Tomorrow night, James Toney, a four division boxing champ fights Randy Couture, a former UFC champ in a caged MMA match.
It’s being billed as a test for boxing.
It isn’t close.
I think MMA is an intensely popular sport of it’s own and it doesn’t need boxing to be compared to. It’s an apples and oranges thing.
I also reject the idea that boxing is dead. This year I judged fights in Yankee Stadium with 25k fans. I wish boxing wasn’t on PPV but the big fights (at an obnoxious $55) often approach a million buys or more. That’s not dead.
Worldwide boxing is huge, particularly in the Phillipines, the Latin countries and Germany. Boxing has nothing to worry about.
Back to tomorrow night’s fight and what it will tell us. Toney is 42 and Couture is 47. They are both too old to matter. It’s a side show and not a barometer. An interesting sideshow, perhaps but nothing more.
I think it’s amazing that both are competing at this level but it won’t tell us anything. I judged Toney once fighting for the heavyweight title and he’s remarkable even when overweight.
I’m not a fan of MMA but I do respect it and I know Couture was one of the best.
These two sports don’t need to be pitted against each other, they can stand on their own. It’s interesting when a boxer enters the octogan like it was interesting when Michael Jordan played baseball.
Please don’t make assumptions about either sport regardless of the results.
When it comes to judging (if we must) the power of the boxer in such environments let’s wait until the cash in MMA is worthy of drawing a prime top notch boxer. James Toney, Ray Mercer and Frans Botha aren’t that.
To be fair, a 47 year old Couture isn’t.
Let’s let boxing and MMA exist like football and baseball.