I thought that the retarded debate between boxing and MMA had drifted into the ether as more boxing fans became aware of what MMA actually consisted of, but alas, the beast has reared its ugly head once more. The ugly head specifically being that of James Toney who has signed a 3 fight deal (3 fights!) with the UFC. He makes his debut on the 28th August against the former UFC light-Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture. Talk about being thrown in at the deep-end, this is reminiscent of Eric ‘the Eel’ floundering in an Olympic swimming pool some years back.
Just to put the initial premise to bed, a good boxer does not necessarily make a good MMA fighter and vice versa. Why? For the same reason that Roger Federer is not the World Badminton Champion, that is why. Although at first sight there are similarities between the sports, the skill set required to be a champion of either differs vastly and on a multitude of levels and that is why the debate is retarded. Katie Price is apparently pretty good at looking after a horse but don’t expect her to enter the Derby any day soon. Anyone who thinks that a pure boxer will win the UFC title on the grounds that they are a world class striker is an ignoramus.
I personally love boxing, and for that matter James Toney, or ‘Lights-Out’ as he’s known (that’s all my mum ever used to say when I was a kid). His defensive prowess in the ring is unrivalled in modern times and he’s been in there with the best of his generation but I’ve never had a boxing lesson where they teach you how to fight off your back and that would be the undoing of any boxer. Marcus Davis was a pro-boxer but then he isn’t an idiot so he backed it up with a rounded MMA game, training with Pat Miletich’s team. Vitor Belfort has also fought as a pro-boxer before but then he also has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Apparently Toney’s been in training and the rumours are that he even scored a tap whilst sparring with ‘King’ Mo Lawal although that smells somewhat of bullshit to me. However, I genuinely do hope that he has been hiding some wrestling history and perhaps an active interest in MMA for some time but still, going in against Randy Couture in a debut? It unfortunately is set up to be a freak show. Randy will either choose to ‘dirty box’ him against the cage or take him to the floor and pummel him.
My guess is that the fight is happening because it is a great opportunity for the UFC to pick up some more fans as it creeps further into the mainstream and, for that matter, Randy Couture himself - who has Rambo/Rocky/Predator/Terminator 17 to promote. I would hate to see Toney, a legend of his own sport, embarrassed but then, as I’ve tried to point out, just because he has a fat belly does not mean that he has Phil Taylor’s number at the oche and, therefore, just because he can out-strike Evander Hoylfield does not mean he can out-wrestle Randy Couture. David Haye has labelled Toney’s attempt ‘delusional’ but then anyone who has listened to any of his post-fight interviews knows that he’s not the most cerebral man in the world.
It is exciting though, I’m just holding out hope of Frankie Dettori giving it a go next or maybe one of those Loose Women, I’d pay to view that.
4 weeks ago