You can add Bernard Hopkins to the list of professional boxers who think James Toney is making a big mistake stepping into the cage with Randy Couture. World Boxing Association heavyweight champion David Haye recently called Toney “delusional” for thinking six months of MMA training would be enough to prepare him for Couture. Then, the legendary Mike Tyson called the move “detrimental” to Toney. And now former undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins says “Toney is going to get his ass kicked.” (Audio via Hardcore Sports Radio)
I think James Toney is going to get his ass kicked… Listen, James Toney is out of his league. James Toney is James Toney in boxing. You gotta bow down to that, that’s the man. His record speaks for itself. He’s done well, he’s done more than well in boxing, but when you step out into a situation against a legend in his own sport, I believe and I’ll go on record, the best MMA guy or UFC guy goes up against the best boxer in the world, in their arena … gets their ass kicked. I don’t care if it’s Floyd (Mayweather), (Manny) Pacquiao or Bernard Hopkins, they get their ass kicked. It’s not what we do…
Toney fired back at Hopkins earlier today on a UFC 118 conference call.
“Bernard can go somewhere to get his damn teeth fixed and David Haye’s gay. I don’t care about none of that. They just (inaudible) miserable with that [expletive].”
Two other men who clearly don’t agree with Haye, Tyson and Hopkins are James Toney’s longtime head coach John Arthur and trainer Trever Sherman who replaced Juanito Ibarra in May to help bridge the gap between boxing and MMA. Sherman believes Randy will need to be rushed to the hospital if Toney get the opportunity to hit him.
“If James gets an opportunity, they’re going to rush Randy to the hospital.”
“I don’t think that anybody understands what [Toney] is or who he is,” Sherman said. “He needs six inches to hurt somebody really bad. I’ve been in his guard and he’s hit me, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s like getting hit by a car. He just shakes up your organs. And these are six inch body shots. He’s forgotten more about the mechanics of punching than most upper-echelon MMA fighters have ever learned.”
We had a kid come in the other day (that said), ‘I’ve been a sparring partner with this guy and that guy,’ and he was telling us [he doesn’t] spar with headgear on,” Sherman said. “We had to let him go because James would put him in a coffin. There’s nobody in mixed martial arts like James now. I think maybe – in his prime – Wanderlei Silva would have been the closest. Just a vicious, mean fighter.”
“I don’t understand the phrase, ‘punchers chance,'” Sherman said. “Randy’s got a grappler’s chance of holding onto [James]. There’s no secret in four of Randy’s last five fights (that) he’s been caught, and he’s gone down. Glancing blows – and he’s gone down.”
“I model my fighting after him,” Sherman said. “I think he’s the best at that game. I hope [Toney] doesn’t hit him full out. Because Randy will retire. You don’t recover from those strikes.”
If that’s the case, if what it takes to retire Randy Couture is a few shots from James Toney, Couture doesn’t seem too worried about it. He’s not hiding the fact that his gameplan is to put Toney on his back and once he has him there, he won’t be “terribly concerned” with Toney’s power, despite what his camp says Toney can do from that position.