Inside Fights » Randy Couture Inside Fights has world-class coverage of Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing combat sports including news, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Sat, 26 Jul 2014 01:07:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Inside Fights has world-class coverage of Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing combat sports including news, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Fights no Inside Fights has world-class coverage of Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing combat sports including news, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Fights » Randy Couture Bellator’s Reality Show Gets a Name and the Coaches are Revealed Tue, 05 Feb 2013 22:20:39 +0000 At long last, Bellator’s MMA reality program has the coaching line-up, approximate air date and name that have been talked about for months. The show, “Fight Master: Bellator MMA,” will debut this Summer on Spike TV with coaches Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Joe Warren and Frank Shamrock.

The show will feature 32 welterweight competitors that will fight their way into a “compound”: their version of a training and living space. Think “The Ultimate Fighter’s” house and training center rolled into one. Once there, four camps are created and fighters choose what camp they would like to train in.

Taping is to begin soon, with the fighters battling it out for a slot in Bellator’s welterweight tournament in the fall.

Also announced was another Randy Couture project, “MMA Rescue”, a three-episode series where Couture works to help rescue “struggling gyms into thriving enterprises.”×120.jpg

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Full Trailer For The Expendables 2 With Randy Couture Leaks – Watch It Now Before It Gets Pulled! Wed, 02 May 2012 16:00:51 +0000 The first full length trailer for The Expendables 2 has found its way online, albeit from a handcam. The film stars UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture, reprising his role as Toll Road from the original.

Make sure to check it out before it gets pulled.×120.jpg

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What Next For The Heavyweight Division After Alistair Overeem Drugs Test Failure Wed, 04 Apr 2012 22:55:40 +0000 Alistair Overeem Fails Drugs Test

Former K-1 Grand Prix and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and current number one contender to the heavyweight title Alistair Overeem has failed a random drugs test it was announced today. Overeem along with all other main card fighters were tested at a press conference in Nevada to promote the UFC 146 pay per view and ‘The Demolition Man’s’ sample came back showing an elevated level of testosterone, a result that indicates the illegal use of testosterone as a performance enhancing substance.

Alistair Overeem has been dogged by allegation of PED ever since he moved up to heavyweight and began adding significant muscle mass at an unusually late stage of his adult life. This positive test result comes off the back of controversy surrounding his last fight with Brock Lesnar. Overeem was licensed to fight at UFC 141 after failing to provide a timely sample for a pre-fight drugs test only on the condition that he took two random tests following his fight with the former UFC champion.

While there is a remote possibility that the test result is shown to be a false positive, perhaps following the testing of the ‘B’ sample Overeem provided at the same time as the one that has shown elevated levels of testosterone, it is highly likely that his eagerly anticipated title fight against Junior Dos Santos will be cancelled.

Frank Mir Should Be Next For The Title Shot

Should that happen then the UFC will no doubt scramble for a replacement challenger for what will be Junior Dos Santos’s first ever defense of his new heavyweight title. Luckily the all-heavyweight main card gimmick gives them plenty of possible contenders. Early reports suggest that the UFC sees former champion Cain Velasquez as the man ready to step into Overeem’s spot, but this would surely be a mistake. Velasquez has not fought since dropping the title to Santos in November and while he may have battling numerous injuries he still lost to the Brazilian in just a minute. As good as he is, Velasquez needs to win at least one fight before he can once again be considered a credible challenger.

Instead the UFC should look to the man Velasquez was scheduled to face at UFC 146, former heavyweight champion Frank Mir. While Mir has not exactly been setting the heavyweight scene on fire he has won his last three fights and a resume of Mirko Cro Cop, Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is nothing to be sneezed at. And with the brutal nature of his victory over Nogueira still fresh in everyone’s mind there’s a natural grudge between Mir and the champion, with Nogueira being Dos Santos’ trainer and mentor.

Mir has also made clear his readiness to step up, if needed. “I would be excited if given the opportunity to compete for the UFC’s heavyweight title at UFC 146 if the reports released earlier today regarding Alistair Overeem failing his ‘A’ sample drug test are true”. He added, “I have been fortunate to be able to fight in the UFC for more than a decade, and it is a dream of mine to become the first three-time heavyweight champion in the UFC. Being able to fight Junior Dos Santos would put me one step closer to that dream”.

