by Brandon Richard

When doing press for the Nike Kobe 9 Elite launch, Kobe Bryant stated that watching Manny Pacquiao train in his boxing boots inspired the design of his ultra high-top signature sneaker. After all, basketball players and modern boxers look for similar qualities in footwear — light weight, support, breathability and superior traction for sharp, precise movements. And in a turn of events, boxers inspired by Bryant are now wearing the Kobe 9 Elite in the ring.

Kobe Bryant & Manny Pacquiao
image via SI

The most recent occurrence took place last night, when Lamont Peterson went to-to-toe with Danny Garcia in the main event of PBC on NBC. Peterson, wearing the grey-based 'Detail' colorway, moved around the ring with speed and comfort for 12 rounds, albeit in a controversial split decision loss.

Last month, John Molina Jr. battled Adrien Broner in 'BHM' 9 Elite.

This isn't the first time the worlds of basketball and boxing have collided. In 1999, Jordan Brand signed Roy Jones Jr. to a multi-year endorsement deal. Instead of having him fight in basketball shoes, the brand produced a line of boxing shoes, most notably the RJJ. Jordan continues to have a hand in the sport today, outfitting WBA super-middleweight champion Andre Ward.

It's a little premature to say that basketball sneakers are taking over boxing. Fighters prefer the higher cut for extra support and very few hoop models offer it the way the Kobe 9 Elite does. However, top fighters wearing the shoes does validate Bryant's early claims and provides companies like Nike with useful information for future ring boot designs.

Lamont Peterson wearing the 'Detail' Nike Kobe IX 9 (1)
images via Mary Altaffer for AP

Lamont Peterson wearing the 'Detail' Nike Kobe IX 9 (2)

John Molina Jr. wearing the 'BHM' Nike Kobe IX 9 Elite
image via Eric Jamison for AP