Leading boxers make their picks for Randy Couture vs. James Toney

The UFC spoke recently to several leading figures in the boxing world about who they expected to win between Randy Couture and James Toney at UFC 118. To find out the thoughts of champions such as Andre Berto, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, David Haye and Steve Cunningham on Saturday’s “UFC vs. Boxing” superfight then read the following extracts from the press release:

Andre Berto – WBC welterweight champion – father Dieusel Berto fought in UFC 10

“I think it’s going be a good fight. Everybody knows Randy is not gonna stand up with James. If he does, it will be a short night. Most likely Randy is going to try to take James down and try to submit him so UFC can be glorified that they’re better than boxing. Hopefully James Toney has been working on his wrestling and ground skills. If so, it’ll be very entertaining.”

“Terrible” Terry Norris – Former world junior middleweight champion and pound-for-pound king

“I just wish James luck and may the best man win. We know if it was just straight up boxing, James would knock Couture out, but James is fighting Couture’s fight and he’ll have his hands full.”

Miguel Cotto – reigning WBA junior middleweight champion

Prediction: Couture

“Two great fighters, one trained in MMA and one in boxing. In a boxing match, I give it to Toney and in an MMA fight; I have to go with the MMA fighter (Couture).”

Greg Haugen – former world lightweight champion – fought Vinny Pazienza, Ray Mancini, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Pernell Whitaker

Prediction: Toney

“Unless Toney is fat and out of shape, he will destroy Randy. His standup game is way too strong for him. Remember, James is one of the most skilled guys out there if he is in good shape.”

Paulie Malignaggi – Former world junior welterweight boxing champion

Prediction: Couture

“The problem is, most boxers, even in their prime, would not last in MMA. These guys know how to grapple and kick, and the same could be said the opposite way – no MMA guy is gonna last in the ring with a boxer if they’re boxing. You’re going into somebody else’s domain.  And not that Couture is a spring chicken, but if you look at James Toney, he’s always a guy who’s been a close-range fighter – shoulder rolls, dips, counterpunches. He never really had an outside game that was so special. He had slow feet and was plodding, but he had good upper body movement. You can’t do that in MMA, especially with Couture, who was a Greco-Roman wrestler.  He’ll just wrestle him, take him down, choke him or ground and pound him. I don’t see how James Toney can win the fight, even if Couture is the older guy, but the best to both guys.”

WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan

Prediction: Couture

“Toney has to make his punch count right away, but Couture will be watching for that. In any fight, you need a plan B and I don’t think Toney has one in a UFC fight.”

Sechew Powell – Number one IBF junior middleweight contender

“I think if James can keep the fight on his feet he has a decent chance, but the minute they take the fight to the ground it’s over.”

WBA heavyweight champion David Haye

Prediction: Couture via submission

“I admire Toney’s courage, but six months of training isn’t going to be enough. As a UFC fan, I know two or three years wouldn’t be enough. He’s delusional here. Couture isn’t only going to end his UFC career inside a minute, he is most likely going to break James’s arm or leg and end his boxing career too.”

Christy “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” Martin – Women’s boxing pioneer

Prediction: Couture

“I have never watched a UFC Pay-Per-View event, but I will be watching JT. I want James to win, but he’s stepping into Couture’s domain, therefore I think it will be Couture stopping James with his ground game.”

Steve “2 Pounds” Forbes – Former IBF super featherweight champion

“It’s an interesting matchup. I think the question for Toney is, is he insane or is he a genius? He’s not taking on a regular MMA fighter; he’s taking on a legend in every sense of the word, but not only that, he’s doing it in Couture’s discipline and that takes guts. If Toney is successful, then he has opened up a whole new avenue for himself and other boxers to go into MMA. Toney has always been a risk taker and he’s fearless, and for that I root for him to do well. But I also love Captain America (Couture) because he’s from my birthplace of Oregon and has done great things in the sport. I hope it’s a good match.”

Steve Cunningham – IBF cruiserweight champion

Prediction: Couture

“Toney’s got a puncher’s chance, but this isn’t boxing, and Couture’s not gonna stand and trade punches with him. This is Randy’s sport and I see him winning. Plus, he should be extra fueled to win this fight because of the disrespect from Toney, but I hope it’s an awesome fight either way.”

Fres Oquendo – heavyweight boxing contender – lost 12 round split decision to Toney in 2008

“James’ only chance is if he connects clean on Randy’s chin like Ray Mercer did against former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia. If not, I see Randy taking James down and that will be the beginning of the end of James’ MMA debut. Number one, because James has no legs, as I showed the world when we fought, and two, he has no ground game experience, which gives Randy the edge.”

Former two-weight boxing champion Ricky Hatton

Prediction: Toney within a minute or Couture

“James has a very good sense of timing, so there’s a chance he will land the one shot he needs and score a win right away. But, having been ringside at Randy’s fight with the much bigger Brock Lesnar, I think it is almost certain Couture will be able to maul Toney to the fence, take him down, and finish him there.”

Jeff Mayweather – Renowned trainer and former pro boxer

“I think it should be interesting. Toney has the advantage in a stand up match, but if he gets taken down Couture should win because he has way too much experience. I heard Toney was working with a top grappler and doing real well but I don’t think you can take a crash course in something like that and perfect it. And vice versa, there’s no way Couture could become a great boxer overnight, so I think a lot will be determined after the very first blow. I will be watching it for sure and I’m pulling for James Toney because I know him personally, not because he’s a boxer. These are two different sports and I think that they both have their own fanbase, but the two of them combined will make this a huge event.”

Australian boxing champion Danny Green

Prediction: Couture

“Toney is a slow starter and Randy will tear him apart.”

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