Josh Gross
Tuesday October 14th, 2008

From Kimbo (you didn't think we were done with that just yet, did you?) to Saturday's UFC card in the UK, readers offer a wide array of thoughts in this week's mailbag.

Get off Kimbo's back. You in the media hyped him up, and when he fails you will be the ones to crush him under your pens. -- David, Wilmington, Del.

Failure under the weight of expectations crushed Slice -- not the media doing their job. If there's blame to go around, it belongs to EliteXC. It's the one that hyped the 34-year-old brawler to the point that anything less than a Mike Tyson-like performance (circa 1988) would be unacceptable to fans.

Will Gina Carano ever fight someone her own size? Or will EliteXC -- not wanting another star exposed -- keep matching her with women half her size and, somehow, call that a fight? We know she can beat little, inexperienced waifs, but we have no idea if she can actually fight. She has credentials from the past non-MMA action, but no real MMA fights. Just like Mr. Slice. -- Jon, Saint Cloud, Minn.

Carano's fought tough opponents, but for the most part they've been undersized or a favorable style matchup. Against Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, Carano won't have the advantage of being the larger woman, and it's debatable she's the better striker. It's a fight on equal footing, which should provide Carano the kind of test fans have wanted to see for some time.

Your idea of mixing boxers with mixed martial artists for two or three fights makes absolutely no sense. First of all, I don't see why top-level boxers or MMA fighters would even agree to it. As you said, the fighters would most likely win their respective disciplines. Why would a boxer take three fights -- two of which he should lose -- rather than taking three boxing matches because boxing generally pays more than MMA? Roy Jones Jr. said he wouldn't fight Anderson Silva in a MMA match even if Silva boxed him.

Secondly, I don't see how it would even be good for boxing. If a hardcore boxing fan who has yet to accept MMA tunes in to see his favorite fighter get whooped in a MMA match, I don't think he will fall in love with the sport. When your guy gets beat by someone representing something you don't like already, you aren't going to suddenly fall in love with it. I believe the same is true for MMA fans watching their fighters in boxing matches.

Finally, your idea that the third match would be in MMA wouldn't really fly with the boxer. It would not be fair to him (or her) to make only one fight in their discipline and two fights they are supposed to lose. -- Dean, Cooper City, Fla.

Why would anyone do it? Money. But, hey, when I wrote the thing I conceded it might be stupid. (My wonderful editor, clearly looking out for my well being, cut the preemptive concession.) Anyhow, it seems Affliction and Golden Boy agree with you -- the first card, set for late January, is sans boxing.

Would you say fighter of the year so far is Gegard Mousasi? Mate's unknown to most people, but he should be in the top five middleweights. -- Sanjiv Kumar, London

Tournaments can provide a quick path to credibility as far as rankings and end-of-the-year honors. Mousasi's DREAM tourney win was nice, but it's a stretch to suggest he's better than Nathan Marquart, Yushin Okami or other middleweights near the top five. Despite six wins in as many fights in '08, I don't think Mousasi's there yet. His success, however, should be enough for people to take notice of him as he challenges the division's best next year.

Do you think that there is a fighter in the UFC at middleweight that can beat Anderson Silva? I don't. -- Paul Crawford, Dallas, TX

Patrick Cote gets the next crack on Oct. 25, and it would be a stunner if he could pull out a victor. Cote, one of Silva's weaker challengers since "Spider" became UFC champ at 185 pounds, should be dispatched without much trouble. Cote can't out-strike Silva and he's not the kind of fighter who will wrestle the Brazilian.

If anyone's going to overtake Silva, look at guys with a controlling, grappling-first style. Some believe Travis Lutter exposed a weakness when he fought the current pound-for-pound king in February 2007. There are better wrestlers and better submission fighters in the division than Lutter, and they could give Silva trouble, though that's hard to imagine right now.

Please breakdown Chris Leben versus Michael Bisping. How do you see this fight playing out? I think Leben's power and experience should be enough to take out Bisping, whom I believe to be overrated. -- Frank Allen, Manhattan Beach, Calif.

You're right in saying Leben holds power and experience advantages over Bisping, who is being groomed to spearhead UFC's push in the UK. Leben also owns a significant edge in the level of competition he's fought. Yet the Brit, who attacks like a hurricane rains, enjoys a great deal of momentum and he should use his relentless pace to counter Leben's brutishness. I see a finish in the third or a points-win for "The Count."

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