Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Kimbo Slice delays move to boxing
By Dan Rafael
Kimbo Slice's ballyhooed jump from mixed martial arts to professional boxing will be delayed until at least early next year, promoter Gary Shaw told ESPN.com on Wednesday night.
"Right now he's vacationing in Florida. He went home for Thanksgiving. His pro debut will be put off until at least the beginning of next year," Shaw said. "He needs more work and more sparring."
Slice, 36, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, was a backyard fighting sensation whose videos lit up the internet before he took up mixed martial arts in 2007 and became one of the sport's most recognizable faces despite his lack of experience.
He first fought in the now-defunct Elite XC promotion -- where Shaw was an executive -- before a brief stint with UFC, during which he participated in "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series. Slice lost his first bout on the show, an exhibition against eventual winner Roy Nelson. In May, he was stopped my Matt Mitrione in the second round at UFC 113 and was released from his contract the next day.
That's when Slice, who was 4-2 in MMA bouts, looked to make a name for himself in boxing's heavyweight division. But it's going to have to wait.
Slice, who is 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, has been training in Southern California with boxing trainer Clemente Medina and strength and conditioning coach Darryl Hudson, but Shaw said he is not sure how dedicated Slice is to boxing.
"I had him in California sparring and in real training with Clemente and Darryl Hudson. He was given all the tools, but he continues to get offers from MMA and offers to be in movies and it's hard to keep him focused on training camp," Shaw said. "That's the story more than anything else."
Shaw said he was not sure specifically when Slice would box professionally.
"I'm hoping he will turn pro," Shaw said. "People of all ages recognize him, so when you're with him it's like you are with a huge star, but he's never been in a boxing ring for a real fight. It's like with Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao -- when they walk into a room, they own the room. When Kimbo walks into a room, Kimbo owns the room and it's all about Kimbo.
"When everyone recognizes you and you believe you are a huge star, and you get all of these offers, it's hard to go to a gym and work like you're a rookie. But he's coming back to California to train after the holidays. Hopefully, he means after the Thanksgiving holiday."
When Slice announced he would pursue boxing in late August, he told ESPN New York, he was excited to fight.
"I feel like a baby all over again," he said at the time. "I'm thinking about this at night. I'm gonna be a problem in the heavyweight division. I'm going to be coming in with a bad demeanor. I want to see what it's like to break some ribs, break a jaw with one punch."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.