A Division Still Divided

So prevalent are the sanctioning bodies in boxing that many of the sport’s most dedicated fans long ago ignore the claims of bodies such as the World Boxing Council or World Boxing Association to instead argue that he who beats the champion is the champion.

MMA fans may not realize this when they sit down to watch the latest UFC blockbuster event but unique amongst the organization’s seven divisions, the heavyweight champion does not have an undisputed claim to be the one, true heavyweight champion. Since Randy Couture left the organization in 1997 without losing his heavyweight title the lineage of the oldest championship in the sport’s history has been broken, with Couture twice losing in Japanese rings before returning to his old stomping ground inside the Octagon. As reported by the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, starting with Enson Inoue the lineal title would stay in Japan until eventually it was unified with the Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight title. It would remain Fedor Emelianenko’s bragging right until he lost to Fabricio Werdum.

With his victory over the Brazilian grappler last summer Overeem added the hypothetical lineal championship to the very real gold that already adorned his waist. His fight at UFC 146 against Junior Dos Santos would have brought to an end a rupture in the lineage of the sport’s most prestigious title that has endured for almost as long as the sport itself has existed. With that fight now in doubt, the doubt about whom is the true champion many continue for some time to come.

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Ultimate Insider 4.3.2011 – Mic’d up Rashad Evans, Randy Couture’s P4P List, & Jon Jones Wed, 04 Apr 2012 17:00:48 +0000 Missed last night’s “UFC Ultimate Insider” and want to watch it now? You can below.×120.jpg

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The Expendables 3 Set For This Fall? Randy Couture Seems To Indicate Shooting Schedule Set Up Mon, 26 Mar 2012 11:00:40 +0000 The Expendables 2 has not come out into theaters as of yet but apparently Randy Couture might’ve just confirmed that a third film in the trilogy, which hasn’t been announced by anyone deeper inside, had some interesting words for BJJ Addict.×120.jpg

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Top 11 Moments of 2011 in MMA Tue, 03 Jan 2012 23:00:09 +0000 2011 is a year of many things to many people. And in MMA this was a remarkable year in that history was made a handful of times by a handful of people. And while Inside Fights has presented a handful of pieces covering the best of 2011 in terms of knockouts, submissions and fights, 2011 was also a year of moments in the sport that forever changed it. Thusly I present to you the 11 top moments in MMA for the year 2011.

11. Brock Lesnar RETURNS and Alistair Overeem becomes a star in the process

If you’ve followed the K-1 Grand Prix for years, you’ll know that Alistair Overeem has some of the best striking in the world. But his MMA record didn’t reflect his ranking; he was ranked as the 2nd or 3rd best heavyweight in the world but there was enough room in there to drive a bus through it.

And then he went out and destroys Brock Lesnar in dominant fashion, thus silencing everyone who ever doubted him. Myself included.

Lesnar was never quite the same after two battles with diverticulitis; he wanted to make one last run at the title and then walk away, knowing whether or not he still had it. It’s admirable in a way; he didn’t linger around like Jens Pulver, fighting in regional shows and at bars convinced he can make one last run to the big show of the UFC. He’s walking away, not wanting to settle for fighting guys like Roy Nelson in the mid card, when he probably could still make a fortune fighting against second tier guys as a fringe contender.

10. An Icon Walks Away – Randy Couture Retires for the final time

He introduced the Greco-Roman clinch into the game and the concept of dirty boxing is something he pioneered the use of. An Olympic team alternate who entered the sport at an age when many would be walking away, Randy Couture was in the midst of one final great run. Submitting fellow UFC legend Mark Coleman and boxing great James Toney with a decision victory over Brandon Vera thrown into the mix, Couture wanted one man for his final fight in the UFC: Lyoto Machida.

Could Couture solve the sport’s biggest riddle?

