After hearing word that Manny Pacquiao was interested in trying his hand at MMA, Strikeforce lightweight/welterweight contender KJ Noons wasted little time in extending an olive branch to welcome the Filipino superstar to the sport. Having already compiled an impressive mixed martial arts record of 10-2, Noons may be the only fighter who also sports a similar professional boxing record (11-2, 5 KOs). "I would love to welcome Pacquiao into MMA. It would be an ideal situation for him because I don't take guys down to the ground, and after that's all said and done in the cage, I would be willing to step inside of the ring with him too, something we all knew Randy Couture wouldn't do with James Toney," stated Noons, who recently informed FightHype.com that he'd be more than happy to also test his skills against Pacquiao inside of the ring, as well as the cage.
Ironically, not too long ago, Noons also informed FightHype.com that he'd welcome a boxing match with Pacquiao's nemesis, Floyd Mayweather. "I know Floyd isn't looking to do MMA, but I would still be willing to fight Mayweather and Pacquiao in a boxing match and both camps have been reached, so we will see what happens," Noons explained, revealing that his team has indeed contacted representatives of both camps. When asked whether or not he thought there was any real possibility of the proposed bouts with either fighter ever happening, Noons replied, "I will put it this way, both camps have been reached and both camps were very interested."
Only time will tell if any of these bouts ever come to fruition, but you have to applaud Noons for his guts and willingness to fight anyone, both inside the cage and the squared circle. It seems like it's becoming a popular trend for athletes in boxing or mixed martial arts to want to crossover and test their skills in other arenas. While some fighters, like Jeremy Williams, Francois Botha, Ray Mercer, and more recently James Toney, have actually done it, other fighters, like Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz, King Mo Lawal, and now Vitor Belfort, are eager to give it a try. It makes you wonder if it's time for fans to realize that these two sports will co-exist. Thus far, KJ Noons is one of the few fighters who's actually had success in both.
FULL INTERVIEW WITH NOONS TO FOLLOW SHORTLY