Forget James Toney vs. Randy Couture: We Want Floyd Mayweather vs. BJ Penn

Tommy Torkelson@Tommy_TorkelsonCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2010

Do boxers stand a chance in a MMA environment against said fighters? Would the Klitschkos have a fighting chance against Brock Lesnar? Interesting questions, given the scenario.

It's like the argument "would such and such NFL player do good in the ___?" because, while some skills in say, the NFL, like speed and power could translate to some other sports, that player's weakness might come to the forefront, like his shooting ability or the ability he possesses to hit the baseball.

Michael Jordan gave crossing sports a shot, playing minor league baseball, and eventually took his ball and went home. To the NBA, that is.

If the greatest of all-time in his sport couldn't switch to baseball, who's to say a boxer, especially one out of his prime like James Toney, could successfully do so in a MMA octagon?

It's the perfect setup for the MMA and Dana White, UFC's evil genius.

Boxing has long been the "sweet science" and considered a skill sport, while UFC and Strikeforce among other MMA operations have been considered brash and savage fighting exploits.

However, the tides are turning in favor of MMA, as record pay-per-view numbers and fight night arena sellouts continue to pile up with the numerous fan favorite fighters growing more and more popular, and mainstream.

James Toney was recently running his mouth, "defending" boxing.

"When I heard Dana White say MMA fighters are better than boxers, I had to put a hold to it. That's why we're here," said Toney of his reason to take on a UFC Hall of Famer, Randy Couture.

"He didn't call me out, but he called boxing out," said Toney. "People were telling me this. When I heard that, I had to step up to the plate for boxing. I represent boxing. I represent old school; that's me."

Memo to James Toney: Boxing is old school. You are old school. MMA is new school and you are very much so out of your element. And oh, by the way, you're out of your prime in your own sport, so why are you so confident in your chances in the octagon?

"I wanted to fight Brock, but he was sick and I didn't know that. So I said, 'What about Chuck Liddell?' He was sitting there all scared and nervous. I wasn't gonna hit him there. And then Simba...or Kimba or whatever you call him...Kimbo Slice, but they ain't want none of that.

"Then he [Randy Couture] says, 'I want James Toney so I can baptize him into the UFC.' Fine. Let's do it. If fans out there don't like me, that's too goddamn bad. After August 28 you all really ain't gonna like me because I'm gonna destroy your so-called legend. A guy with 12 losses is a legend. Ain't that a b****."

Strong words, but from a man with a 72-6-3 win-loss-draw record for his boxing career.

About the UFC itself, and it's legitimacy, Toney says "Ya'll got sh** backwards, but I'm gonna clean it up."

If James Toney loses to Couture on August 28, as expected, MMA would reign supreme again, this time in head to head with boxing.

Could Mike Tyson have gone against Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell in their primes and continued being the "baddest man on the planet?"

Of course there is no true way to determine that Tyson or any other boxer would have/could have beaten a MMA fighter of a similar weight and prominence, but it is an interesting topic for debate.

For the sake of argument, I'd like to open debate to a Floyd Mayweather-BJ Penn boxing/MMA superfight...

Jiu-jitsu vs. uppercuts. Grappling versus speed.

Says Mayweather of his fighting, "I respect what [Ray] Robinson and [Muhammad] Ali did for the sport. But I am the greatest, and this is my time."

Would "Mayweather Time" continue after a MMA bout with BJ Penn?

Penn is a grappling technician. Mayweather is one of two fighters in the history of boxing to go an entire round without being hit.

To say Mayweather would be a tough grapple, is an understatement. His speed, vision, and anticipation make him a nightmare for any opponent, and this would immensely help him in a MMA fight.

There is something to be said for crossing over sports and attempting to play by different regulations and rules, though.

I assume the shins of Mayweather could be chopped down with a strong kick because in boxing training, Mayweather has no reason to numb or destroy the nerve endings in his legs. However, in MMA, this is quite common due to the training of some fighters.

So how would this fight score in categories of Punching, Stamina, Technical Skill, and Heart?

Punching: No question here. Taking Mayweather down to five ounce MMA gloves will only make his punches stronger and faster. Penn's reaction time, and his chin, would take considerable hits.

Advantage:   Mayweather 1 , Penn 0.

Stamina: This is an interesting category to break down, because while Mayweather goes potentially 12 rounds with boxing, and constantly is throwing, blocking, or moving his feet, one could argue Penn or other MMA fighters exert the same or similar energy in a full length MMA Title Fight of five rounds.

Advantage: Draw , both fighters awarded a point, Mayweather 2 , Penn 1

Technical Skill: BJ Penn is a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Floyd "Pretty Boy" Mayweather got his nickname for his lack of fighting scars, which is because of his skilled defense and his footwork which keeps him out of corners, a huge asset in "the squared circle."

Does Mayweather's footwork outweigh Penn's jiu-jitsu dedication and tactical skills, which could quickly end this fantasy fight if Mayweather were to go down to the ground? The answer is: not even close. Every Boxer dabbling in MMA will have something in common: If they go down to the ground, the fight is over, without a doubt.

Advantage: BJ Penn 2 , Mayweather 2

Heart: What this fight will (or should I say, "would") come down to, is heart. Can Penn sustain the haymakers Mayweather would without a doubt be able to deliver? Could Mayweather keep from being on his back or on the ground in general, where Penn could show him just who the better fighter is? It all comes down to the will of the fighter.

Mayweather has been rocked early in fights, only to come back, finish strong, and leave no doubt to his will and heart.

Penn has been in plenty of his own fights where his will to win has driven him through his opponent, but one could point to his match against Matt Hughes, where he came out of the gate hot.

Dominating the first two rounds, Penn fell to his own endurance issues, not being able to dig deep and pull through for the decision, as he eventually tired out and lost the fight.

Advantage: Mayweather and Penn both get a point here, again, as Penn's experience in his style of fighting should give him the advantage and confidence, along with the heart to withstand the punches at least for a while. However, Mayweather's ego is bigger than his bank account, and he loves to back up his smack talk, which I'm sure the weeks leading up to the fight would be filled with.

Mayweather/Penn 3-3 Tie, but I'd predict the match result to either be an early K.O by Mayweather, or an early submission by Penn. This one wouldn't dare reach the second bell.

This matchup is a very tough pick, but given the circumstances, I'd give Penn the edge if the fight went to the ground, but Mayweather the edge, if it stayed a fist fight.

What do you, the MMA and boxing fans of B/R, think of this hypothetical fight? What about Toney-Couture at UFC 118? Do you have a fight you'd like to see between boxers and MMA fighters? Let me and the MMA community know in the comments below.


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