It’s been a while since I covered any MMA news, but we’re coming up on UFC 118, with Edgar vs Penn and Couture vs Toney, and I couldn’t resist not talking about this showdown in Boston on August 28th.
As a boxing fan from way back, I grew up watching James Toney, Tyson, Evander, Spinks, and all the other great heavyweights duke it out on HBO and PPV on Saturday nights. I loved those nights, watching the fights with my dad, while he drank beer and smoked cigarettes like it was his job. As the 80’s turned into the 90’s, we saw a new crop of fighters emerge and we still sat religiously in front of that RCA alter and bought every fought my parents could afford.
Then in 1993, I saw my first UFC fight and I was hooked. This was something all my own, something new and dangerous. My dad watched it with me and he got a kick out of it, but he was faithful to boxing and felt the UFC was going to fade away, which it did, almost to extinction.
But, here we are in 2010, and now that boxing is on the verge of extinction, MMA has become the new combat sport that has the big stars and PPV draws. Football players, baseball players, wrestlers, and actors are all clamoring to get into the sport. Even my dad has started to watch a few fights here and there.
The Couture and Toney really intrigues me because it’s the first legitimate fight between a legendary mixed martial artist and a legendary boxer. Call it a freak show if you will, but this fight must happen so that either the final nail in the boxing coffin can be hammered in, or so that the boxing promoters can get their act together and figure out how to bring back real fights and real stars that people actually want to see fight.
I like what Hopkins says here, especially about taking the teeth out of a lion’s mouth. Right now, boxing has no teeth, nor any legs to stand on, and James Toney could be it’s last hope.