Tim Sylvia set to box Ray Mercer, Affliction bout possible
by John Morgan on Feb 25, 2009 at 6:55 pm ET
In his first action since a July 2008 loss to Fedor Emelianenko, former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia will face Ray Mercer in the main event of Adrenaline MMA III.
First reported as a possible bout by Fiveouncesofpain.com, Sylvia's manager and Adrenaline MMA promoter Monte Cox today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) that Sylvia vs. Mercer will be headlining the May 30 event at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.
While first pitched as an MMA contest, Sylvia (24-5 MMA, 0-0 Boxing) will instead turn in his open-fingered gloves for a pair of boxing mitts.
"I was doing Tim Sylvia against Ray Mercer as a headliner," Cox said. "First I was doing it in MMA. We changed and thought it would be a lot more interesting in boxing."
Mercer (36-7-1 Boxing) began boxing professionally in 1989. Now 47-years-old, Mercer last fought in a majority decision win over Richel Hersisia (30-2 boxing).
"In boxing, who knows who is going to win," Cox said. "Mercer just beat a guy who is 30-2. He was ranked fifth in Europe and Mercer just beat him."
Mercer fought Wladimir Klitschko for the WBO heavyweight title in 2002 and lost via sixth-round TKO. "Merciless" has gone 6-2 since that bout, including four wins by knockout or TKO.
"You just have no idea who is going to win," Cox said. "I don't care if he's 47 (years old). He's been boxing his whole life, won an Olympic gold medal, went to split decision with Lennox Lewis. Believe me, he's going to hit hard. Tim's going to have a hard time."
Mercer is best-known by many MMA fans for his June 2007 submission loss in an exhibition bout with Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson.
Despite having one event remaining on a broadcast contract with HDNet, Adrenaline's third event will not be shown on the network that carried the organization's first two outings.
"It won't be on HDNet," Cox said. "I still have a deal left. But (HDNet Fights CEO) Andrew Simon decided that he didn't want to do that show."
Instead, Cox will look to broadcast the event with an alternate partner.
"I've got another group that put together a deal with me where it would be available in 55 million homes and another one that's up to 70 million homes," Cox said. "I'll do one of those two."
Cox said that there were not yet any other finalized bouts for the card, but that he plans on Adrenaline MMA III being "a good East Coast card."
As for Sylvia, "The Maine-iac" may also be looking to break his recent two-fight slide in a potential return to MMA action at Affliction's as-yet-unannounced third show.
Sources close to the bout have indicated to MMAjunkie.com that Paul Buentello could be in line for Sylvia. Cox said the bout was possible, but that Sylvia's participation would depend on the date Affliction elects to hold its event.
"I've been in discussion with them for that," Cox said. "A lot depends on what the date ends up being. Obviously we're doing May 30. If [Affliction's next show] is in July, we're definitely interested."