James Toney versus Randy Couture, a disappointing performance

Today's James Toney has very little resemblance to the former world champion.

On Saturday night, James Toney let his sport down. He also let himself down. At least that’s what his many fans thought. As a representative of boxing, let it be known that James “Lights Out” Toney hardly trained at all for his Mixed Martial Arts bout with Randy Couture. The promoters insinuated that he had trained hard for this inter-sport matchup and dropped a whopping 40 pounds in training.

The 42 year old Toney, who started his boxing career well over 25 years ago, entered the octagon at a bubbly 237. Toney hasn’t been that heavy since he fought Hasim Rahman back in March of 2006. In his last bout, fought September 12th of last year at the Pechanga Resort and Casino, Toney weighed 217½ pounds for a bout against Matthew Greer.  Toney won that bout quite easily.

What angers most boxing fans is the fact that their hero didn’t prepare.  Toney, who is currently the reigning IBA heavyweight champion, one of 11 belts that he’s held in five different weight classes, put himself and boxing in a very bad light.

Instead of some definitive statement about the two sports we got this ridiculous result – Couture earning an easy victory with an arm triangle submission at 3:31 of the first round.

The fact that Toney left himself exposed for the wrestling takedown suggests he had no idea what to do. Less than 30 seconds into the fight, Couture used a single-leg takedown, shooting in low and grabbing Toney’s ankle. Too slow and top-heavy to do anything about it, Toney fell backwards. Once on his back, he was finished. Couture delivered some punches and elbows and eventually squeezed his neck until Toney quit rather than lose consciousness.

In MMA, where speed is a must, low body fat is imperative. Toney claimed he trained eight straight months for the fight, but I heard otherwise. For me, arguing boxing versus mixed martial arts is a waste of time. The UFC has featured tournaments like this before with mixed results. Having a command of more than one discipline should give you the edge. It’s about being well-rounded and ready to defend yourself against all styles.

The James Toney version that showed up on Saturday night, 20 pounds heavier than he was for his last boxing match, had no resemblance to the trim James "Lights Out" Toney who was a fan favorite for 20 years. The James Toney of old weighed 159 pounds and was the middleweight champion of the world.

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