After a round of frustration against the karate fighter, Couture’s final moments in a cage would be ones he probably won’t remember as Machida caught him with a spectacular front kick in front of 50,000 plus in Toronto. And while Couture walked away from the fight without explicitly mentioning the word “retirement,” having done so a couple times already and come back, “The Natural” walks away perhaps the most universally beloved fighter to have graced a cage.

9. “Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck!”

There’s something inherently amusing about Chael Sonnen. Whenever he opens his mouth something good is going to come out. After over a year of talking trash and legal problems for a variety of things, Sonnen finally got to let his fists do the talking against a true American hero in Brian Stann. Dismantling the Marine Corp Captain and submitting him in brutal fashion, Sonnen had only thing left on his mind.

Anderson Silva.

In what was one of the craziest moments of the night, and his career, Sonnen called Silva to the carpet for a Super Bowl rematch. And while it never came to fruition for a variety of reasons, it was one of the surreal moments of the year.

8. November 19th ends up with the two best fights of 2011

For fans of Bellator, Eddie Alvarez was the golden boy. Amongst the best ranked lightweights in the world despite not having a UFC contract, all he had to was continue winning in remarkably dominant fashion and no one could doubt his place with much veracity. Michael Chandler was a top prospect but for someone of Alvarez’s caliber was supposed to be another speed bump. After a barn burner of a first round, Alvarez seemed to be en route to another win. Chandler opted to make this a close fight, instead, and choked Alvarez out in the fourth.

For UFC fans, Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua was a forgotten main event. Coming off the first UFC on Fox, this was the card that JDS/Cain was supposed to headline and Hendo/Rua was an afterthought. And for three rounds, Henderson looked to be en route to a fairly dominant victory as well. Henderson was resigned to the UFC after a top run in Strikeforce, culminating with a knockout of Fedor and a light heavyweight title run. This seemed to be proof that Hendo was on yet another run back to a title shot against someone with a belt. A third round was close but if the fight had ended there it would’ve been a dominant win from the US Olympic team member. Rua wasn’t gassed and Henderson was, however, and Rua took it to him for 10 more minutes in what was an epic comeback in its own right.

One epic fight per year is something. But two in the same night? That’s something remarkable.

7. Dana White buys his competition … again

Leave it to Dana White to shock the world one more time. How so? He bought his competition. Again. It was one of the big moments of the year when the biggest competitor to the UFC’s MMA throne became his employees.

6. The UFC draws the biggest North American crowd to see an MMA event ever

With its biggest draw (GSP) taking on his most formidable challenge yet (Jake Shields), UFC 129 packed in the biggest crowd for an event ever. There was something EPIC about seeing such a massive crowd for a fight.

5. Fedor gets planked by Dan Henderson

I was there for this one, maybe 10-15 feet away from the cage itself, and there was something remarkable happening as both men came to the cage. This was a clash of legends and everyone in attendance was amped for it. You couldn’t hear Jimmy Lennon Jr. because of the roar for Fedor; the one for Henderson which preceded it was almost as loud. This was a crowd that had crapped on nearly the entire card, which was fairly lackluster in retrospect, and now they were unhinged in glee. After a wild brawl, Dan Henderson did what no one has ever done to the man who had one of the greatest runs in MMA history in the heavyweight division: turn his lights off.

You could argue that Werdum was a case of getting caught by a premier submission artist. Bigfoot Silva’s size played a big part in his win. But Henderson was about the same size as Fedor and caught him with a vicious punch that put the Russian down and out. It was as horrifying as it was spectacular; I really worried Fedor was seriously, permanently hurt as he went down. It was such a vicious shot, much more so in person than on television, and it was the type of moment Fedor based his reputation on delivering, not receiving.

4. Edgar-Maynard 2 becomes a draw for the ages

You couldn’t have scripted this fight any better if you wanted to. It’s the first main event of the year and a card that appealed more to the hardcore fans than mainstream ones. And what a war it was.

After a dominant round where he looked to be finished, Frankie came back and fought his way to what many thought was a victory. And Maynard thought he had the win, too, with a dominant first round and winning at least one of the next four. Edgar showed a champion’s heart in coming back after a disastrous opening round, something that would repeat itself in the rematch as well, and “The Answer” once again answered everything Maynard had for him. But the first time felt more special than their third fight because it was; we’d seen this before and knew that Edgar could will himself back. Going into the second round of their second fight, I wasn’t sure if Edgar was going to answer the bell.

