Black Belt

BACK IN THE HEADLINES: BOXING VS. MARTIAL ARTS

- — Robert W. Young, Editor-in-Chief

The wake of the boxing bout in which Floyd Mayweather Jr. took on Conor 0F*UHJRU LV FRQWLQXLQJ WR ZDVK XS RQ WKH EHDFK HYHQ WKRXJK WKH ÀJKW took place on August 26, 2017 — more than three months before this issue of Black Belt went to print. More than anything else, it seems to be precipitat­ing talk of other big matchups in a way the Milo Savage-Gene LeBell ÀJKW LQ DQG WKH $UW -LPPHUVRQ 5R\FH *UDFLH PDWFK LQ WKH 8)& QHYHU seemed to.

The big bout was won by Mayweather, of course, with a 10th-round TKO. No VXUSULVH WKHUH UHDOO\ JLYHQ WKH FKDPS·V UHFRUG JRLQJ LQWR LW +RZHYHU PRVW pundits give McGregor great credit for nearly going the distance against the FKDPS DQG DOO WKUHH MXGJHV KDG WKH PL[HG PDUWLDO DUWLVW ZLQQLQJ WKH ÀUVW URXQG

Not long afterward, another “celebrity death match” started making headlines, and it immediatel­y got the martial arts community talking. It all started when retired heavyweigh­t boxer George Foreman, 68, announced in October that he was challengin­g aikido expert and movie star Steven Seagal, 65, to a 10-rounder in which any technique short of weapons would be allowed. When I interviewe­d Damon Gilbert for his feature in this issue, the subject naturally came up.

´:KHQ ,·P ,·P JRLQJ WR KDYH HQRXJK FKDOOHQJHV ³ WKH\·UH FDOOHG KLJK cholestero­l, high blood pressure and the stress of two teenagers probably being PDUULHG DQG KDYLQJ P\ JUDQGNLGV ³ VR , ZRXOGQ·W ZDQW DQ\ DGGLWLRQDO FKDOOHQJHV DW WKDW DJH μ KH VDLG ODXJKLQJ ´%XW LW FHUWDLQO\ ZRXOG EH D XQLTXH ÀJKW ZLWK D SXQFKHU DQG DQ DLNLGR VW\OLVW ,·G SUREDEO\ ZDWFK LW ULJKW DIWHU , VDZ Under Siege and cooked some chicken on my Foreman Grill.”

$IWHU D IHZ PRPHQWV RI LQWURVSHFW­LRQ *LOEHUW JRW VHULRXV ´$OWKRXJK ,·P YHU\ FXULRXV , KRSH LW GRHVQ·W KDSSHQ μ KH VDLG ´%RWK DUH LFRQV LQ WKHLU ÀHOGV 7KHUH·V QR QHHG IRU WKHP WR ÀJKW DW WKHLU DJH , GRQ·W WKLQN LW·V DERXW WKH PRQH\ )RUHPDQ must do well with the grill, and Seagal has made all those movies. I hope neither one of them needs the money. They both have been there and done that. They have nothing to prove to anybody.”

Gilbert and I, both being a few years past “young buck” status, then began WDONLQJ DERXW WKH SRWHQWLDO KHDOWK FRQVHTXHQF­HV RI KDYLQJ ROGHU PHQ ÀJKW IXOO FRQWDFW )RUHPDQ VHHPV WR KDYH D EUDLQ WKDW·V VWLOO ZRUNLQJ ULJKW GHVSLWH undoubtedl­y having absorbed a ton of punches over the years, and Seagal remains as articulate as ever — which means both should consider themselves lucky, I said, recalling the plight of Muhammad Ali.

“Exactly,” Gilbert said. “With the concussion­s and the long-term effects you can VHH ODWHU LQ OLIH LW·V VFDU\ μ

Not long after Gilbert and I chatted about that possible matchup, another one KLW WKH QHZV 5HWLUHG ER[HU 2VFDU 'H /D +R\D SURFODLPHG LQ 1RYHPEHU WKDW KH FRXOG NQRFN RXW 0F*UHJRU LQ WZR URXQGV 'H /D +R\D LV WZR GHFDGHV younger than those scrappy seniors, so the health concerns would be reduced, WKRXJK QRW HOLPLQDWHG ,·P SUHWW\ VXUH KRZHYHU WKDW WKH JXDUDQWHHG PLOOLRQ WKDW 0D\ZHDWKHU UHFHLYHG DQG HYHQ 0F*UHJRU ·V UHSRUWHG PLQLPXP RI million, would be more than enough to override any worries. The amounts are VR VWDJJHULQJ WKDW QR GRXEW ZH·OO EH KHDULQJ IURP RWKHU IRUPHU ÀJKWHUV ZKR DUH looking to cash in no matter the cost.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States