Like everyone who loves kickboxing and mixed martial arts, I love watching Melvin Manhoef fight. There's something so primal about his style: He's not interested in strategy and tactics and defense, he's just interested in swinging wildly for a knockout -- and if he gets knocked out in the process, so be it.
But no one can fight forever, and a fighter with Manhoef's style probably has a shorter shelf life than most. And watching Manhoef get knocked out by Gokhan Saki in a kickboxing match at the It's Showtime event in Amsterdam on Saturday, I started to wonder if we're nearing the end of Manhoef's career.
The Saki fight was Manhoef's second of 2010. The first was also a knockout loss, to Robbie Lawler at Strikeforce Miami. I was at that fight, and it was one of my personal favorite fights I've ever attended. Manhoef was battering Lawler's legs with kicks, but as he so often does, he left himself open when he went in for the kill, and Lawler landed a punch that left Manhoef unconscious on the canvas.
Manhoef has long been one of the most active fighters in combat sports. In 2009 he had five kickboxing matches and two MMA fights. In 2008 he had four MMA fights and two kickboxing matches. Fighting is what he loves to do, and he does a lot of it.
But Manhoef has had two fights in 2010, and suffered knockout losses in both, and I can't help but wonder if it's time for him to take a little time off and retool. I love watching Manhoef fight, but I'd like to see him stop getting knocked out.