CORAL GABLES, Fla., Feb. 16 -- Having been repeatedly told he's the
lead act in a circus that started in some Miami-area boatyard,
Kevin Ferguson(Pictures), better known as Internet
fighting sensation "Kimbo Slice," is tired of and offended by the
"No more of that," the 34-year-old heavyweight growled early Sunday
Why should the world consider Slice a legitimate mixed martial
artist, one who deserved to headline a card on Showtime that also
promoted a former UFC heavyweight champion and other respected
veterans of the sport?
"What he's got, he's got cajones," said Rutten, someone that would
know. "He can take a hit and he really likes to fight. It's not an
act with him. He really likes to hurt people."
Saturday on the campus of the University of Miami, Ferguson not
only got to hurt someone -- David "Tank" Abbott, an older
version of Slice from a bygone era in MMA -- but he showed why top
billing in just his second professional fight was reasonable.
From the moment the intimidating fighter strode to the cage, 6,187
people inside the BankUnited Center stood. They wouldn't take a
seat again until it was time to drive back to wherever it was they
came from. Surely the conversation on the ride home centered on
Slice's blistering right hand that ended Abbott's night just 43
seconds after the opening bell.
The fight itself wasn't noteworthy. Ferguson came out looking to
strike. Abbott momentarily thought of a takedown. But as will
happen with men like these, everything went out the window.
"I just said screw it and decided to fight him," said Abbott, who
hasn't won a fight of consequence in years, and in fact owns just
one victory in nine tries since 1998.
Yet for the same reason that it didn't matter that Slice had just
one professional fight to his name, it didn't mean a thing that
Abbott (9-14) had failed in MMA for almost a decade when he began
winging right hands.
What men like Abbott had and Slice have is the uncanny "what the
hell is going to happen next" quotient. As punches winged, the
crowd roared. They were getting exactly what they'd come to see.
The potential was enough. It's a lesson that should serve Slice
well, whether he evolves into a top-10 heavyweight or not.
Three times Ferguson dropped Abbott, slow and awkward next to the
quick bursts that the fight-for-dough street brawler brought into
the EliteXC cage. Hooks and straights came heavy and hard. There
was no pretense, no feeling out process. This was, as the billing
suggested, "street certified."
In that manic pace resided the truly intriguing thing about Slice,
blunt-loving family man: he was prepared to, if necessary, fight
like a professional.
"I was expecting Tank to come out, possibly with a takedown,
possibly with a sloppy left to try to plant his right," Ferguson
said. "In a sense I was well prepared to come with anything he was
gonna come with, like my trainers train me to be for any of my
And that is where, in just two fights, he's already differentiated
himself from "Tank."
While Abbott, 42, has relied on his persona and heavy right hand,
Slice is actually trained and learned. Under the tutelage of Rutten
and Randy Khatami, the unique Ferguson stands to become a unique
fighter, though Abbott was still reserving judgment.
It's Ferguson's aptitude for fighting, which Rutten said was
evident when the new pro made adjustments during Saturday's fight,
that could set him apart from other brawlers who tried to make it
big in MMA.
"At the moment you saw he was too close [to connect with punches on
Abbott], he was realizing he was too close," the trainer said. "He
corrected that in the cage. And for a fighter that is something
that is very rare. With that said, he's got a lot of talent."
Talent, charisma and an innate ability to captivate an audience has
EliteXC and Showtime excited about Kimbo Slice.
"I think he could be one of the anchors of our company for a long
time, because he's the type wherever he goes, he's going to attract
attention," said promoter Gary Shaw.