Let me make an analogy on the difference between boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) by comparing rallying and Formula One racing.
A lot has been said in social media, ranging from fight sites, blogs to news organizations, on why Floyd Mayweather Jr. will beat Conor McGregor on August 26, and vice versa. Those believing McGregor can beat Mayweather point to the Irish fighter’s edge in strength and size, while those who see the American boxer winning believe McGregor lacks superior boxing skills.
From where I stand, I still see Mayweather winning, because it is impossible at this point for McGregor to acquire the minimum level of elite boxing skills over the supposed two-month training period for the fight. In short, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
There are even some personalities, like Ultimate Fighting Championship contender Chael Sonnen and martial arts start Michael Jay White, saying Mayweather actually has the edge in punching power against McGregor. Just watch the commentaries of Sonnen and White over Youtube; they both make sense.
While it is true that an MMA fighter can easily beat a boxer inside the octagon, an MMA fighter can also be annihilated inside the ring. Skills wise, an MMA fighter needs to acquire more than just striking, while a boxer concentrates on learning the four basic punches in boxing and throwing them in combinations, among others.
Such a comparison made me contemplate on the difference between rallying and Formula One (and even the IndyCar series in the United States).
Today, F1 remains the premiere open-wheel car race series in the world, with the top teams investing hundreds of millions of dollars for their crew, equipment, cars and drivers. The same goes for IndyCar that, however, has a lower level of investment.
F1 and IndyCar race machines boast of power outputs of over 700 horsepower, and these machines race in enclosed or street tracks that are asphalted. Because these machines are raced along tracks that guarantee grip, F1 and IndyCar machines can have so much power from their engines.
The F1 and IndyCar racecar driver must primarily be skilled in two facets: taking those high-speed corners; and taking those straights at high speed without ruining the engine (or crashing their car).
In rallying, a driver must not only have skills to take a corner or straight at high speed along asphalted or the tarmac; he must have another set of skills to take a race car along roads with loose gravel or even soil, which presents a different set of challenges.
But in motor sports history, F1 drivers making it big in the World Rally Championships and vice versa is still very rare. Only Kimi Raikkonen, who recently made a return to F1, and Carlos Reutmann, were able to score points in both F1 and WRC. Reutmann never won a WRC or F1 driver championship, while Raikonnen was the 2007 F1 driver champion but never won a WRC title.
The madness in F1 and IndyCar are the powerful machines that can only be tamed along asphalted roads; while the races in rallying along roads with loose gravel or soil are usually the most awaited portion of the competition; this is where spectacular crashes take place.
Now try making many-times F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton or any top driver in both F1 and IndyCar try their hands in WRC; they will be lucky just to score points. Now make a top WRC driver try his hand in F1 or IndyCar; they will also be lucky enough to score points.
Now try putting a boxer in the octagon against; he will likely get annihilated in less than a minute. Now, put an MMA fighter inside the ring; the conclusion is foregone.
Anyway, I am still going to watch Mayweather-McGregor if only to break away from some mundane activities or routines in my life.