July 20, 2010
Call it freak show if you must. It doesn't bother Randy Couture. The former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight chamo call his battle against James Toney a novelty fight. But as the guy who has to start the fight on his feet against a former world boxing champion in four divisions, Couture knows there's plenty of danger lurking. He's the first guy to admit it could be disasterous if he chooses to stand and slug it out with Toney.
"I have no intention and no illusion that I'm a world class boxer," said Couture. "I'm a mixed martial artist. I've won the majority of my fights by taking guys down, putting them on their back and punching the until they don't want to be punched anymore. That's not going to change."
Couture has made interesting choice of training partners to try and replicate what Toney brings to the table. Couture didn't bring in any high level boxers and is working with his usual cast of characters.
"My boxing coach (Gil Martinez) understands James' style very, very well," said Couture (6:25 mark). "Ray Sefo, who is a world champion kickboxer, is actually James' size and as fast a guy as I've ever been around. He's been mimicking James' style a lot. Between him and Brice (Ritani-Coe), another Kiwi that is a tremendous boxer, those two guys have been great. Gil Martinez has James wired to a T. We're gonna be fine."
In the end, it may not matter what Couture actually does to prepare for Toney on the feet. He might get the boxer to the ground inside of 10 seconds. But if he doesn't, is working with kickboxers really enough?
Sefo is a very good K-1 fighter. But there's a reason guys fight K-1 and pass up professional boxing. They're probably not up to snuff to be an elite boxer. If they were, there's more money in boxing at the high levels than K-1. Sefo had six pro boxing fights going 5-1 from 1994-2001 and Ritano-Coe fought once professionally in October of 2009.
You just hope no one is taking Toney (72-6-3, 44 KOs) lightly. The guy may look like a fat slob but he's one of the best technical fighters of the last 25 years and a defensive wizard. Time will tell what his power will be wearing four-ounce gloves instead of the huge boxing pillows.
On the Toney front, it sounds like he's quickly adding the submission game to his repetoire. MMA light heavyweight Muhammed Lawal said Toney recently caught him in a guillotine choke.
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