Before he began boxing Cobb had earned the World Heavyweight championship
in full-contact karate
. I remember reading an interview with Cobb before the Holmes fight where he described the difference between boxing
He described boxing as "has a more realistic handstyle than karate". Karate concentrates too much on the quick knock-out. That's very useful when you're fighting multiple opponents or an angry drunk, but when you get into the ring with a trained, experienced fighter you face someone who knows how to take a punch. They don't fall down after the first punch. And they're very hard to get a good punch into anyway. They know how to "slip a punch", a catchall term for avoiding a square blow. So you have to keep punching. For Cobb the adaptation was difficult, karate having been a part of his life.