Fight fans surely remember the time boxing great James Toney met MMA great Randy Couture in one of the first big-name crossover fights of its kind. It was back in 2010 that Toney, agreeing to fight Couture under MMA rules, climbed into the cage.
The fight, one that saw Couture win inside a round (just over the three-minute mark, having “choked” Toney) was a big deal, even if it was nowhere near as big as the upcoming Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight. Mayweather will of course fight MMA’s McGregor under boxing rules; something Toney tells Sky Sports he would have loved to have done in a return fight with Couture.
Despite finding out first hand how extremely difficult it is when attempting to switch from one combat sport to another, Toney says he gives McGregor a shot at beating Floyd; and Couture, who also spoke with Sky Sorts, agrees with him.
“Everybody knows I’m not a ground and pound fighter, I don’t do that” Toney told SS. “I’m a straight up boxer. I did train, but the guy [Couture] is a phenomenal wrestler. I tried to get up, but…. My plan was to knock him out quickly but he got to my legs, took me down, and did what he did. I would have loved for Randy to do a boxing match but he wouldn’t. My fight has got nothing to do with Conor McGregor. He’s got to do him (Mayweather). Do whatever he can.”
But will McGregor be able to do much of anything against as seasoned, as special a boxer as Mayweather? Most experts doubt it, but Couture disagrees.
“Comparing boxing and MMA has been going on since the creation of mixed martial arts, but they’re apples and oranges,” Couture said. “James Toney, back in 2010, decided he wanted to step into the MMA cage and try his hand, because he was a top-ranked boxer. But that didn’t fare too well for him. I wasn’t silly enough to try James Toney’s hands while wearing 4oz gloves. That would have been ludicrous. I was happy to represent MMA in that match. McGregor won’t get knocked out (by Mayweather). He’s younger, he’s bigger, he’s unorthodox as a southpaw. He won’t throw things that Mayweather is used to seeing.”
Seemingly everyone agrees how McGregor has the proverbial “puncher’s chance”, but it’s tough to see him beating an all time great boxer like Mayweather in his pro boxing debut.
Still, we should certainly see a more competitive and longer fight than Couture-Toney. One of the big questions going into the August 26 fight is, can Mayweather score a KO?