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Media notebook: James Toney says he is open to fighting in both MMA and boxing simultaneously

By Zach Arnold | August 30, 2010

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James Toney: “MMA guys got guts…boxing guys are all talk and no walk”

Read the whole article (it’s a quick read), but take note that Toney says he wants to continue doing both MMA and boxing fights and that he loved the atmosphere with the fans at UFC 118 in Boston. He was critical of where things are heading with boxing and not being able to get rabid fans. He claims that he will have a boxing match in late October.

UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell still undecided on future; return still possible

Liddell says he wants to fight multiple times, but fight only in the UFC. Dana White says that if Liddell wants to continue fighting, he would give him a release. In other words, nothing’s changed since Vancouver.

BJ Penn’s performance puts future in jeopardy

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, BJ Penn’s home area newspaper, sends a message his camp isn’t going to want to hear.

Kenny Florian did not take too kindly to what Dana White had to say about him being a ‘choker’ this past weekend. The Herald article has more quotes from Florian about being outwrestled in fights and responding to White saying that Florian can’t win in big fights.

Former wrestlers boast versatile skill set in the (UFC) cage

This is a USA Today article about Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. To no one’s surprise, Gray thinks that Floyd Mayweather’s in-ring performances are entertaining.

MMA safer than some sports

This is a very interesting letter sent to The Windsor Star newspaper about the calls for MMA bans by medical communities in North America.

UFC expands presence in China, Asia

Now this is a great, informative article to check out if you are interested in just what exactly Zuffa is up to in terms of their plans to get into the Chinese marketplace.

Denver Post: Mixing it up in the gym and the ring

New amateur MMA event called the Rocky Mountain Beatdown featuring a Colorado vs. Colorado State alum theme this Friday night.

Topics: Boxing, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 25 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

25 Responses to “Media notebook: James Toney says he is open to fighting in both MMA and boxing simultaneously”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) James Toney is right about the difference between boxers in MMA guys. Boxing guys pad their record with 15 to 20 fights before they even test themselves against somebody who is a threat. And sometimes that is after having a 100+ bout amateur career on top of that. MMA fighters are more likely to test themselves more early on in their careers. It’s not uncommon to see a fighter only have 10 to 15 fights and fight for a UFC belt. The same thing could be one in boxing with prospects but they hold them back to the point of almost sufficating their progress. Of course, sometimes it is too extreme for MMA, like how Team Quest throws their athletes to the wolves far too soon.

    2) Chuck Liddell needs to retire. He is delusional. He probably sees what Matt Hughes is doing and somehow tricks himself into thinking that he can duplicate it during the twilight of his career. The difference is in their styles and the way they have aged. Hughes has aged nicely, Liddell has not. And Hughes’ style isn’t based on taking huge shots in an exchange.

    3) There is a lot of talk about BJ Penn being overrated now. There is some truth to that. I said it in a previous thread on this website…. That he’s a front runner. He’s just a more talented version of Vitor Belfort, but with the same sort of heart. He completely lacks heart when he starts to get a beating thrown back at him. I can’t think of a fight that he lost a round and then ended up coming back stronger the next round and changing the tide. He either dominates or mentally crumbles. People buy into Dana White’s hyping of him too much when they call him this great fighter. Sure, he was a champion, but he also 5-5-1 in title fights…. Which is hardly impressive.

    4) As for Kenny Florian…. White is right, but it’s more then that. Florian is a choker. But he also just isn’t good enough to compete with the elite of the division. He has no answer for a really strong double leg takedown. And isn’t physically strong enough to compete with those Sherk/Maynard types.

    5) I seriously doubt the UFC can break into China, but more power to them for at least trying. They will need a Chinese Mega-star in order to really break out. I just don’t see that happening.

    • Jonathan says:

      45 Huddle,

      Nothing against what you are saying, but you re-regurgitating verbatim what was said on Sherdog and Bloody Elbow. In your point 3), Sherdog BATB said the exact same thing (verbatim) about BJ Penn not winning a fight that he had lost a round in. Jonathan Snowden in his article about BJ Penn uses the 5-5-1 in title fights line.

      If you are going to use things that other MMA writers/radio personnel use, please be sure to cite them instead of claiming that they are your own thoughts.

      Outside of that, BJ Penn losing two fights to Frankie Edgar does not mean that he is over rated. This is just what people say whenever someone loses. It’s stupid, it’s knee jerk, and it needs to stop.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Which is funny because I don’t go to Sherdog except for their Fight Finder. I have a link to that Fight Finder on my browser that way I don’t even have to see their headlines. Oh, once in a while after an event I check out Beatdown After The Bell, but that is the night of. And I purposely skip Snowden articles over at BE because he is a troll. And a guy who actually hurts that website. I have a spreadsheet of the title histories on my computer that I view those stats off of… Along with such stats like which fighters have the most losses…. Penn is #2 all time with 5. Along with fight time in championship fights…. Penn is also #2 at 201 minutes and 5 seconds. Couture is #1 in both categories, if you were wondering. If multiple people have come to the same conclusion, that doesn’t mean they have read each others works.

