Here is a look at Toney vs. Couture from a boxing perspective.
There was a nice write-up on James Toney training for his upcoming fight with Randy Couture in August.
Here are some highlights. You can check out the full article on RingTV.com .
Toney seems to be taking it seriously as far as the training goes, and Couture doesn't always take a punch well. Is 5 to 1 odds appropriate, or does Toney have a better shot at pulling out the win?
Here is Doug Fischer's first hand account of his training. Dougie is a well respected (my favorite) boxing writer:
“You have to be in great shape for MMA,” Toney said. “In boxing you can hold to catch a breath. You can’t do that in the cage.”
What does Toney do in the cage? Lots of ground work on the day I was present. (You gotta figure he’s got the striking part of his game down, right?) Toney’s trainer, Trever Sherman, and manager, John Arthur, who has a background in martial arts, coached him on various maneuvers as the veteran boxer grappled with an amateur MMA fighter named Brian Alexander for five 5-minute rounds (the same number of rounds and combat time as a regulation UFC title bout).
Toney made the kid tap out, but I didn’t notice, which tells you how much I know about MMA technique.
All I can report is that Toney is working on take downs in the middle of the octagon. He’s practicing what to do if he’s taken down, how to crawl his way to the cage wall, what to do if he’s pushed into the cage wall, how to tie up his opponent, how to use his knees with his back to the cage, and so on.
I didn’t see a lot of punches from Toney. His stand-up game focused mainly on countering Couture’s favored kicks and attacks.
“I hate it when I read that James only has a puncher’s chance,” Sherman said. “Couture’s only got a wrestler’s chance.”
Toney won’t even give his opponent that hope.
“MMA fans ask me, ‘What about Randy’s takedown game?’ What about it?” Toney said. “He better be worried about what I’m gonna do. He’s tailor made for me. All of his strengths will become his weaknesses. He can pick his poison. Whatever he brings, I’m gonna counter it.”
“I’m gonna be ready,” he said. “I trained six months with Juanito Ibarra (who once trained former UFC heavyweight champ Quinton Jackson), just going over the basics. Come back in a few weeks and you’ll see me kick the asses of pro MMA fighters the same way I use to kick heavyweights asses at the Wild Card [Boxing Club]. I’m putting in the work for this fight. It was hard for a about a month when I first started training, there were a lot of aches and pains. I thought maybe I was too old for this s__t, but I grew stronger ,and I’ve gained a new kind of stamina. I can feel my quickness, agility and power coming back.
“I wish I had this training 10 years ago, I would have been the undisputed heavyweight champ. I don’t care what sport you do, football, basketball, whatever, this s__t will get you ready.”
“I contacted his people and told them Roy and Floyd are not real fighters, they’re runners,” Toney said. “Call out a real warrior like me. White started tweeting stuff about me and the relationship just rolled on from there. I met him at one of his shows in Memphis last year to let him know that I was serious about his challenge. Then I saw him and the Fertitta brothers [who own the UFC] in Vegas in December. One of the brothers brought up Kimbo Slice as an opponent. I told him that would be like taking candy from a baby.
“I wanted [UFC heavyweight champ] Brock Lesnar or [former light heavyweight champ] Chuck Liddell. But Lesnar was sick at the time. I heard Couture was talking mess on the internet about how he would baptize me to the sport, and I liked that. He became my first MMA opponent. He’s better than Liddell. If I knocked out Liddell, MMA fans would say ‘Oh, he’s done anyway.’”
Many view the Couture-Toney matchup, the co-feature to the showdown between lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and veteran BJ Penn, as a sideshow.
Sherman doesn’t agree with that perspective.
“Dana White is not the kind of guy to sign someone just because of his name in another sport,” he said. “He wouldn’t sign Herschel Walker, who certainly has a name from football. He wouldn’t sign Bobby Lashley, who has a name from pro wrestling. He took a chance on Brock Lesnar because Lesnar had real wrestling credentials before his pro wrestling career. Dana is one of the most-brilliant sports minds out there. He doesn’t play games and he doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t buy into hype, so nobody should look at this fight as a hoax or a joke.
“He wouldn’t have signed James if he didn’t think James had a shot. I don’t care what he says on record, I think he knows that James is going to knock Couture out. Randy has been caught and dropped in four of his last five fights. Every time he’s clipped, he goes down. Watch the tapes of his fights with Vera, Nogueira and Lesnar. You‘ll see.”
Toney knows this and he is expecting a grueling encounter. Never mind Couture’s ability to take a punch or his ability to grapple, Toney says the fight will come down to will power and mettle.
“I’m going to find out if Couture really has balls,” he said bluntly. “If he doesn’t have ’em to my standards, I’ll bring the b__ch out of him. That’s what I do.”