Both men are known for their punching power and combat skill. And, both believe their sport has made them better equipped to out-strike the other. On Saturday, June 13, in Birmingham, Ala., the world will see who's right ? and who's wrong.
"Adrenaline III: Bragging Rights" will pit Tim Sylvia, a two-time heavyweight champion for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and Ray Mercer, an Olympic gold medalist and former World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion against each other in a six-round boxing match.
"It's time that boxers learn that the guys in MMA are pretty good with their hands, too," said Sylvia, who sports a 24-5 record with 16 KO's. "This could open up a whole new career for me. I hope that beating Mercer will open the eyes of some boxing promoters." Mercer, who won Olympic gold in 1988, has a 36-7 record with 26 KO's. In his last bout, Mercer beat Richel Hersisia, who was 30-2.
"Sylvia is a big guy, but I've been boxing my whole life," Mercer said. "He's big, but that will only make it look that much better when I knock him out."
Sylvia is 6-foot-8 and will be approximately 275 pounds. Mercer is 6-1 and 250.
"This will be an intriguing test for both guys," Adrenaline CEO and President Monte Cox said. "It seems that if I ask 100 fans who they think will win I get 50 people telling me Tim and 50 people telling me Ray. As a matchmaker that's when you know you've done your job." Cox said a boxing match quiets the criticism of an MMA fighter relying on ground skills to submit a boxer ? as Kimbo Slice did when he battled Mercer.
"There's no ground to go to in this one," Cox said. "We are putting on the line who is the better striker. Period."
Because the undercard will be MMA matches Cox said the decision was to put the Sylvia-Mercer fight in a cage.
"It just makes sense on so many levels and it adds another twist to the main event," he said.
Adrenaline III will be held at the 19,000-seat Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.