Just when you thought the upcoming Ben Askren vs. Jake Paul boxing match on April 17th had already hit peak cringe, it’s now emerged that former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir is going to box former light-heavyweight champion boxer Antonio Tarver in the co-main event of the same card.
To be fair, unlike Askren, Mir at least some basic idea of how to box and does carry power in his hands, but realistically the 41-year-old’s biggest strength has always been his world-class ground game and there’s never been anything to suggest that he belongs in the ring with an elite-level boxer.
That’s especially true at this twilight stage in his long career where Mir has lost eight of his last 11 fights in the sport he actually knows best.
The latter end of that run saw him lose three fights in a row via strikes, with Mark Hunt KO’ing him in the first round, Fedor Emelianenko TKO’ing him in 48 seconds and then being forced to tap out to punches against Jay Ayala after suffering a broken jaw.
One of the only things in Mir’s favor heading into this boxing match-up is that Tarver is now 52-years-old and hasn’t fought in over five-and-a-half years.
That being said, Tarver still appears to be in good shape and it’s worth noting that unlike Mir he retired off the back of a six-fight unbeaten stretch, despite being well into his 40’s by that time.
In fact, Tarver hung up his gloves having never having been stopped inside the distance during a 39-fight career that saw him win multiple light-heavyweight titles and engage in classic battles with Roy Jones Jr along with others like Bernard Hopkins, Glen Johnson and Chad Dawson.
By way of contrast, while 5 of Mir’s 19 career victories came by way of strikes, he proved to be rather chinny and so 10 of his 13 losses were by either by KO or TKO.
Nevertheless, Mir is a fighter at heart and he couldn’t resist the urge to test himself against Tarver.
“I am a competitor,” Mir said in a statement to announce the fight. “I have been all my life. I take on challenges to grow and better myself as a person. I have always wanted to test myself in the boxing ring so when this opportunity arose I jumped on it. See you April 17th @AntonioTarver#MirTarver,”
Mir then expanded upon his decision to take the fight on his own PhoneBoothFighting podcast.
““It’s very reminiscent of my first UFC fight,” Mir said. “I think I’m obviously being brought in on the B-side. I’m known in MMA more for my grappling than my striking, so I think it’s something where I bring a name, but maybe not dangerous to him on the surface. So hopefully, I’ll train hard and prove them wrong. I’m not going to make it any illusions about it. This is probably a safe warmup fight in their minds in what their corners are looking at.”