Former long-time middleweight boxing champion, and one of the greats in recent times Bernard Hopkins has become the latest star of the sweet science to predict that James Toney will lose in his MMA debut against Randy Couture at UFC 118 later this month.
Others from the sport, such as current WBA heavyweight champion David Haye and legendary trainer Freddie Roach have already stated their belief that Toney won’t be successful in his bid to transition between the two sports with just a few months of training under his belt, and Hopkins agrees.
“I think James Toney is going to get his ass kicked. For real,” said Hopkins. “James Toney is out of his league,” Hopkins tells Mauro Ranallo in a recent radio interview.
“When you step out into a situation where, against a legend too in his own sport, I believe, and I’ll go on the record, that the best MMA guy or UFC guy go up against the best boxer in the world in their arena, in their arena gets their ass kicked.” Hopkins continues. “I don’t care who it is, whether Floyd, Pacquiao, Bernard Hopkins, they get they ass kicked. That is not what we do.”
By no means is Hopkins questioning Toney’s boxing abilities, in fact he states his admiration for the multiple division champion.
“James Toney is James Toney in boxing. You gotta bow down to that, that’s the man,” said Hopkins. “Whether it’s old James Toney or new James Toney, his record speaks for himself. He’s done well, he’s done more than well in boxing.”
And of course while Hopkins thinks boxers will get beaten in an MMA fight, he also believes that MMA fighter’s switching to boxing would suffer a similar fate.
“This is a different different arena. I’m not trying to say he won’t have any moments, but listen when that instinct come in when one guy is used to taking a guy down or used to taking a guy down using his forearm or chin or whatever, hey man you take that away that’s like taking a lion’s teeth out, he’s no longer a lion.”
It’s nice to see Hopkins giving MMA the respect it deserves and giving a reasonable, well-thought out opinion on the tired MMA Vs Boxing debate rather than look to discredit and ridicule it simply because it’s seen as a threat to the sport of boxing.
I’ve always believed the two sports should be ably to peacefully co-exist – personally I can’t imagine why anybody would like one and not the other – and hearing fighters like Hopkins keep an open mind about MMA gives me hope that could still be the case.
Listen to the audio of Hopkins interview below.