Slice vs. Abbott could be passing of the torch
By Anthony Malakian
Special to PA SportsTicker
Some will call it a passing of a torch. Others will deride it as a freak show.
In either case, whatever your opinion may be, no one can deny that when Kimbo Slice steps into the cage to face David “Tank” Abbott on February 16, it’s going to be fun for as long as it lasts which probably won’t be long.
The Elite XC main event should provide an abundance of fireworks. Tank is the original bad boy of MMA. Fans either loved him or detested him because of the reckless way the pitfighter would attack the man standing across from him and the disdain he would show toward his opponents.
Many liken Slice, whose birth name is Kevin Ferguson, to Abbott. He fights with a similar fury, even though as Kevin Ferguson, Slice, who is 33 years old, is a devotedly religious father of six.
While most think that the fight will be over in a minute or two with Slice’s arm being raised at the end, there will still be some intriguing storylines to look for.
First is the experience factor. Slice has one professional MMA fight, an exhibition (but all-out) fight against former boxer Ray Mercer, and a long resume of street fights, which have made him a YouTube.com legend.
Abbott, 42, is a veteran of 23 fights, with a record of 10-13. The reason few give Abbott a shot at beating Slice is that he is 3-7 since 1998, with all seven losses coming by way of knockout, stoppage or submission.
While Abbott is well past whatever prime he might have had, he has been on the big stage numerous times before. Whether or not Slice can handle the pressure of being a main eventer will be seen.
The second question is will Kimbo try to knock Tank out or take down the 250-plus pounder and submit him?
Prior to Slice’s pounding Bo Cantrell to submission in November, the 6-2, 250-pounder fought former WBO heavyweight champion Mercer in an exhibition bout at Cage Fury Fighting Championship 5. Slice submitted Mercer with a guillotine choke just over a minute into the first round.
Instead of a free-swinging brawl, Slice showed his MMA skills, pressed Mercer into the cage, eventually took him down and got the tapout.
Fans are going to want to see Kimbo stand toe-to-toe with Abbott. So the question becomes does he give the crowd what they lust for or do the smart thing and submit Abbott?
Comparisons to Tank may be unfair. He is after all working diligently with MMA-legend Bas Rutten to fine tune his skills. Abbott, throughout his career, chose to spend more time in the local pub than work on his craft.
But sports, and this is especially true of MMA and boxing, are show business. Being the next Tank Abbott sells. The proof will be to see how large the crowd is February 16 at the BankUnited Center in Miami.
Thus far, Slice has shown himself to be a willing heir apparent. But, again, that comparison might not be far because he has far more upside than the Huntington Beach rebel.