- There’s a ton of ‘buzz’ about a proposed fight between Justin Bieber and Tom Cruise.
- It’s unclear what Bieber’s ‘beef’ is with Cruise or if it is just a PR stunt.
- Inexplicably, UFC President Dana White is giving the ‘fight’ a veneer of legitimacy.
A couple of days ago we weighed in on the inexplicable buzz over a potential ‘fight’ between Justin Bieber and Tom Cruise. The bottom line is that the fight isn’t going to happen for reasons that we outlined in that article. That hasn’t changed but the discussion surrounding the fight does beg the question–what *would* happen if a Justin Bieber v. Tom Cruise fight did transpire?
Some backstory here–the first paying writing gig I ever had was covering boxing and in the past twenty years I’ve covered the ‘Sweet Science’ as well as MMA and pro wrestling extensively in all forms of media. Within that context, I earned a reputation for my ability to break down and analyze a fight matchup–even a potential or downright hypothetical one. After I saw a couple of sportsbooks posting hypothetical lines on a Cruise v. Beebs fight that I completely disagreed with I figured I might as well use this platform to provide some hypothetical analysis.
The first thing that is necessary to breakdown any fight matchup whether it’s boxing, MMA or a couple of random celebrities is to focus on it as it exists and not how the media tells you it will be. Or to quote the legendary rap act Public Enemy: “Don’t Believe The Hype“. This would be crucial in a matchup between Justin Bieber and Tom Cruise. The key to evaluating this matchup to forget the cultural iconography surrounding both fighters. This isn’t Jack Reacher or Ethan Hunt against teen heart throb Justin Bieber. This is a fight between a 57 year old with minimal (if any) formal fight training who is 5’7” or possibly shorter against a 25 year old with minimal (if any) formal fight training in great shape with a 3” height advantage (maybe more) and a similar reach advantage.
It’s easy to think that Cruise would have more ‘natural power’–the reality is that both he and Bieber walk around somewhere between 145 and 150 pounds. Given that neither man has any real fighting experience it would come down to their training in advance of the fight. If that training is a ‘wash’ Beebs is still the much younger and naturally larger guy. If Bieber actually learns how to leverage his physical edges it’s an even bigger advantage. Once you get beyond the fact that Tom Cruise is not the character he plays in films but a 57 year old 5’6” or 5’7” 148 pound untrained fighter fighting a much younger guy with a slight physical advantage it’s tough to see Bieber losing this matchup.
TOM CRUISE VS. JUSTIN BIEBER: THE ODDS
Some sportsbooks have posted ‘hypothetical odds’ that Cruise is a -200 favorite with takeback on Bieber at +150. Betting odds are more of a reflection of public perception than anything else and as such this is probably a good line. As a prediction of what would happen in the fight, however, this price is insane for the reasons outlined above. Once again, you have to forget about their roles and public image. Pretend it’s a hypothetical fight between two random guys who are untrained fighters with similar backgrounds. One is 25 and the other is 57. The younger man is clearly in good shape and has some small physical edges. That’s the matchup we’re evaluating here. My odds:
JUSTIN BIEBER -250
TOM CRUISE +210
The age difference between the two men would make it difficult to get the fight sanctioned in a well regulated jurisdiction like Nevada or New Jersey. Advancing age can brutalize even the best fighters. ‘Sugar Shane’ Mosley was as good as any professional boxer I’ve ever seen. Had he fought Floyd Mayweather in his prime it would have been a war for the ages. When he fought him at age 39 it was a complete mismatch. Another famous ‘Sugar’–‘Sugar Ray’ Leonard–is among the ‘pound for pound’ best fighters ever. Terry Norris was a capable pro but wouldn’t have been in Leonard’s class during his prime. When they fought Norris was 24 and Leonard was 35–Norris destroyed him. Even ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali couldn’t beat age. In his final fight, a 39 year old Ali was completely outclassed by a 27 year old Trevor Berbick.
Ali was a sad shell of his former self fighting an opponent 12 years younger. In a hypothetical fight between Bieber and Cruise there would be a 32 year age difference between the fighters. I can’t recall a sanctioned fight in any sport with an age disparity anywhere close to that. Cruise might be in exceptional shape for a man his age but he’s nowhere near being a professional fighter. That age difference alone would be too much for Cruise to overcome.