By Leo Malchugina
On August 28, 2010, the UFC also known has the Ultimate Fighting Championship will air its first show in Boston, Mass.. The main event is a lightweight championship rematch between current champion Frankie Edgar and former champion B.J Penn, who lost the belt to Edgar in Abu Dhabi.
But that fight hasn’t garnered much media attention compared to the co-main event between MMA fighter Randy “Natural” Couture and boxer James “Lights Out” Toney.
The UFC is the new kid on the block and often the UFC President Dana White talks down upon boxing, yet claims to be a boxing fan. White has a lot of fans, who seem to be young men, who sort of look up to UFC President as a father figure and role model. So when Dana White says things like boxing is dead or boxing sucks and it’s corrupt, those young guys will automatically believe him.
James Toney heard all the smack Dana White was talking about boxing and how it’s dead and how UFC is gobbling it up (UFC is becoming more popular in the United States and Canada, I can admit that, but boxing is internationally accepted) so Toney decided to take Dana White up on his challenge and went to White personally and asked to fight their best MMA heavyweight fighter, and now you have the freak show match of Randy Couture vs. James Toney.
The problem here is James Toney is really an overweight, flat footed, and past his prime boxer, who looks more like a black Homer Simpson than an in shape boxer, while Randy Couture is a 47-years-old, in shape and still competitive MMA fighter. Randy is older than the 42-year-old Toney, but Toney is far more war torn and ruined from his long boxing career, the damage is noticeable in Toney’s slurred speech and heavy breathing.
This isn’t some younger Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather type boxer in his prime going to MMA, this is a boxer whose style is entirely wrong for the sport. James is a boxer who likes to stay in the pocket, he doesn’t have much foot speed and he stands straight up and mainly focuses on shoulder rolls and slips, you can’t do that in the UFC cage because that stance will leave you open to a takedown.
Having watched UFC and boxing, I already know that mixed martial arts fighting always favors the grappler. The first UFC taught us this. When the Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu master, Royce Gracie, submitted all of his opponents including a boxer named Art Jimmerson, who looked ridiculous with one boxing glove on it showed us for the first time how dominant grappling is in a one on one fight. The only way to beat a grappler is to have amazing takedown defense and submission defense. Wrestlers call this takedown defense a sprawl and it’s very difficult to master because you have to know how to use your hips and spread your legs at the right moment, and if they grab onto one of your legs you have to know how to balance and bounce on that leg to to fend off the take down. Toney has only been training MMA for a few months and from the looks of it, he hasn’t trained in any ground fighting or takedown defense at all, just hitting a big tire with a sledgehammer and punching a heavy bag.
Age is a big factor. James Toney is 42-years-old, fairly young, but in terms of sports that’s ancient, many boxers deteriorate once they reach 30 and never have the same type of speed, stamina or reflexes they once had when they were 25-years-old.
I don’t see James Toney having any real chance in this fight. He isn’t known for one punch knockout power like Mike Tyson or fast footwork like Manny Pacquiao, he is actually known more for being lazy in the gym and hating roadwork. James might be over 200-pounds but it’s mostly fat packed onto a 168-pound boxers frame, the weight where James Toney excelled at. James might weigh more than Couture, but Couture is going to be the bigger and stronger man in that UFC Octagon and possibly the harder puncher, Toney could take punches with those 10oz boxing gloves but with these 4oz gloves it’s a different story and Toney might actually get knocked out for the first time in his fighting career.
I basically see this fight not going past the first round. Randy will fake an overhand right which Toney will try to defend and Randy will shoot in for the double leg and take Toney down. Toney will start squirming on the ground and won’t be able to move Couture off him and continue to get elbows and punches in the face. Toney will either tap from the ground and pound or be finished by a submission.
This still doesn’t prove boxing is a better sport than MMA. Some people prefer the stand up to the ground game, it all depends on what you like better boxing or MMA or both. What it does prove is that James Toney has the biggest pair balls in the combat world. What James Toney is doing is going into their sport and taking on one of their best fighters while having zero MMA experience and only a few months training. It would be like Brock Lesnar or Randy Couture saying for my first pro boxing match let me fight Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko with only 5-months boxing training.
Win or lose, James Toney will always be known as a fighter who has never backed down from a challenge and true fight fans can respect that.
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