Much of the boxing world is still pretty down on the skills of mixed martial artists. Not Bernard Hopkins. The light heavyweight great was one of the first guys to admit he'd get whupped in the Octagon fighting under MMA rules. The 45-year-old legend is fearful that James Toney has bitten off more than he can chew in his fight against Randy Couture.
"I think James Toney is going to get his ass kicked. James Toney is out of his league," Hopkins recently told Mauro Ranallo on Sirius' Hardcore Sports Radio (Audio). "I believe and I'll go on record with this, the best MMA guy or UFC guy goes up against the boxer in the world, in their arena ... gets their ass kicked. I don't care if it's Floyd [Mayweather], [Manny] Pacquiao or Bernard Hopkins. It's not what we do."
In just over two weeks, Toney is making his MMA debut at UFC 118. Couture is a former UFC champ in two weight divisions with 28 professional MMA fights under his belt. After 83 pro boxing fights, Toney, 41, is trying MMA.
Boxing heavyweight champ David Haye expanded on what he also believes is a mismatch. He told Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole:
"Six months of training isn’t going to be enough." Haye said. "As a UFC fan, I know two or three years wouldn’t be enough. How many times has Toney sprawled in his life? 500? How many leg kicks has he taken in his life? 300? How many Kimura attempts has he defended? 140? Even if he’s done double that amount, he wouldn’t have nearly the experience needed to win a UFC fight."
Hopkins also added that if UFC champ Anderson Silva tried to straight up box against an elite boxer, he'd struggle as well.
"This is a different arena. I'm not saying he won't have his moments," said Hopkins. "Listen, when that instinct comes in. When one guy is used to taking a guy down, using his forearm or chin or whatever and you take that away, it's like taking his teeth out of his mouth. He's no longer a lion."
You can hear "The Fight Show" with Ranallo weekdays from 4-5 p.m. ET on Sirius Channel 98.