        I hardly say people are overrated just because they lose. I’m the guy who says that if a #4 ranked fighter loses 3 fights in a row to #1, #2, & #3…. That he is still the #4 fighter in the world.

        And Penn would still have to be ranked #2 in the world. But we aren’t talking about rankings. We are talking about how people have hyped this guy up beyond what is reality. They talked about him like he was some unbeatable fighter. The same way they did about Fedor. The same way they did about Silva before he got beat down for 4.5 rounds by Chael. The same way they still talk about GSP like that. Every fighter is beatable.

        Penn especially has always been beatable with huge holes in his game. his great gifts have made it harder to see those, but the guy can’t take a beating and come back from it.

        Not to mention he is cocky and an complete ahole.

        • Oh Yeah says:

          I don’t know that he has huge holes in his game. You’re talking about the fighter with arguably the best chin, boxing and BJJ in the sport.

          Now, all of this talent is offset by liabilities including his team, strategy (preparation and in-fight adjustments), and mindset.

          That line about Penn never winning a fight he has lost a round in is false as Florian notes that he took rounds off of Penn according to the judges. But the idea is correct as Penn is exactly what he called GSP – a frontrunner.

          The typical BJ win as of late has been to box until his overmatched opponent is weakened, then to simply finish the job while meeting little resistance on the ground. It’s a straight-forward strategy that fails to maximize the threat posed by his well-rounded skillset. Guys like BJ, Rampage and Alves are just starting to realize the dangers of trying to impose a one-dimensional game vs. top shelf fighters.

          Credit to BJ for pushing for takedowns in some rounds, but he really should have been the one taking the fight to Edgar. His aggressiveness is gone for the time being, and that doesn’t tend to bode well in any sport. At least in this case its more a case of his mind not being in the right place than his body being incapable.

        • Jonathan says:

          Very good post 45. Honestly.

          Two questions for you:

          1. When Kongo beat CroCop, in your mind, did that win make Kongo a Top 10 Heavyweight?

          2. Do GOAT discussions need to be discussed when talking about fighters that are currently fighter, instead of talking about fighters 10-15 years after their career is over?

        • edub says:

          Those are pretty good questions Jonathon. IMO, Kongo cracked the top ten right at #10 after the upset because I believe at the time CroCop was still top 5. I may be off, but I’m pretty sure he dropped his next fight to Herring right?

          To your second question, that’s a debate that has been going on in boxing forever. Especially with Floyd/Manny being so dominant right now, and BHop’s career end drawing near. I just think we do it more in MMA because there is no history to draw from when discussing all time greats. So for right now when names like, Fedor, BJ, Hughes, Wanderlei, Anderson, Shogun, and GSP are thrown out; the all time great tag follows suit.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Yes, I had Kongo in the Top 10 after his win over Cro Cop.

          I’m not the one initiating the GOAT comments. It’s BJ’s crazy fans who think the guy has never lost a fight in his life. I’m trying to debunk them.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I should also point out that I really don’t put any sort of weight into comparing fighters from different weight classes. I see the value in talking about who the best Heavyweight is. Or the best Welterweight. It’s comparing apples to apples. But the fight game is so different for a Heavyweight compared to a Welterweight that trying to put the fighters in some sort of a discussion is foolish.

          I think MMA has mature enough that we can START to have some of these discussions. Here is my list of BEST fighters based on weight classes. As you will see, half of them are vacant as there really isn’t a definitive answer at this point…

          HEAVYWEIGHT – Fedor Emelianenko
          MIDDLEWEIGHT – Anderson Silva
          WELTERWEIGHT – Georges St. Pierre

          I will say that even though Shogun has never had a huge run, if he beats Rashad Evans, I would put him on the list. At that point his resume would have wins over:

          Quinton Jackson, Alistair Overeem, Antonio Rogeriuo Nogueira, Ricardo Arona, Chuck Liddell, & Lyoto Machida.

          If you put Evans on that list, he is #1 all time and leap frogs over the rest of that division all-time.

    • Steve4192 says:

      You couldn’t be more right about Chuck and Hughes.

      Chuck spent his prime partying hard and wrecking himself with booze almost as much as the physical trauma from training/fighting. Hughes spent his prime being a boring homebody. The ultimate anecdote for this is the Lee Murray streetfight story from Matt’s book, where Matt had to get the details second hand because he went back to his hotel to go to bed after UFC 38 rather than going out and partying it up with Chuck, Pat, Tito, Lee and the boys.

