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Will Couture vs. Toney Actually Answer the Boxing vs. MMA Question?

(Video courtesy YouTube/UFC StannFan1)

The hype behind this weekend’s James Toney-Randy Couture showdown has focused largely around the "Is MMA better than Boxing?" quandary, which, up until this point has never really been answered, and in my opinion really won’t be answered by this fight.

The question really should be "Who would win in a fight between a top-tier boxer and a top-tier MMA fighter?"

Because they are so evenly ranked in their respective sports, many feel that the winner of the fight will solve the boxing vs. MMA riddle, but when you really think about it, how does it solve anything? Couture should win the fight considering he’s been training and fighting in the sport for the past 13 years and Toney has never had to contend with kicks, takedowns and submissions in a fight in his life.

It would be like having a professional tennis player play against a professional baseball player. Sure, the tennis player might be able to luck out and connect with a 100-mile fastball and hit it out of the park, but it isn’t likely to happen. And since they don’t typically toss a ball farther than a few feet in the air when serving, the chances of a tennis player striking out an MLB player, while not totally out of the realm of possibility, are pretty much slim to none. They just don’t have the specific skill set to be competitive in a sport they have never competed in, even if some of their sport’s required skills can be transferred.

The reason why the UFC was created was to answer the age-old question of which form of combat was the most effective or the best, so really this is just the same thing. It’s a question of whether or not MMA, which has basically become a hybrid martial art itself, is more effective than boxing in a fight.

Toney keeps saying in interviews that he’s going to be the first two-sport champion in MMA and boxing — like the combat sport version of Bo Jackson. The difference is Jackson, although he was never great at his two sports (and was never a champion), he was very good at baseball and football. Toney is a very good boxer who used to be great and he will be a mediocre, one-dimensional MMA fighter.

If Toney loses he will likely make the excuse that he would kill Couture in a boxing match, which is absolutely true, but MMA isn’t boxing and more times than not, successful fighters in the sport have come from one strong discipline like Toney and built their careers around improving on their weaknesses.

Take Couture, for example. He was just a wrestler when he first stepped into the Octagon and if you’ve seen any of his early UFC fights, it’s painfully obvious that he was not very comfortable standing up. Sure he was a great wrestler, but unless he could catch an opponent in a single or a double and take him down to the mat — into his world — his wrestling didn’t mean squat.

Sure there have been boxers and mixed martial artists who have crossed over in the past, but none at seemingly equal points in their respective professional careers as Toney and Couture seem to be at. Because of this, it makes more sense than ever that the question of which sport’s athlete is a better fighter will soon be answered, but it won’t.

Cagepotato Comments

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BrutusBox- August 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm
you clearly never watched Bo play football, he was beyond great at football, had it not been for his career ending knee injury after just a couple of years in the NFL, we would be talking about him right up there with emmitt smith and barry sanders.
Joedirt- August 27, 2010 at 12:22 pm
Rolls... i understand that Toney says crap like boxing is better... but there are countless articles and posts about how Toney is nut job so why would that statement have credibility. It shouldn't but the UFC has made advertisements about it. I think anyone can win any fight, I wouldn't say grappling is better, with the exception of his last fight Silva has managed most of his career with his hands, chuck liddel in his prime made his money with just his hands. Any fighter any style can win. I do however think striking vs striking that the top boxers have the best ability, not even because of training but because of money. If some of the UFC fighters could strike with just their hands as well they would do it for some fights to make the money. 10 million is better than 20 thousand any day. Not too mention most UFC fighters have full time jobs... tough to be the best in the world when you train AFTER work.
Fried Taco- August 27, 2010 at 7:58 am
I'm a lateral sprinter. And a damn good one, too!
JoseMonkey- August 27, 2010 at 7:53 am
I get a nickel every time I mention old dad, so here's a link to his recent article on covering this same topic:

itsgalf- August 27, 2010 at 6:27 am
James Toney Round 1 via armbar submission.

You heard it here first, folks
El Famous Burrito- August 27, 2010 at 6:08 am
As soon as I saw Bo Jackson's name, I immediately thought of Tecmo Bowl.

