Ken Shamrock has been chosen as the next opponent for The YouTube Heavyweight MMA Champion of the World, Kimbo Slice, and the response in the fightgame web-o-sphere has been mixed.
Some understand that Slice (3-0) is a work in progress, and taking too large a leap in quality of opposition isn't a wise course of action. Others, more vocal and numerous, point out that Shamrock (26-13-2) has lost five straight fights, and has not won a bout since 2004. Both sides make good points, but if were to put on the promoter hat, I would grab the Shamrock bout, for the record.
Slice, age 34, showed ample holes in his game in his last outing, when he headlined the May 31st CBS/Elite XC show against James Thompson. He gassed out pretty severely in the third round, and had some worried moments on the ground, but he stopped the Brit 38 seconds into the third round.
Shamrock, even at age 44 1/2, is of a higher caliber foe than Thompson, though it is entirely possible that his chin has permanent cracks in it that Slice could exploit quickly. The man formerly known as the World's Most Dangerous Man has succumbed to strikes in each of those five straight losses, so it figures that Slice will play to his strength, his heavy-duty hands, and look to take out Shamrock from second one.
The fight will unfold on CBS on Oct. 4, and will take place at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. TSS spoke to Elite XC VP Jared Shaw, the son of boxing promoter Gary Shaw, who a month ago was shifted out of his role as Elite XC president to a consultant role. The younger Shaw defended the choice of Shamrock as the fourth opponent in Slice's young MMA career.
"Ken Shamrock one-hundred percent has a chance to beat Kimbo," said Shaw, age 28. "On the ground, the fight favors Shamrock. He's different from James Thompson in that if he has Slice in his grasp, he can transition to a submission, an ankle lock or whatever."
As far as his losing streak, Shaw points out that two losses came at the hands of the younger lion Tito Ortiz, and he may have been looking past "Buzz" Berry (March 8 KO1 loss) at a Kimbo fight. "Ken wants a storybook ending to his career," Shaw said. "He doesn't want to go out a loser of six in a row."
Kimbo's YouTube rival Sean Gannon was in the mix to get the Shamrock slot, along with Brett Rogers, but the Boston cop wanted too much dough, Shaw said. "If I told you that Gannon was wanting north of $200,000, we'd say he was all the way into Greenland," said Shaw with a chuckle. "His name came up but he priced himself out of it." Rogers (a 6-5, 270 pounder out of Minnesota with an 8-0 record) is being set up to fight the 6-2, 250 pounder Slice, maybe on pay-per-view, early in 2009.
Shaw is on record as understanding that the pay per view model doesn't work for building fans for the future, and has seen what it has done to the boxing fan base, which is aged and shrinking daily. Here's hoping, as a young promoter of the future, he figures out ways to monetize his content, without soaking the fans, and ignoring the need to draw eyeballs with non-PPV programs.
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