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Steve Cofield

Sylvia risks his and MMA's reputation in two weeks

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Tim Sylvia isn't the biggest fan favorite. What happens if he loses to 98-year-old Ray Mercer in their boxing match on June 13? A loss to Mercer, who claims he's really 48 but may be closer to 52, will forever brand Sylvia as the guy who embarrassed mixed martial artists. How will the casual sports and boxing fans react if they see Mercer beat a 33-year-old former UFC heavyweight champ just 26 months removed from his title reign? The ridicule will be unbearable.

Give him credit, he's confident it'll be an easy win. He's also got his next MMA fight scheduled just seven weeks later on Aug. 1 at Affliction 3 against Paul Buentello. He's risking a huge payday at Affliction 3 to try his hand at boxing. He can't be making more than $100,000 for this minor boxing card and yet he's probably due at least $300,000-$400,000 against Buentello. Sylvia made $800,000 for his 37-second loss to Fedor Emelianenko. He's almost certain to get a paycut this time around but it would less than 50-percent than his first Affliction fight?

If you think Sylvia is crazy for taking this risk wait until you hear what he said to Fighter's Only about boxing down the line:

"Its something I've always wanted to pursue and if it works out like I'd like for it too, I can switch over. I don't want to be done with MMA, but the money is a lot better in boxing."

The money is better? At the highest level, of course. With the downturn in the economy, boxers in the top 20-to-50 range are making 400-800k at best. Chad Dawson and Antonio Tarver just made a combined $1.8 million. So the money's not that big in boxing unless Sylvia thinks he's fighting a Klitschko brother. Which won't and shouldn't happen. Or will it:

"Yeah absolutely, I would love to fight some of the heavyweight champs, you know? I mean the paydays are ridiculous!" he says, adding with a laugh "$10 million paydays, that is just stupid money."

We have no idea if Sylvia can be a high level boxer. The guess is no chance. His hand speed is below average and his footwork is shaky and slow. Don't even worry about him against a top 10 fighter. Could Sylvia even be competitve with fellow giant Tye Fields, who is 6-foot-8, 270 pounds? I doubt it. Boxing is different animal. It was the same as saying Fields could win an MMA fight against Sylvia.

Plus Sylvia has at least 4-5 more MMA fights left at a minimum of $150,000 per fight in the states and possibly in Japan. Drop the fascination with boxing, it's a lose-lose proposition.

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