      It’s no surprise that one has aged gracefully while the other is falling apart.

    • Fluyid says:

      “Boxing guys pad their record with 15 to 20 fights before they even test themselves against somebody who is a threat.”

      Very true, but …

      Four rounds bouts are way, way different than ten rounders. Night and day. It’s like comparing a 10K to a marathon. You have to learn to go longer rounds, and it’s not a simple matter of better conditioning.

      There has to be at least some time given to making the transition to the longer fights. Not as many as usually done, but at least a few fights before jumping in with the upper quality guys, all of whom have gone the longer distances.

      Four rounders can seem short and even fighting six rounds seems way longer.

    • robthom says:

      “Boxing guys pad their record with 15 to 20 fights before they even test themselves against somebody who is a threat. And sometimes that is after having a 100+ bout amateur career on top of that.”

      Even if a lot of those guys are relatively bums, that much impact about the coconut cant be expected not to have an effect on the brain.

      Maybe boxers should have much less extensive records for their own good.

      I’ve always heard that its a large part of the politics and an expectation though.

      The ESB fellows said that it proved that MMA fighters were only neophyte journeymen because they had not been punished to the head for 6-12 rounds 200 times.

      MMA fighting for an equal period of boxing is probably much better for your mind, although admittedly exchanging that for the damage to your knees and back.

    • BJ Penn shows glimpses of being great. Losing to a guy you are a heavy favorite over like Frankie Edgar is not something a great fighter does. The fact that its happened multiple times is a real problem.

      I’ve seen people make the comparison to Shane Mosley as a defense of BJ’s greatness. Thing is, no one considers Shane Mosley to be the greatest fighter of his generation. He’s not #1. Not #2. Not #3, #4, probably not even #5. Roy Jones, Bernard Hopkins, Felix Trinidad, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao – all of those guys probably get ranked above him. Is BJ Penn the 7th or 8th greatest MMA fighter of the present generation? Probably. And he’ll go down as a historical figure. But he’s not the man that was sold to the public or that is often claimed to be.

  2. David M says:

    BJ Penn is not overrated. Look who he has lost to: Machida (close decision against #2 205er in the world), GSP X2 (even though he won the first fight and GSP cheated the second fight), Hughes, prime Pulver, and Edgar x2, 1 of the 2 being a bad decision.

    He beat Matt Hughes at the latter’s absolute apex and was well on his way to doing it again before he got hurt; look what he did to Diego, a guy whose only 2 losses previously were to Fitch and Koscheck in fights where the AKA guys literally did nothing and Diego ended both fights entirely unscathed; he beat Gomi when Gomi was considered one of the 2 best in the world, he beat Sean Sherk whose only 2 career losses were to GSP and Hughes, both much larger men. To say BJ is overrated would be the kind of idiot mma-bandwagon-fanboy logic that many unintelligent mma fans display.

    If you want to say BJ may not have the fire he had when he was younger or doesn’t prioritize mma how he should, that is another issue. When he was killing Stevenson, Florian, Sanchez, etc, he was training with the Marinoviches in Cali and was in amazing physical shape. For this fight and his previous fight against Edgar, he didn’t look particularly cut and didn’t seem to have the ability to get into the highest gear when necessary. He has a little baby and he seemingly would rather spend time with his family then protect his legacy. As a fight fan I wish he would do the opposite, but it’s his life. The only thing that to me seems to be beyond reproach is the man’s talent level.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      He fought Machida when Machida was a nobody… Not as polished as he was now…. And fatter. Besides, it was still a loss.

      This is like the 3rd period of time in Penn’s career that he has been marked as “unmotivated”. That is a bad thing.

      And here is why he is overrated…

      1) They hyped him up like he is some BJJ wizard, yet he has no back game. He doesn’t come close to submissions and isn’t a threat off his back. All he does is take poundings an hard shots from his back.

      2) He has never had great cardio. Some people were tricked into believing so because of his fights with Florian & Sanchez. Yet those fights were at extremely slow paces. When he is forced to go beyond his slow pace, he gets winded and his performance level decreases greatly.

      He is a product of hype and an overhyped Lightweight Division. So here is a guy who lacks heart, real cardio, and a ground game. Not to mention he does not game plan properly. And how does a fighter with those faults even get into the discussion of being one of the greatest of all time? He shouldn’t.

      • Oh Yeah says:

        BJ has a very strong defensive guard. But, he chooses to control or go for sweeps rather than attack for a submission.

        I don’t know why he’s chosen his particular style, but he has great knowledge of the closed guard and must have a particular reason for not attacking as much as he could/should.

        It seems his goal is to get top position, which makes sense as he’s devestating there. For me, it made Edgar’s escape from back mount all the more impressive and was basically the nail in Penn’s coffin.

