Just days away from one of the biggest and most hyped fights in his impressive career, is Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson in the right place both physically and mentally for Rashad Evans?
Rampage claims to be in the best shape of his life, but question marks remain.
Come Saturday night the former champion will have spent almost 15 months out of the cage, including several months shooting the A-Team movie. Ring rust is almost inevitable under those circumstances, and even Rampage himself acknowledges that fact, albeit while trying to make light of the situation.
“I was ring-rusty against Keith Jardine and I may be in this fight in Las Vegas. That gives Rashad a tiny chance. Like 0.05 per cent. But don’t go crazy and bet on Rashad,” he tells UK paper, The Daily Record.
During last night’s Primetime show it was revealed that Jackson was 251lbs prior to his training camp, though now he is down to 221lbs as he approaches fight night.
It’s never a good thing to get that out of shape during the off-season. As Rampage himself recently said, time is the most precious thing in the world, and essentially he will have had to waste valuable time during his training camp simply gaining back basic fitness and losing excess weight.
A big doubt leading into this fight is whether Rampage is really still interested in being a fighter. Many have taken his mean, sullen look and attitude in the past week as proof that he is ‘in the zone’ and is 100% focused on defeating Rashad.
I question that fact. The truth is that he has been in a bad mood since his bust-up with Dana White last year when he left to film the A-Team movie rather than fight Evans.
Since then he has rarely spoken to the media, but in occasional interview in the UK, such as back in December and later in February he has shown a similarly moody attitude, and some of his comments don’t exactly inspire confidence in his frame of mind.
That doesn’t exactly sound like the thoughts of someone who’s 100% committed to the task that lies ahead of them.
In the end I can’t say for sure whether he is 100% ready physically and mentally. Based on the evidence above I have my doubts. If you were to ask me the same question about Rashad Evans, I’d say he was ready without any hesitation.
Rampage unquestionably has knockout power so if he connects cleanly in the opening rounds then his cardio may never even become a factor. His recent ‘angry at the world’ attitude could also prove to be a positive rather than a negative if he can channel it in the right way.
Relying on these factors is a major risk though. A fighter who is fueled by his emotions often tires quickly, and if your cardio is questionable in the first place then that can be a dangerous mix.
Whether this turns out to be a key factor or not remains to be seen, but it will certainly be an interesting aspect of the fight to keep an eye out for on Saturday night.