Glad to see Stak40 already has it covered.

Stak40- August 27, 2010 at 5:56 am
Bo Jackson was great at football and baseball player and could have possibly been legendary if he didnt have to quit because of injury. Plus nobody could fuck with him in Techmo Bowl.
myklhoey- August 27, 2010 at 3:54 am

i agree wit u man, any otha dude from any otha combat can come in and its all good, but wen a boxa does its all out war. but i do think the reason this ones so hyped up on boxin vs mma, is cause of all the nek talk toney did about mma and its fighters, but im thinkin he dont believe it, cause he acted real hard wen cameras were on him, but once they turned he went and showed coulture some respect. it deff wont settle the issue on wats more skillful and combatant, tho jus logic would tell u it takes more to be in a cage than in a ring, theres jus so many more aspects to it, it anit to hate on boxin, i wouldnt wanna throw down wit a boxa, but its jus staein the obvious.
DAZED&CONFUSED wats up brotha, its all love, i dont like online tuff guys eaitha, i was jus makin a point on how easy it is to touch a nerve regarless of the topic, everyones got a soft spot
TheHuytonHandGrenade- August 26, 2010 at 11:38 pm
We all know Toney just has that punchers chance and Randy will be able to take him down at will and pound on him its gonna be a long long night for James Toney!
RPS13- August 26, 2010 at 9:14 pm
that video was so goddamn awesome
Turd Furgeson- August 26, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Well said. +1.
Wait, am I qualified to give +1s? Somebody ask rex... I'd ask him myself, but I know I'm not qualified to talk to the likes of him.

@medium rare

So the best fighter is the guy with nucular arms? Isn't Saddam Hussein dead? I guess that Korean guy is the man now.
Mike Russell- August 26, 2010 at 8:19 pm
 I agree MediumRare, which is why I keep a telescopic baton in my desk. You never know when you might need it.
MediumRare- August 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm
If the question is who would win a fight on the street the answer is not the boxer nor the mixed martial artist nor the BJJ black belt nor the national champion wrestler.

It is the person who makes the best use of weaponry. A bat or staff usually trumps empty hands. And a pistol usually trumps a bat or staff. And a rifle with combat armor usually trumps a pistol. And a tank trumps...

You see my point. It's a stupid fucking argument. Give it up.
Randle McMurphy- August 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm
Please move to the front of the class Mr jfjjfjff.

Although i must issue a demerit for suggesting boxing came before MMA. Pankrase is 8000 years old, or close to that.
RwilsonR- August 26, 2010 at 6:25 pm
Not to mention that boxers that constantly criticize the stand up of MMA fail to recognize that boxing technique cannot work in MMA. It just doesn't.

I think without the gloves, and having concern for the complete game, a boxer would even lose the stand up to some of the better strikers in MMA. Their muscles can't handle the grappling, and their years of relying on a boxing stance and gloves for defense would make them susceptible to a totally different striking style. There is a good reason you see so many overhand rights in MMA, and not a lot in boxing... and it isn't because MMA fighters are awful at stand up technique.
RwilsonR- August 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm
I really don't like the comparison or MMA vs. Boxing. Because it is pretty obvious that Randy will beat Toney in the UFC. The problem with the comparison is that when Randy beat Toney, boxers will say, "Well, yeah... but if an MMA fighter steps into a boxing ring they will lose." And they would be correct, but it is a false comparison. Boxing isn't a complete fighting art, and it is useless if there aren't rules to allow them to win under circumstances they have trained for their whole lives.

To me, it shouldn't be a Boxing vs. MMA comparison. It shouldn't be a comparison at all. It should be simply - who would win in a fight. Essentially that is what MMA is, and what boxing is not. MMA has rules, but they are just to stop cheap shots. Other than that, it is about as close to a fight as we can get. So if you ask, "Who is a better fighter?", it should be obvious that it is Randy in this case. And it would be the MMA fighter that would win a fight over a boxer nearly every time.

ccman- August 26, 2010 at 6:02 pm
Tooney = no.

