Depending on the style an MMA fighter primarily uses, more of these may be utilized than the rest. For example, Muay Thai is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous martial arts today, and uses a combination of stand-up striking and wrestling; a popular style in the world of mixed martial arts.
Another key difference between the two sports is the type of glove worn. MMA gloves are typically just 0.1 kilograms and are very flexible, providing every individual finger movement. Boxing gloves are much more cushioned, and can weigh anywhere between 0.3 and 0.5 kg. Because of the consistent punching and demand of the hands, these need to protect much more than standard MMA gloves.
In boxing, aside from a punching-only sport, fighters are not allowed to punch below the waist, hit a fallen opponent, or perform any type of takedown move. Skill in this report relies solely on one’s ability to punch effectively, in addition to other aspects like endurance, agility, etc. Comparing this to the many facets of MMA, it would appear as though MMA fighters have the upperhand. However, in a strictly boxing match, they will almost generally be outmatched, given they spend much of their training on areas other than boxing.
Overall, the athleticness and styles of training required in each sport can differ greatly, and are often difficult to compare. In the case of Mayweather vs. McGregor, the outcome was as expected; the better boxer won. In a mixed martial arts setting, there is very little doubt that a fighter not well versed in the nuances of that sport would come out on top. But, at the end of the day, professional boxers and MMA fighters devote all of their time and effort into perfecting the sport they wish to succeed in. To compare the two is relatively unfair.
What would happen if Mayweather entered the MMA octagon and the tables were turned? It is likely no one will ever know, but it is reasonable to assume the reverse scenario would likely yield a reverse outcome.