Former multiple weight boxing champion James Toney confirmed yesterday that he will fight MMA pioneer Ken Shamrock in September in a mixed martial arts bout, likely to take place in either Texas or California.
While details on the event are still sketchy at best at this stage, both fighters have apparently signed bout agreements, and are both already in training for the event.
In his only other MMA bout so far, Toney was manhandled by Randy Couture, losing just over three minutes into the first round.
To be fair to Toney though, the odds were stacked against him against Couture even more than they might have been given his age and inexperience.
Toney was essentially a novice and was put in against a former two weight champion. Even if he had seriously committed himself to studying and training in the various disciplines of mixed martial arts and had come into the fight in shape, he still wouldn’t have had much of a chance.
Ken Shamrock though is a different beast entirely to Couture.
While Couture had started to slow by the time he squashed Toney, Shamrock’s peak was back in the 90’s and since 2000 his record has been 5-10.
While once a wrestler of some note, Shamrock’s now often heavily bandaged knees and decades of injuries have left him as little more than a striker of late.
A striker without either the chin or versatility to hang with someone like Toney.
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There are even several as yet unconfirmed reports that the rules of the bout may vary round by round, presumably alternating between striking only and full mixed martial arts rules.
It isn’t out of the realms of possibility then that Toney could knock Shamrock out.
It also won’t prove anything other than the fact that Shamrock should have retired ten years ago.
As for why Toney is attempting a return to the cage after being flattened without having thrown a single punch in his last outing, it’s difficult to say.
His UFC appearance if not particularly palatable, was at least understandable. Toney talked up his fight with Couture for months, made a purse of $500,000 and likely got a slice of the pay per view sales as well.
At the same time his boxing career had all but come to a halt. Although he still holds a minor strap his less he has fought just twice since 2008, and on neither occasion against a high profile opponent.
Up and coming fighters don’t want any part of him due to the fact that he can still box better than most. Established stars don’t want to fight him because of his frustratingly tedious style that won’t sell any tickets or pay per views.
His bout against Shamrock isn’t in the UFC however, in fact even the name of the promotion hasn’t yet been released, neither have the venue or many other details of the event.
Most MMA fans lost interest in Shamrock several years and many losses ago. Similarly the interest around Toney competing in MMA quickly dissipated when he lost to Couture.
If nothing else though the build up to the fight should be fun, with Shamrock and Toney both being well versed in selling a fight even if neither can back much of their talk up these days.
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