Boxing
PPV circus warrants no lasting impression
Lyle Fitzsimmons

By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor


Ocala, FL (Sports Network) - C'mon, folks...please tell me no one took it seriously.

Even as James Toney was entertaining and bombastic. Even as he claimed to be hardened by months of cross-training. And even as he assured us he was quick enough, precise enough and powerful enough.

Please promise me that we all saw through it.

Because if people really headed into last Saturday night with the idea that a fat 40-something would do anything other than flame out quickly against a still-prime MMA performer in that performer's discipline of choice, they really need to have their heads examined.

And as for anyone coming out of it with the idea that one sport's superiority was definitively proven...well, you might as well stop reading right now.

Because you're definitively an idiot.

The notion that a boxer half a decade past a significant win and 50 pounds over ideal weight would be a remotely competitive litmus to gauge anything at all is simply ridiculous.

When the two men stepped to the octagon in Boston, it was clear to a blind man that the UFC had nothing to gain and everything to lose.

As for boxing, it was no more than a warm-up act.

I mean, seriously...was it that hard to figure how it would unfold?

Couture goes for a takedown, gets Toney to the mat and applies a finishing hold within a couple of minutes. And as it turned out, he did precisely what he was supposed to do.

So what?

If the roles were reversed and the match had been surrounded by ropes instead of chain link, Toney gets the same burden of proof...win inside of a round or two, or be labeled a failure.

Don't think so?

Just ponder the reaction had Couture challenged Toney in a ring and gone the distance.

Or in this case, imagine the fallout had Toney actually landed the go-home punch he'd promised to deliver on his burly foe, or somehow managed to grapple well until the final bell.

A recession-extending dash to return Affliction T-shirts.

A sudden dip in newborn males named Dana.

And a screeching halt to the cage-fighting frenzy as we know it.

But because things went according to chalk, the juvenile back and forth endures.

The MMA extremists claim a victory. The boxing fatalists lament a disgrace.

And through it all, Mr. White just laughs and counts cash.

To that I say...bully for him.

In the "credit where credit is due" department, plucking a still-recognized but hopelessly out-of-place plum off the squared-ring tree was a master stroke deserving of every curiosity-fueled $50 outlay the PPV show garnered.

I'm not a big fan and don't anticipate being converted, but anyone who thinks the guy can't promote his product isn't playing with a full deck.

In just the time it took to evolve from Nos. 1 to 118, his sport has gone from no-neck gimmick to lead-worthy ticker item on basic cable sports channels.

And while I don't believe it'll erase boxing from the map, it'd take the same fool to insist it hasn't become a go-to distraction for the disenfranchised teen-age segment not already enamored with Justin Bieber and the Twilight trilogy.

Not to mention those seeking a fresh alternative to Monday Night Raw.

As for the "which athlete would win" debate, it's never made sense anyway.

Any boxer, be it a towering Wlad Klitschko or a miniature Manny Pacquiao, would be in over his head against a credible foe with the latitude to kick, tackle or choke.

The flip side is just as true.

No UFC menace, not St. Pierre, Silva or Lesnar, would be properly equipped to handle an elite boxer with only two gloved hands available as arsenal.

In the end, it's an unsolvable argument.

So why even bother?

Instead of the mindless chest-thumping, why not just let both sports exist on their own merits?

Like one? Like both? Like neither?

Feel free to enjoy.

But whatever choice is made, try and man up and resist the urge to bash the other side...and maybe the uncivil war can stop before it takes hold again.

It makes no sense. It wastes everyone's time. And it gives unwarranted platforms to scads of Internet hacks thinking they have the stuff of real journalists.

Besides, everyone knows the real measure of athletic prowess anyway.

And it has nothing at all to do with right hooks, left jabs or jiu-jitsu.

No sir, my tough guy friends. If you're really out there trying to show your manhood, I've got two very different words for you.

Lawn bowling.

* * * * * * * * * *

TV TOPICS (Some fights may not be televised)

SATURDAY FOX Espanol -- Guadalajara, Mexico Omar Nino Romero (29-3-2) vs. Ronald Barrera (27-7-2) -- WBC junior flyweight title Jorge Solis (39-2-2) vs. Francisco Cordero (23-0) Rafael Guzman (25-2) vs. Andres Romero (15-3)

Lyle Fitzsimmons is a veteran sports columnist who's written professionally since 1988 and covered boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and posted online for clients in North America and Europe. Reach him at fitzbitz@msn.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/fitzbitz.

Jabs, hooks or knockouts, Lyle Fitzsimmons can be reached at fitzbitz@msn.com.