James Toney in MMA, Kimbo Slice in boxing, will either succeed?

Source:Scott Heritage |http://www.examiner.com/

James Toney and Kimbo Slice are two fighters who find themselves in similar positions, both attempting to enter a new sport at an advanced age and if you listen to the bookmakers both appearing to have little chance of success.





After winning multiple titles in boxing in a career spanning 22 years, and with the big fights now drying up, Toney enters the UFC octagon for the first time tonight against Randy Couture, a 13 year veteran of mixed martial arts very few are expecting him to beat.

Although the fight is widely being billed as the latest installment of the rather played out concept of boxing vs. mixed martial arts, in reality the outcome says very little about either sport.

Toney began his boxing career at 160lbs back in 1988, ahead of his fight with Couture tonight he weighed in at 237lbs, heavier even than his most recent boxing appearances. So the idea that Toney is really crossing over with a genuine mind to succeeding in the long term in MMA is a little hard to believe. More likely he's looking forward to the 7 figure paycheck he's reportedly receiving from the UFC more than anything else.

The public obsession with seeing how well a top level boxer would do in MMA is still alive and well though it seems, despite the fact that the question has been answered numerous times in the past with various outcomes.

Generally speaking most boxers are either taken down and submitted, or kicked into submission in an MMA fight. Every now and then one will land a big punch and win a bout ala Ray Mercer vs. Tim Sylvia, but they are in the minority. So Toney's chances tonight are slim to say the least. He could certainly knock Couture out if he catches him, but where he has one way to win, Couture has several, and knows how to defend against Toney's only weapon

On the other side of the coin we have Kimbo Slice, a 37 year old Florida native who achieved notoriety through a series of online bare knuckle fights which were uploaded to Youtube. The basic premise being that he would travel to various neighborhoods and take on the resident tough guy, usually in a back yard or parking lot.

After achieving millions of hits and building a huge following in the process, Slice decided that he would be better served competing in mixed martial arts, and began his career under the now defunct EliteXC banner. After a brief spell in the UFC, Slice sported a record of 4-2, and seemingly didn't have as much of the drawing power as he entered the sport with.

Slice's next move after crashing out of MMA then?

Become a boxer of course!

While no official opponent has yet been found for Slice, aka Kevin Ferguson, it isn't easy to think of many credible heavyweights he would stand much of a chance against, even in today's rather shallow division. He might be matched up with easy fights for the short term, but with age not on his side he will need to progress quickly if he really wants to achieve anything in the sport.

Realistically, Slice left MMA for several reasons. Firstly he was getting too old at 37, and doesn't have the gas tank to keep up with younger more athletic opponents. Which is especially problematic given that he is on the smaller end of the heavyweight scale, but remains too big to compete at light heavyweight. Also he has had several problems with his knees, including arthiritis, meaning many aspects of daily mixed martial arts training were troublesome. Not only that, but his chin was called into question after he was knocked out by a natural light heavyweight during his last EliteXC appearance.

None of these issues will really be any different in a boxing ring, and outside of being paired up only with journeymen Slice's chances in boxing are probably even slimmer than Toney's are in the UFC.

Bud Johnson, Pittsburgh: "Toney is barely understandable, he should have given up boxing ten years ago, let alone starting MMA instead. He's getting beaten down quick"

James Greening, Philly: "Kimbo isn't getting in with anyone decent in boxing but Toney is getting thrown to the wolves in the UFC, Kimbo lasts longer in boxing than Toney does in MMA".














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