UFC 118 is intruiging because it will match a boxer, James Toney, against a wrestler, and a legend, Randy Couture. They're about the same size,
I'm pulling for the boxer. I still love the sport even though it has more organizational problems than the EpiCentre. But Toney is a 7-1 underdog in Boston Saturday night, and should be.
Most fights end up on the ground and if Couture convinces Toney to join him there Couture will win. Boxers train to hit and avoid being hit. Toney has won 72 professional fights. But he never prepared to avoid having his arm twisted, his knee dislodged or his neck caught beneath a forearm.
Toney's only chance is to hit Couture before they hit the canvas. Couture, at 47 five years older than Toney, has never fought anybody with Toney's punching power. Toney will wear lightly padded mixed martial arts gloves and not 12-ounce boxing gloves, so the impact will be greatly enhanced.
But if Toney makes a mistake -- if he allows his arm to dangle or his feet to become tangled or fails to sustain his balance -- Couture forces him to submit.
Dana White, who runs UFC, is a former boxer. We talked several times when he brought his show to Charlotte. Not surprisingly, White finds mixed martial arts more exciting, and predicts an easy Couture victory.
White probably is right. I've never paid to watch a pay-per-view UFC card. But if I weren't at the Carolina Panthers-Tennessee exhibition Saturday, I would be tempted.
Good luck, James Toney. You will need it.