Richard Ord: Boxing clever? More like ‘boxing stupid!’

Rio Ferdinand during the press conference at York Hall, London. Picture: PA.
Rio Ferdinand during the press conference at York Hall, London. Picture: PA.

Former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand announced this week that he is ready to ‘walk the walk’ as he bids to step into the professional boxing ring.

You have to admire his guts. In the macho world of football, for Ferdinand to don a pair of hotpants and a tight vest and then sashay about the ring with a big sign indicating what round it is would take some courage.

I assumed he was doing his big for gender diversity, but it turns out he didn’t mean he was going to be a ring girl, but an actual fighter!

At 38 and never having had a fight in his life, forget walking the walk, I would advise Rio to ‘run the run’ and then ‘jump the jump’ ideally into a taxi if he’s seriously thinking of taking on a seasoned professional fighter.

The former England defender explained his reasoning for wanting to take up professional boxing.

He said he missed the competition involved in sport and “that chemical that comes out of you. I have not been able to replace it.” What chemical is that then?

If, as I suspect, he’s going to get repeatedly punched in the face, round after round, the only chemical that will be coming out of him will be blood, and a few teeth.

His logic for swapping football boots for boxing gloves is a bit skewed too.

According to Ferdinand, people watch big fights on the television and say: “I can do that.” No they don’t.

People watch big fights on television and say: “You wouldn’t get me in that ring for all the tea in China,” unless, of course, the people watching are professional boxers.

And if they are professional boxers, they’re going to sound a bit odd saying “I can do that” when watching a boxing match. Of course you can do that, you’re a boxer.

People have, in the past, watched Rio Ferdinand playing football and said “I can do that,” but that’s more a comment on Ferdinand’s football prowess.

Ferdinand continues to maintain he’s up for the challenge.

He said: “Can I change sports? Can I be a respectable performer in other sports? Can my body get through it?

“Can I mentally get up early at 5-6am in the morning when it is dark and cold to go on long, dirty runs? Then get back, take my kids to school, go to the gym and eat properly all of the time.

“This is a test of my mind and body, that’s the way I’m looking at it. I’m not looking at it to become the world champion, I’m not stupid.”

Erm, the jury’s out on that one Rio.

Of course, money is not an issue. It’s just coincidence that his bid to become a boxer is also going to be backed by a betting company, under the banner ‘From Defender to Contender.’

He certainly sounds up for the challenge, but given that Rio is the only footballer I can recall who managed to miss a match after straining a tendon just watching television, Anthony Joshua won’t be losing any sleep.