Boxing
Toney/Couture: A (Boston) Massacre for the Senses
Lyle Fitzsimmons

By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor


Ocala, FL (Sports Network) - The trigger finger is already itchy.

And by the time 9 p.m. (et) Saturday rolls around, it'll surely be in all-out spasm.

At that point - with a menu of preseason football, first-run movies and inane sitcoms at my disposal - I'm going to have to determine just how much this whole curiosity thing really means to me.

Because after a month of training camp snippets and the predictable "we'll destroy you" run-up from both sides of the boxing/MMA fence line, the match between multi-division ring champion James Toney and long-time cage menace Randy Couture is just hours away.

Part of me - the part that couldn't care less about a 10-years-past-prime boxer and a nearly AARP-eligible ex-wrestler - will be perfectly content to save the $50 and wait to hear the chest-thumping "we told you so's" from the winning camp come Sunday morning.

If Couture wins, boxing is dead.

If Toney wins, the cage is closed.

Blah, blah, blah.

But the other part - the one that's already tossed more PPV cash down the drain over the years than I care to recount - is just stubborn enough to make a case for another outlay and the chance to see train-wreck history in real time.


If James Toney wins, the MMA cage is closed.
Going in, the possibilities for tumult in Boston seem endless.

Maybe Toney lands a sleep-prompting left hand as Couture goes for the legs.

Maybe Randy disregards James' tap-out pleas and breaks a bone or two for kicks.

Maybe a guy in a hang glider arrives and gets the hell knocked out of him by one of the entourages.

No...wait, that last one already happened. But it'd be kind of cool to see it again, no?

Anyway, what's far more likely is the bland scenario that's kept me from getting into the whole MMA thing in the first place - the promise of all-out carnage, but the delivery of mild titillation.

Sensational one-shot KOs in the commercials.

Laborious five-round grapple-fests in the main events.

Though, to be fair, such end-result frustration is hardly limited to the cage set.

My move south of the Mason Dixon prompted zealous initial interest in NASCAR - but passion waned after hours of monotony were infrequently halted by the odd glint of drama.

Oh sure, you've got multi-car wrecks or driver-on-driver spats for prurient interest, but nothing worth the tedious slow-mo breakdowns of pit crew alacrity with the lug wrench.

With those as my options, give me a Joel Casamayor highlight loop any day.

Either way - and regardless of your go-to diversion - it's hard to fathom the fuss over this one.

No matter the acumen of either man in his given profession, it's not hard to forecast a life-and-death struggle for whichever crosses the line into an unfamiliar environment.

If B.J. Penn or Brock Lesnar stepped between ropes against high-enders Mayweather or Klitschko, they'd be hard-pressed to last three rounds with two hands as weapons.

And as the 42-year-old Michigander will prove imminently, the opposite holds true as well.

It's hard to see Saturday ending in any manner other than quick takedown followed by painful submission for Toney - officially graduating the ex- middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight kingpin to the WWE, Dancing With the Stars and Celebrity Fit Club set.

As for Couture, even that won't prove a thing.

In fact, anything less than immediate surrender might as well be a loss for the UFC - exponentially more painful than the nine-second shame laid on Tim Sylvia by long-time heavyweight wannabe Ray Mercer last summer in Birmingham.

And if the unthinkable happens and Toney pulls a Mercer, only a dual Kimbo Slice starching of both Klitschko boys will set the scales of violence back to even for the Affliction T-shirt masses.

Heck, it might be worth 50 bucks just to see them sniffle.

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TV TOPICS (Some fights may not be televised)

SATURDAY iN Demand/DIRECTV/DISH Network PPV - Guaynabo, Puerto Rico Ivan Calderon (34-0-1) vs. Giovanni Segura (24-1-1) - WBA light flyweight/WBO junior flyweight titles

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.

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