Just watched sf houston fully. Notes
18 #s = almost 10 per shamrock. Nice math.
Lashley is a joke.. on a coker level
Gus johnson wears more make up than the hooker blowin me.. and prolly swallows more. Tell him call me so I can tell him myself mike.
Noons is innocent minus the knee.
Sf must hire non drag queens to announce.... the make up is bad. The squeals is too much.
King mo should be queen moeisha
Lashley could challenge for the sf title. No props to juicer, discredit to sf hw's
Ballkick- August 26, 2010 at 5:34 pm
JT has as much of a chance winning this fight as I gave Chael Sonnen beating Anderson wait, much chance as Brock Lesnar submitting Shane Carwin, wait, much chance as Matt Serra knocking out, wait, much of a chance as a Black man becoming,......oh never mind.
Mumbles is gonna hit the canvas and stay there till the ref stops the fight.
fatbellyfrank- August 26, 2010 at 5:22 pm
^ Sorry dude, I cant see Mumbles ever getting any respect from MMA community, His shit talkin (if you can understand anything he says) about MMA in general, and also about Randy, who IS an extremely highly regarded member of the MMA community, IMO precludes him from ever being accepted or respected in MMA.
IMO hes just a shit talkin has been looking for a payday.
Hopefully the events on Saturday unfold like this
Randy GnP's him into submission
Dana & Brock enter cage at completion of bout
Dana fires the fuckwit there & then and tells him never to darken the door of MMA again
Brock drags him out of the cage by the earlobe kickin his fuckin ass all the way back to the exit where he tosses him out into the street
MMA fans worldwide start cheering and high fiving.
Rolls Royce Gracie- August 26, 2010 at 5:13 pm
@DirtyJoe - This IS boxing vs. MMS because Toney keeps talking shit about how boxing is better. The BJJ guys and wrestlers, even champions in their respective disciplines, who come to MMA don't talk that kind of shit before their first fight. If the last Olympic champion wrestler got signed and started saying he's going to be the UFC champ because wrestling is so far superior to MMA, then you'd have a situation like we do with JT. Only I'd give an Olympic wrestler a lot better chance of winning than I do that fat bastard.
mt59801- August 26, 2010 at 5:10 pm
Mayweather vs GSP would be boxing vs MMA. This is an out of shape, once great boxer who has tested positive for steroids trying to a break into a sport that might respect him and let him cash in on his boxing notoriety for a couple of years until he finally hangs it up.
jfjjfjff- August 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm
i don't really understand why the question even exists at this point. hasn't it been proven long ago that striking arts are, on the whole, less effective than grappling arts? ask the gracie family.

given that, why would anyone even compare the complete fighting sport like MMA with a sport that (although first) is restricted to a small piece of the other sport.

it isnt like a tennis player vs a baseball player... it would be like comparing the best tennis players to the fastest lateral sprinters in the world. YES those guys would mostly win in a lateral sprint contest vs tennis players, but the game of tennis is much more involved and dynamic.

you arent just concerned with running back and forth (punches), you have to worry about hitting a ball accurately, spins, different surfaces, depths, velocities etc (kicks, clinches, takedowns, submissions, etc).
weedrulz15- August 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm
"Sure there have been boxers and mixed martial artists who have crossed over in the past..." (e.g. Butterbean)
El Guapo- August 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm
The Natural by RNC, which isn't gonna prove a whole lot except that a closed mouf don't get fed, nawmsayn?

Mumbles is tough, which is normally a good thing but on this case will only get him beat up more than necessary. It's gonna break my heart to see him wiggle around helplessly while Randy softens him up with ten, fifteen, twenty shots from the mount/side mount until he gives up his back. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. We'll always have the memories.(Boyz II Men playing in the background) Side check kick, Dark Gable, O.G. death fighter, Black Jebuz. Peace out, playa.
Get Off Me- August 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm
Bo Jackson was great at football and baseball, anybody who plays at the professional level at any sport is great at that sport.

Put Toney on a three fight parlay just so you can say "I told you so" to your friends if he wins. I think the fightpickers show how serious fellow CP members feel about mma v. boxing and which sport will win, it's really a simple and effective way to market this fight for the UFC.