My previous post, Boxing vs. MMA, set the stage for a showdown between the two popular combat sports.
On August 28th, 2010, boxing hall of famer James “Lights Out” Toney stepped into the UFC’s Octagon to take on MMA’s aging hero Randy Couture. The two athletes could not be more dissimilar. Toney, a phenomenally talented tough guy from Grand Rapids, Michigan, won the IBF middleweight title in 1991 and, when active, dominated the light heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions for over a decade. By 2003 he was competing successfully at heavyweight. He’s a bad dude with old-school skills and uncanny power. Outside the ring however, there’s little sophistication to him other than a thuggish, warlord’s charisma that commands respect and perhaps not a small amount of fear. That’s how it seems to me in his interviews at least.
On the other hand, Couture was a college wrestling standout, army veteran, and an Olympic alternate in Greco-Roman wrestling. Nicknamed Captain America, he’s articulate, outgoing, charming and loved the world over for helping to cement wrestling as one of the cornerstones of MMA. Plus, he never grows old. By the time of the Toney fight, he was 47. Toney was no spring chicken either at 42.
Here is YouTube video of the prefight hype to give you a taste of what this altercation was all about.
So pride was on the line. And bragging rights. Boxers and boxing writers have long held MMA with disdain, claiming that a good mixed martial artist will be no match for a good boxer in any arena.
So how did the hall of fame boxer do? The fight ended in the first round when Couture took Toney down with a low single leg, mounted him, and submitted him with a textbook arm triangle choke.
So that settles the debate. In the Octagon at least, mixed martial artists are superior to boxers, right?
Well, not really. Watch this.