Viking Ray Edwards Wins His Boxing Pro Debut [VIDEO]
In the end, Yoda had it right, at least when it comes to the sport of boxing.
Size matters not.
Oh, don't get me wrong: a smart fighter knows how to use any physical advantages over his opponent to gain an edge.
But in the end, very often the non fan/casual observer can't comprehend why a gigantic Adonis simply cannot send a smaller adversary to the moon with one clean shot.
Yet that's the sport: on one hand, you can have a seven foot, beautifully sculpted behemoth who cannot break wind with his strongest effort while on the other a seemingly anemic, skinny rail who can smash his fist through brick walls.
Punching power is a combination of genetics and perfectly timed delivery. As a rule, simply being huge and living in the weight room doesn't produce it.
Again, it's a little tricky to understand if you haven't spent decades following the sweet science, as most people have not.
Which is why I believe that there were audible boos and chants of "fight!" as Ray Edwards four round pro debut wore on at Grand Casino Hinckley on Friday night.
Before a packed house - including Kevin Williams and some other Minnesota Vikings teammates - Edwards scored a four round unanimous decision over TJ Gibson who was also making his pro debut.
Edwards would floor Gibson twice during the match, but again, at 6'5", 258 pounds and seemingly carved out of stone, many people expected Ray to emulate Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV" and simply destroy.
Instead, Edwards was tentative at times, using his jab instead of reigning down monstrous power shots and did take his own share of counter blows from his much smaller foe.
I've preached for years that no matter how incredibly an athlete might excel at any given sport, boxing is a whole different experience.
Edwards has been training very seriously for a good amount of time now but I think it's safe to say he discovered that on Friday night.
He showed some good stuff: he was consistent with his jab which is the single most important punch a fighter - especially a heavyweight - can have in his arsenal.
He kept his hands high, paced himself and didn't fight like he was the biggest kid on the block: I'm bigger, I'm stronger so I'm just gonna push you around.
I give him much credit for actually boxing, as it shows his trainer is schooling him and that he is taking the sport seriously (he has stated that if the NFL lockout continues, boxing indeed will become his full time occupation). He moved his feet well and did not throw one major shot at a time, instead throwing combinations which is 1) essential to a boxer's success and 2) often difficult to get a bigger heavyweight to do.
What were the negatives? As I mentioned, the majority of the crowd expected the giant to quickly and spectacularly crush the other fighter and they grew more and more impatient as this continually didn't happen.
So while Edwards did fight intelligently, he will need to gradually learn to become more aggressive, more confident and less tentative.
Also, while Gibson did land his share of shots, we'll have to see how Edwards will react to being caught with real firepower, how he'll handle an opponent not only capable of beating him but also fiercely desirous of doing so.
"A little rougher than I expected, but I wrestle 300-pound guys all day so I'm used to it, guys trying to be rough," he said after the fight. So again, like any young fighter, he has much to learn but it's totally to his advantage that he appears to understand that.
He's scheduled to fight again at Hinckley on June 24th and I'll be interested to see what he learns from this first outing and what he and his trainer will work on in the gym.