  3. liger05 says:

    Do people honestly expect up n coming boxers to be fighting the best in there weight classes after say 8 – 10 fights? That’s silly talk. Its not simply about padding there records but learning there craft. Even a fighter with hundreds of amateur fights behind him has to be treated carefully as amateur boxing is a totally different animal. Hence why so many good amateur’s do not translate those skills to the pro game. I would agree that some promoters go too far in protecting there investment but I wouldnt like to see fighters getting world title shots after 10 fights. That wouldnt be good for boxing!!

    • edub says:

      But the thing is they don’t have to be world title fight, that is part of the problem. After five fights in they should be pushed to 6 rounds. After 10 fights in they should be ready for 10 rounders. If fighters are undefeated after 15 fights they should be given legitimate threats(or tests if you will). Not career “opponents”.

      Aleksander Povetkin is a former Gold medalist. He has been looked at as the next great champ for a little while by some. He is 19-0, and was one of the main hopefuls to go against Vladimir Klitscho(after Haye punkd out yet again…). He declined the matchup, and stated the reason for doing so in he’s not ready yet. He’ll be 31 on september 2nd.

  4. grafdog says:

    Kenny is delusional if he thinks his performance was “choke free”. He froze up every single round, In the first he had at least a dozen openings to throw the left hand but never did.
    After that his corner should have pointed out that the wrestler was in range for the left whenever he faked a shot.
    Kenny just stood around throwing a few outside kicks hoping it wouldn’t go to the ground, and when it did he was nothing down there. He must have had staff again, I’m sure BJ had staff too, or maybe they trained together.

  5. robthom says:

    I disagree with dana about Kflo.

    I’ve never noticed any problem with his desire.

    In fact I’ve always been impressed with his fighting heart ever since he was fighting and beating guys at 185 on tuf.

    Wrestling, and power wrestling specifically sounds more accurate. He can pick up some more wrestling, but even more he has to figure out a way to nullify being outpowered.

    Maybe leave the striking alone for awhile and take his BJJ to an even higher “brazilian” level to better trap the stronger guys.

    I think Rossen nailed the Toney situation pretty good.

    Toney can win some MMA fights, and look good doing it, against the right opponents.

    IE: if the promoter wants him too.

    Which also entails making his price worth the promoter desiring that over just making another easy example of him for someone else (cheaper) on their roster.

    Showtime/EXC might have been a better match the whole time.
    What with their own boxing programming and even cross promotion with it.

    Although they probably dont have an extra mil.

    But now that thats over they do need more fighters, and spectacles.
    If he wants to really do MMA for the sport and earn the top payday’s before demanding them.

  6. David M says:

    I wonder if paradoxically getting destroyed by Couture will raise Toney’s stock in boxing by getting his name out there and getting him more fights.

  7. Mark says:

    I won’t count Penn out, since the man has been left for dead several times and has managed to stage a comeback.

    But, obviously he’s in a much tougher position than he was those other times. There’s nowhere else to work that would give him name fighters (since beyond a Gilbert Melendez fight what else does Strikeforce have that anybody would care about at Lightweight?) or big pay days (since he isn’t a big enough star in Japan for it to be worth DREAM paying him big money to come in to fight Aoki.) And certainly he’d just get beat by most of the top Welterweights if he moved back to 170 in UFC. So really I have no idea what he does but hope Maynard beats Edgar and try his luck against him. Maybe fight Guida and Sotiropoulos in the meantime.

    As for Toney. No, there’s no coming back from this. This was a historically bad fight. Like, up there with that Ken Shamrock promoted farce or Jose Canseco-Choi. I really doubt UFC would use him again, if they do they’re going to catch hell for it. And he’s tainted beyond the point where it would be worth it for Strikeforce or any semi-major org to pick him up. And the ones that would use him for name value don’t have the kind of money he’d want to fight for. Hopefully he invests his 700 grand well and moves on to fighting for the WBOPPELOLF heavyweight championship of the world at a crappy casino near you.

  8. David M says:

    I don’t think Penn loses to all the top WWs. Stylistically he would pose a lot of problems for Jon Fitch; BJ has better hands, is faster, hard to take down, and is considered to have good sweeps and subs. Where Edgar excelled using speed and movement to keep BJ off-balance, I think Fitch would really struggle and probably lose.

    • Mark says:

      Fitch has the size (and therefore strength) advantage over BJ, so I think he’d outpower him like St. Pierre did for a UD win. BJ is talented as hell, but size does matter grappling. He also has a history of gassing with the extra weight on him. He has a very small frame, so he’s never going to be big enough to comfortably hold weight equal to the other WW’s to compete.

      And trust me, I hate saying this as much as I can’t stand Fitch.


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