New York, NY, April 8, 2010 – It's doubtful that, among his career ambitions, that colorful boxing brawler Ricardo Mayorga has ever aspired to become an astronaut. But trainer Howard Davis Jr., gold medalist and Val Barker Cup (Outstanding Boxer) winner from the 1976 Montreal Olympics, thinks that on Saturday, May 15 in Fayettville, N.C., the former world champion from Nicaragua will soon have an interplanetary experience.
Davis, currently in California for a 10 week stint with MMA superstar Chuck Liddell, has bridged the gap between boxing and the various disciplines of MMA over the past seven years. He's also often trained Mayorga's PPV main event opponent and UFC veteran Din Thomas.
Davis, who was such a brilliant amateur that he defeated the great Aaron Pryor for the 132 pound slot on the awesome USA '76 ring squad (along with Sugar Ray Leonard and Michael and Leon Spinks), thinks that Thomas is going to lay waste to Mayorga and ruin the boxer's MMA debut at the Crown Coliseum.
“Listen, I know Thomas and I know Mayorga. Ricardo has trained in the American Top Team Gym in Florida,” the Glen Cove, NY, native said. “When Din takes this guy down, it is over.
“If Din takes Ricardo down, and he will when he wants to do that, then what does Mayorga do then? It's going to be like he's just crash landed on a different planet and there is no water.” Tickets are on sale for this historic event which many observers thought was merely being talked about. The tickets are reasonably priced at $25, $40, $50, $75, $150.
Given the Fayetteville area's strong military and ex-military population, of course there is a military discount of $5 per ticket with the exception of the $150 tickets.
Tickets can now be purchased at the Crown Box Office 910-438-4100 and by calling Ticketmaster Charge 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.
WORLD’S COLLIDE: MAYORGA VS THOMAS tops an action- packed card loaded with MMA stars. Also featured on the card will be former PRIDE and EliteXC star Murilo “Ninja” Rua, the 2009 Abu Dhabi Combat Club 88-kilogram and Absolute division champion, Braulio Estima, undefeated MMA fighter Rick Hawn, UFC/StrikeForce/Bodog/EliteXC/Sengoku veteran Nick “The Goat” Thompson, and Eduardo Pamplona will bring his explosive, well-rounded style to the Shine cage as well. The show is taking place at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, NC, and will be beamed on PPV.
The event will be distributed in High Definition and will be available in both English and Spanish (where available). The MMA showdown will be distributed live on Pay Per View on cable and satellite in the United States and Canada by MultiVision Media, Inc. on Saturday, May 15 at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT.
There will be a 30 minute countdown show prior to the live event at 8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT. The suggested retail price for the MMA showdown is $29.95.
According to Davis, who won two National AAU and one World Championship title after beginning to box at the tender age of 15, believes that Mayorga has made a mistake that most boxers moving over to MMA make.
“James Toney, Mayorga, all these others guys…they think the standup fighting, the striking part is so much of it. And they're so wrong because the striking part is like 15 percent with the rest being 85 percent. Besides all that, Din is a pretty good boxer and he is so elusive, so good defensively that I like to call him 'The Ghost.'
“MMA has become a wonderful sport with all these various disciplines. Maybe it started out with just Gracie and Brazilian jiu-jitsu but now it incorporates so many skills, so many disciplines and I guess guys like Toney and Mayorga just don't get it,” Davis said.
Why would the physically strong Mayorga, who is built like a bull, be so much at a disadvantage when Thomas takes him down to the mat?
“You take a guy like Thomas, he can be so destructive then. I think they will be fighting at about 155 pounds but I have seen guys in MMA, who have great aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, who are so strong on the ground. I've seen 140 pound guys throw their opponents around like rag dolls,” Davis said.
Ironically, it was two time former world heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs, who had some experience in K1 fighting in Japan, who invited the heretofore strictly boxing man Davis into the world of MMA.
“Shannon had me over to American Top Team and I got deeply involved in it,” Davis said. “I have seen the sport of MMA, I've seen it evolve and it's been amazing, really.”
Davis thinks Mayorga's less than intense training habits will hurt him against the highly disciplined Thomas as well.
“When he was at my gym,” Davis said, “I saw Ricardo train and then go outside to smoke cigarettes. I saw him doing this and I mean I just said, 'Wow!'”
Davis wonders why Mayorga and Toney think they can be successful in MMA without any solid foundation to build on.
“Look, I started in amateur boxing in 1973 so when the Olympics came around I had a base of experience. I had 125 amateur bouts and that held me in good stead when I became a pro boxer. I had a foundation,” Davis said.
Besides magazine cover boy and UFC favorite Liddell, Davis has also trained former WEC Bantamweight Champion Mike Thomas Brown, UFC welterweight contender “The Pitbull” Thiago Alves, and UFC main-eventer Thiago Silva.
“Once Ricardo is on the ground, then comes the leg-lock, the armbar and the chokes so I just can't see him handling an all around, veteran guy like Din Thomas. Only way Mayorga wins, really, is to get lucky with a punch.”