So the supposed ‘MMA Vs Boxing’ showdown is now in the record books, and unsurprisingly it ended up as many people had predicted, and in much the same fashion as it did all the way back at UFC 1.
Back then Royce Gracie took just 2.18mins to submit boxer Art Jimmerson, and on this occasion Randy Couture submitted James Toney in 3.19mins of the first round.
Couture played it smart and safe, opting to take the fight to the floor at the earliest opportunity, and using a low single leg to do so once again highlighted the craftiness of the 47 year-old veteran. As soon as that happened the fight was effectively over, and in many ways he was somewhat lenient on the boxing champion, opting to choke him out rather than lay down a sustained ground and pound assault.
Credit must be given to Toney for stepping up to the plate and literally putting his neck on the line, but personally I was disappointed with his lack of MMA skills considering he’s allegedly spent considerable time honing his skills over the past number of months – something that Jimmerson at the very first UFC event in 1993 did not have the opportunity to do.
Not that it would have mattered of course, a few months of training isn’t going to make up for Couture’s lifetime of experience, but at least it could have made it more of a spectacle for the fans.
Of course the warning signs were their all along that he wasn’t taking this as seriously as he should – from the unknown camp he trained out of, to the 237lbs he weighed in at yesterday.
That, plus his blinkered view that his boxing alone would be enough to save the day, left him looking foolish on the night as he failed to display even the most basic of ground skills, and basically allowed Couture to toy with him until he saw fit to end the humiliation.
So does this mean MMA is better than boxing? Not at all. It just means that MMA fighters are better at fighting MMA while boxers remain better at the sweet science. Their two different sports and should be treated as such.
Personally, though I can’t deny I got swept up in the hype surrounding the event, I kind of wish it had never happened. As a fan of both sports I’d like to see them co-exist peacefully rather than be forced to battle for PPV numbers and bragging rights. Despite the trash talking there was something a little sad about seeing a proud champion like Toney out of his element and being handed a beating.
Realistically though it’s only a matter of time before another boxer believes he can make the transition and the whole debate sparks up again.
As for Toney, he said in the immediate aftermath of the fight that he’d be back and that he’s not a quitter, but Dana White appeared to suggest at the post-fight press conference that he will cut him loose instead. Meanwhile Couture will return to the 205lb division to face stiffer oppostion as he looks to mount another title challenge.