(Haye poses with freakishly large ex-champ Nikolai Valuev, who Haye defeated by decision last July. No, there is nothing wrong with your computer screen.)
For those of you who don’t follow boxing, David Haye (24-1, 22 KOs) is the reigning WBA World Heavyweight Champion who James Toney says he’s going to fight in October, right after he beats up Randy Couture at UFC 118. Coincidentally, Haye is a big UFC fan who trains in MMA in his spare time, so he can appreciate the danger that Lights Out/D-Block is putting himself into by taking a fight against Couture, even if Toney doesn’t seem to get it. From Kevin Iole via BloodyElbow:
[Haye] doesn’t believe Toney’s going to be able to fight him after he gets pummeled by Couture, though he has mad respect for Toney’s boxing skill and record. “James Toney is the purest of the pure at boxing,” Haye said. “He is so brilliant at boxing and his skills are so ingrained in him that he’s been an elite level fighter, in shape or not in shape, his skills alone put him on another level as a boxer.
Haye believes Couture will take Toney down quickly and easily and pummel him on the ground…“Six months of training isn’t going to be enough,” Haye said. “As a UFC fan, I know two or three years wouldn’t be enough. How many times has Toney sprawled in his life? 500? How many leg kicks has he taken in his life? 300? How many Kimura attempts has he defended? 140? Even if he’s done double that amount, he wouldn’t have nearly the experience needed to win a UFC fight.”
Haye said Toney would be best off if he lands his punches early, because if he’s not finished after grappling with Couture on the ground, he’s going to be surprised by how beaten up and heavy his arms feel.
“I know from training in MMA myself that the wrestling aspect ruins your punching power,” Haye said. “After a minute of grappling, your arms, back and shoulders fill with blood and even if you then find space to throw punches, your power is suddenly crap.
“And I hit a lot harder and I’m so much faster than James, and I couldn’t land a punch on fighters when all they wanted to do was take me down to the ground. James is a much more static fighter than I am, and is going to get thrown on his back immediately by Randy. I admire Toney’s spirit and boxing skills. But he’s delusional here.”
Haye’s criticism follows comments by notable trainer Freddie Roach, who suggested that Toney was being fed to Couture to make MMA look better than boxing. But to hear Haye talk about kimuras and they way your arms fill up with blood while grappling, it seems like he has enough knowledge about both disciplines to make an unbiased judgement about Toney’s UFC prospects. Which begs the question — when is David Haye going to get his shot in the UFC?