In recent years, a lot has been said about boxing’s drop in popularity in its competition against MMA. The lack of charismatic fighters, mainly in the heavyweight division, further adds to its decline in public preference. In the USA, for example, now MMA is the most watched sport among men under 30 years of age, studies have shown.
This Saturday, at UFC 118 in Boston, one fight in particular will, in some way, be a showdown for the styles. On one side, one of MMA’s biggest stars, Randy Couture; on the other, a world champion pugilist in James Toney. The bout is a two-edged sword, although neither fighter is paying much mind to the dispute between boxing and MMA. Should Couture lose, it in a way returns some of boxing’s might, more so because Toney has no experience in the octagon whatsoever. Should Toney suffer a humiliating defeat, it could give the impression that boxing is weak in the face of mixed martial arts.
“I’m not worried about what Randy’s going to do. I’m going to knock him out. After beating Randy, in October I’ll defend my boxing titles,” declares a confident James Toney.
“If I knock him down, he’s not getting up. Everyone in the UFC will call me the knockout king. I’m now an athlete in both sports and I’ll continue to do MMA. I’m excited about hitting him with these four-ounce gloves. Couture isn’t the toughest opponent I’ve faced in my career, that was Evander Holyfield,” he adds.
Toney has trained for the bout for nine months, he really may surprise some people. Despite the provocations, in the end he thanks Randy for the opportunity.
“I thank him, because he’s the only man to accept a fight with me.”
(Collaborator: Nalty Jr)