It’s officially on. Not the just fight, the debate!
James “Lights Out” Toney, the current IBA heavyweight titleholder and mixed martial arts Randy “The Natural” Couture are going to match fighting skills in the Octagon on August 28 in Boston, Mass.
The masses are amassing with sides forming on one side or the other and out-of-control MMA fan boys and boxing purists debating hysterically over who will win and who will be done like a three day cooked steak.
At the moment most are predicting that Couture, who is fighting in his natural element, will use his takedowns skills to avoid the punching prowess of Toney.
“There are a lot of things to worry about in MMA,” said boxing world champion Elena “Baby Doll” Reid who also captured an MMA title before losing it.
However Toney has been training for MMA when both he and Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White met in a closed door meeting back in January and hashed out whether a fight was feasible for Toney who captured world titles in the middleweight, super middleweight, cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions of professional boxing.
But could he defend against a kick or takedown.
“Don’t worry about it,” Toney told White.
White told Toney that he did not want to stage a fiasco and embarrass the sure to be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame prizefighter.
Juanito Ibarra, who formerly trained Quinton “Rampage” Jackson until he lost to Forrest Griffin, worked with Toney for five months. But the toll of driving from near the Ventura County line to Orange County was too much.
Now training Toney is Trever Sherman who works tirelessly with the boxing genius on ground game and defense.
“He’s 100 percent improving his skills on the ground,” said Sherman who works with Toney in the San Fernando Valley. “When you got the experience he has fighting in front of big crowds in big events, plus he’s almost a savant. He learns so quickly. Fighting comes naturally to him. His grappling skills are going to shock everyone.”
Most MMA experts give Toney a mere puncher’s chance. The fighters themselves are holding off on any predictions. They know that boxers like Nick Diaz and others have cracked through to the upper levels of MMA.
“He’s a fighter,” said Sherman. “It doesn’t matter what kind, he’s fought in front of thousands of people before. You can’t teach that.”
Toney laughs that MMA fans are upset he’s fighting in their arena.
“Your fighters don’t want to fight me in my thing so I’m going to go into your thing,” said Toney. “Don’t forget. I’m using four-ounce gloves.”