August 29, 2010
It was even worse than we thought. James Toney called out mixed martial arts and begged for a fight, but what he showed in the Octagon could barely be called a fight. The out-of-shape boxing legend came out with his left hand at his side and was very stationary. He was a sitting duck for UFC veteran and Olympic-level wrestler Randy Couture, who scored a takedown just 11 seconds into the fight. Toney was helpless on the mat, where Couture moved to a dominant mount position and eventually slapped on an arm-triangle choke to finish the fight in just over three minutes.
"I think, in reality, if he's only been training nine months, it's a real short order to pick up everything," said Couture (19-10). "I give real credit to James. He took the risk. All us MMA guys love boxing. Hopefully there's a whole bunch of boxers who will love MMA."
By the reaction of the fans at the TD Garden in Boston, MMA diehards don't like boxers. As Couture was mauling Toney on the canvas, a chant of "UFC, UFC" filled the arena.
It was a pretty embarrassing display by Toney. It was almost as if he didn't drill at all on what to do if he was taken down. Frankly, the weigh-in was a sign of things to come when Toney weigh-in a career-high 237 pounds. He was nearly 20 pounds lighter for his last boxing match in Sept. of 2009.
Couture did whatever he wanted from the top and it was clear Toney hadn't learned any technique to try and extricate himself from the position. According to Compustrike, Couture landed 38 strikes to just six for Toney.
Couture, speaking during the postfight interview with UFC color analyst Joe Rogan, said he saw this coming. "No surprises. This is exactly what we trained to do. I worked on that arm triangle for over a year."
That's when Couture's grappling coach, Neil Melanson, walked over to his fighter and gave him a black belt suggesting that he'd just earned it.
Toney was gracious in defeat and surprisingly said that he wasn't done with MMA.
"He just caught me. He caught me sleeping. I'll be back. I ain't gonna quit," said Toney, as he was booed by the Boston faithful. "My ground game's alright. He fought a great fight. Randy Couture’s a great fighter."
Toney was a great boxer, piling up 72 wins against just six losses, but he's far from his prime. It's next to impossible for a boxer to cross over to MMA without at least a few years of training in all elements of the sport. And that probably only applies for a guy still in his boxing prime.
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