Frank Mir might be better suited for MMA.
The former two-time UFC heavyweight champion made his pro boxing debut Saturday against two-time cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham, and it proved to be unsuccessful, as he lost a six-round unanimous decision.
Cunningham fought for the first fight in nearly four years and showed no signs of any ring rust, outboxing Mir to win by the scores of 60-54, 60-54, 58-56.
If there was any moral victory for Mir (19-13 MMA), he went the full distance against the Philly fighter Cunningham (30-9-1, 13 KOs).
In the first round, Mir looked comfortable in the boxing ring. Although he had a big size advantage at 70 pounds, he didn’t use it. Cunningham leveraged his cunning boxing skills and all elements of the sweet science to keep Mir in an inferior position.
Cunningham shook Mir in the second with a left-right combo causing the MMA fighter to hold before any more damage was inflicted. It was the most impressive sequence of the stanza for Cunnigham. For the entire round, Cunningham kept Mir at bay with superior boxing skills.
Cunningham’s lessons continued in the third. Mir’s mouth started to open due to fatigue as the Navy veteran worked away, albeit at an infrequent rate.
Mir looked a bit better in the fourth, and did just enough work to win his first round of the fight by keeping the fight at close quarters.
Cunningham used his lead right hand in the fifth and sixth rounds to seal the deal for this thirtieth career win.
The crossover-combat sports attraction lacked sizzle and mostly fizzed. However, the most entertaining component of the fight was Oscar De La Hoya’s color commentary, who was more exuberant than any time in recent memory.
The fight took place on the undercard of the Jake Paul versus Ben Askren Triller Fight Club pay-per-view at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com