by The Green Machine
Sigh. This never goes away does it? Ever since Art Jimmerson so woefully represented boxing at the first UFC competition against the world’s best grappler at the time, Royce Gracie, there’s been that lingering question: which is the more dominant sport, boxing or MMA? Now in a little over a week’s time we get our latest dose when one of the best boxers of our time meets one of the best MMA competitors of our time: James Toney vs. Randy Couture under MMA rules…of course.
Now, the question is far from a new one, but the emergence of UFC over the years has given new life to the boxing vs. martial arts debate and it just won’t go away. There’s no definitive answer and there never will be…and this fight won’t make the picture any more clear.
Toney’s the latest in a string of beyond-their-prime boxers who want to extend their fighting livelihoods by turning to mixed martial arts. Ray Mercer, Tommy Morrison, Vince Phillips, the list goes on and on. Toney’s the best boxer to compete in an MMA bout and he’s doing it in the most prestigious MMA organization, but this is far from the headline bout the UFC is making it out to be. Both Toney and Couture are past their primes, even in top condition, Couture’s still 47 and Toney will turn 42 a few days prior to the bout. This is nothing more than a battle of names UFC is selling us and it’s going to be an ugly one at that.
This is nothing more than Dana White looking to push the UFC at Toney’s expense. Toney’s chances are slim, everyone knows this, but MMA and boxing fans alike will come out to see it. The “armchair” fight fan (and unfortunately they make up the bulk of the fans– especially when it comes to MMA) has no idea how deteriorated either of these fighters are just as they didn’t know how far gone Mike Tyson was when they were predicting he’d knockout Lennox Lewis. They know the names, they know the reputations, but that’s about it. It’s a win-win for Dana White: if Couture wins, then he defeated a great boxer, MMA “wins”…if Toney wins, then White looks like a genius for taking a great boxer and making him an MMA competitor that beat one of the best in his MMA debut. The losers will be the fans, who’ll be treated to a boring bout consisting of a few punches from Toney before Couture mauls him, turning it into a snooze fest while White gently pulls that $50 from your pocket. Thanks pal, see you next month.
James Toney’s also a loser in this deal. Win or lose he has no chance of a prolonged career in mixed martial arts, especially with the UFC. White’s relatively quick to cut his losses before they become real losses and he won’t hold on to Toney long. The only way to make this a fair deal for Toney, is to have the two meet in the boxing ring when the UFC circus act is over.