How big is the James Toney signing for the UFC? Ask boxing fans if they care. Cagewriter spoke with Maxboxing.com's Steve Kim right after the news came out and he said the news didn't matter much because Toney hasn't been relevant in the square circle for years.
"I'm not so sure this even causes a ripple," said Kim. "How legitimate is James Toney as a heavyweight? From a boxing perspective, I don't think it's that much of a loss. I'm not so sure how relevant he was. It would be bigger if he were in his physical prime."
Kim also says don't be fooled into thinking Toney is trying this because he's looking for a new challenge.
"This is going to be a bit of a reality check for James. He's used to, for much of his career, making six and seven figures. I think he's taking the significant cut in pay, I'm assuming because he may have no other options in boxing."
It was interesting to hear Kim say Toney, 41, is at the end of the road of an underachieving career. This is a guy with a 72-6-3 record, who possesses excellent defensive skills, a great chin and better counter puncher than any MMA fighter in the world. But that's only one element of MMA. Toney has no experience dealing with kicks, stopping takedowns, getting off the deck and avoiding submissions.
"I've always thought it was a bad idea for boxers to get in there," said Kim. "Boxers, for what they do, that one singular skill, they're probably better than any MMA combatant but from an all-around skill set perspective, I think that they lag just as far behind."
Then comes the question of Toney's ability to get up to speed in three months for an MMA fight this summer.
"James Toney has good natural strength. He's certainly a tough guy but we're talking about huge gap in terms of what it takes to be successful in that realm. How serious is he going to be about this?"
Toney is going to hear a lot of criticism about this run at MMA. Will it motivate him or go in one ear and out the other? He'll be in the Octagon in less than six months. That's put-up-or-shut-up time.