GUIDA VS. PACQUIAO
In terms of the matchup, I think that this is pretty decent, considering that you'd logically want a fighter who's very good at the ground to even up the odds against the champion boxer, who'll most probably dominate on the feet, similar to how the Couture / Toney fight is set up. Guida's an excellent wrestler, so that means he'll have no problem taking Pacquiao down. The fight can even up from there.
But, and absolutely no offense to Guida here, since I think that he's a fantastic fighter and actually one of my favorites, in terms of relevance, why not go for the bigger name in the lightweight division? Manny Pacquiao's one of the absolute biggest names in boxing right now, so why not match him up against someone in the division with a similar standing?
That's why I came up with BJ Penn vs. Manny Pacquiao.
No offense either to the current Lightweight champ, Frankie Edgar, though. But if we're just talking about name and brand recognition, BJ honestly has much more of that despite not being champ anymore. In this case, the name recognition matches up more evenly. Plus, like the Couture / Toney fight, if this is an official UFC bout, then no title would be on the line, which would make it a bit more appealing to the UFC fighter.
Again, like the Couture / Toney matchup, this match is more evened out since one is a fantastic stand up fighter, while the other is excellent on the ground. The thing is, BJ still has to get close to take Manny down, and while Manny most definitely will not be able to effectively defend BJ's takedowns, he will counter them with all his might. Now, I'm a big supporter of BJ Penn, so I'm not just writing this out because of my nationality, but I'm pretty sure Pacquiao's speed beats BJ's. So, while BJ's going in for the takedown, Pacquaio's gonna throw some heavy leather. And with those tiny gloves? Man, that's gotta hurt!
Okay, say BJ doesn't get immediately knocked out, and manages to take Manny to the ground. He can easily submit him from there since Manny wouldn't be skilled enough on the ground to counter BJ's Jiu Jitsu. BJ can trap Manny's arms for a while to recover from whatever blow he got hit with, then slap on the most convenient, fastest submission he can go for, ending the fight within the first few minutes of the first round.
BUT WHAT DO I REALLY THINK?
That's a pretty realistic prediction, if I do say so, but do I really think that's what's going to go down? I love BJ Penn, I really do. I was as shocked as any Penn worshiper when Frankie took the title from him, but when I mentioned that Manny Pacquiao has greater speed than BJ, I don't mean by just a small margin. I mean by a very large margin. In this case, I think that Pacquiao can throw several punches while BJ's taking him down and hurt him enough to shrug him off. He can go for the kill immediately after. That's what I think will happen in this fight.
NEVER GONNA HAPPEN
Forrest Griffinwas also on the same Inside MMA episode, and he mentioned what unfortunately is the reality of it all. This is literally never going to happen. Forrest's primary citation would be Pacquiao's purse. Manny Pacquiao earns $10 - 20 million per fight these days. BJ earns $100-200,000 (both exclusive of bonuses, sponsorships, etc). In this case, Manny Pacquiao would have to have a pretty freaking large motivator to convince him to take a fight like this. BJ obviously wouldn't need much convincing, since he could very well have one of the greatest boxers of all time on his resume, but Pacquiao has a lot to lose here, since MMA isn't really his game, and his purse would predictably be only a fraction of what he normally earns.
What's way more realistic is the fight that's already scheduled to take place: Couture vs. Toney. Both of the fighters have been in their respective sports a long time, and have achieved many things. Both of them, again, are already in their 40's, which is usually considered very old in the fight game. Combine both of these and you could very well conclude that neither of them has nothing much to lose. And that's why this fight is taking place.
Penn vs. Pacquiao is a lovely thought, though, and one that I hope could still happen. I would think that, with all of Dana White's crafty business savvy, he could somehow make this impossible fight a reality. I just hope he pulls it off before BJ and Manny are in their mid-40's.
So what do you think? Do you think my proposed matchup better represents MMA vs. Boxing or do you have another in mind? Do you think that something like this is at all remotely possible is it a true impossibility?