And yet he came back and soldiered on, managing to get the draw in what would be the basis for a fairly engaging promo for the fight card. I had the first fight 48-46 Edgar but a draw, or a Maynard victory, was something I could see as well. There was no outcome that could’ve happened that wouldn’t have shocked me at this point. Right before the judges read the scores, one thing was certain: we had just seen what in any normal year would’ve been the fight of the year.

3. Tito Ortiz grave digs one more time

I had an entire article written, for the most part, about the fall of Tito Ortiz and what I presumed to be a final nail in the coffin defeat against Ryan Bader. It was really eloquent too, if I don’t say, with this grand tale about how pride goes before the fall and that Tito’s inability to adapt over the years coupled with injuries turned him into a shell of what he was. I even had a top 10 list of things I thought he’d use as excuses for his loss, including one involving Testosterone Replacement Therapy that was fairly funny. As he walked to the cage to “I’m not afraid” by Eminem, there was an ominous feeling in the air. This was his last walk to the cage and the MMA community was just waiting for his destruction to publish articles about the rise and fall of “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy.” I had one all ready but let’s face it: everyone did. But it wasn’t like the outcome was up in the air for most people.

Bader was a bigger, more athletic version of Matt Hammill, who had just destroyed Tito. You couldn’t have said back then that Bader was a favorable matchup for Tito. Coming off a loss to Jon Jones, Bader was still the best light heavyweight prospect in the UFC and a legitimate top 10 fighter. This seemed to be a case of Tito perhaps biting off more than he can chew, a former champion being put out to pasture by someone who could be one in the future. The epitaph on his MMA career was all but chiseled.

No one told Tito that.

Summoning up one massive punch that clipped Bader and then choking him out, the change in emotion went from confusion to elation. With everyone rushing to check on Bader, Tito dug a grave for Bader like he had for many other fighters over the years. As the MGM Grand exploded one more time, we got to relive a glory we’d never thought we’d see again. With two losses to top fighters signaling that this “comeback” was more of a mirage than an actuality, and Ortiz planning on one more fight before retiring, there’s still something magical about this win. Tito had gone from being the bad boy of MMA to redeeming his character over the years, two stints on “The Ultimate Fighter” rehabilitating his image remarkably, and for a brief moment the possibilities seemed endless.

It may have passed but watching Ortiz celebrate that victory when everyone counted him out reminded why I was a fan of MMA in particular and sport in general; sometimes it’s nice to see an aging hero show he’s still got it.

2. Jon Jones arrives faster and better than anyone could’ve imagined by destroying Shogun Rua

The UFC light heavyweight champion ended 2010 with the destruction of Vladimir Matyushenko and the perception that he’s on the cusp of greatness. He ended 2011 with the second defense of his title but the signature moment of his in 2011 was against Shogun Rua. Dominating the Pride stalwart from start to finish, the Jon Jones era began improbably after Rashad Evans’ knee injury opened up a slot for “Bones” in six weeks time. Stopping him midway through the third after beating down the champion in convincing fashion in only the way Randy Couture’s win over Tim Sylvia matched in terms of dominance, Jon Jones arrived.

It wasn’t over quickly and Rua didn’t enjoy it. But he was no longer the champion; no one knew it but Jon Jones before they stepped into the cage and everyone did afterwards.

And while his wins over Machida and Quinton Jackson cemented his status as the sport’s big rising star, the biggest moment for Jones was his title win. This was a ruthless, bloody changing of the guard like no other. Rua, the Pride stalwart and beloved by many hardcore fans, was dismantled by a guy who was in high school during the epicenter of the Pride era. An athlete level athlete, Jones upset the equilibrium forever in a shockingly violent manner.

1. Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez battle on Fox

When the most important fights in UFC history are written down years from now, this one will be up there with Griffin-Bonnar 1 and Ortiz-Shamrock. Why? Because this was the fight that gave a formerly outlaw sport and promotion mainstream credibility and was the first step towards MMA’s next major growth cycle. It may have lasted shorter than it took to read this column, but it was epic while it lasted.

The two best heavyweights in the world walked into the cage. JDS was the underdog, coming out to “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky to signify it one supposes. Cain comes out with a mariachi band, playing to his roots in San Jose, CA, and the Hispanic community there. Cain is the champ, no fear in his eyes. JDS comes out to the middle of the cage during the introductions, throwing down the gauntlet and daring the champ to meet him there. And then he became like Caesar in a way.

He came. He swung. He conquered.

The future is tough for Dos Santos, as there isn’t an easy fight amongst the contenders for the heavyweight crown. But for one night he was king of the world; he did what Mike Tyson did in his heyday by dismantling his opponent in a hail of power punches. For all the things that could’ve happened in the very first UFC fight broadcast on Fox, especially after such a remarkable broadcast that made you feel like this was just as big an event as the PAC-10 and BIG 10 college football conference championships (amongst others) that air on the same network, this brief slugfest was a preview of what should be good things to come.×120.jpg

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Diverticulitis Not Alistair Overeem Ended Brock Lesnar’s Career Sat, 31 Dec 2011 06:16:01 +0000 When the record books come to Brock Lesnar many will try to write that he was a fraud, a Bob Sapp or Kimbo Slice-esque special attraction who briefly captured the attention of the world before being exposed by better fighters.

It all looked very different in 2008 and 2009. Then a fresh Lesnar burst onto the MMA scene, mauling Mir before making a rookie mistake and then clearly defeating veteran Heath Herring and Hall of Famer Randy Couture in composed displays. Against both Herring and Couture he even showed signs of growing proficiency with his standup. The victory over Couture made him heavyweight champion and set him up for his rematch with Mir, where he destroyed his hated rival in one of the more brutal, one-sided beatings you’ll ever see. But that Lesnar would never fight again.

In Manchester, England on November 5th 2009 UFC President Dana President told a startled press conference that Brock Lesnar had been taken gravely ill and was fighting to save his career. Soon it would be revealed that Lesnar had suffered a crippling bout of diverticulitis, a disease that was literally eating away at his stomach. He narrowly avoided surgery but could not fully regain his former weight or strength. Bouts against Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez would see him struggle to impose himself physically on his opponents, a failure that exposed the technical limitations in his defensive technique. Only Carwin’s poor cardio would allow Lesnar to escape UFC 116 with his championship, a temporary stay of execution with Velasquez seizing the belt three months later.

Lesnar was due to face Junior Dos Santos for a chance for a quick return to title contention but again his illness derailed his plans. A fresh flare-up of his diverticulitis forced him to finally get an operation that would end the careers of most sportsmen, let alone those in as physical a sport as MMA. The toll the surgery took on Lesnar was downplayed by his enormous proportions when he emerged from deep seclusion in November, with fans and commentators relieved to see him back to his physical best.

But that clearly wasn’t the case. The Brock Lesnar who as an analyst was so quick to berate Velasquez for not rushing to get the takedown on Dos Santos, only half-heartedly tried one takedown against former K-1 Grand Prix Winner Alistair Overeem. The tentative tactics of the former NCAA Division I Champion were a clear sign that he knew his wrestling wasn’t where it once was. The brutal targeting of his surgically repaired stomach by Overeem must have only underlined to Lesnar that his time was over, a fact he acknowledge by publicly retiring immediately after the referee stopped the fight.

Without taking away anything from Overeem’s impressive performance, every MMA fan should recognized that it was not ‘The Demolition Man’ who demolished Lesnar’s career. No, that was done by diverticulitis. For the past two years Lesnar has bravely fought a losing battle with his own body, desperately trying to prolong a career that at one point promised so much. Who knows what he could have achieved if instead of dedicating all his energies to desperately trying to get healthy he was able to train like a normal fighter. If every waking thought wasn’t dedicated to defeating the disease inside him, maybe he could have continued his early progress in improving his striking and BJJ.

But let’s not solely focus on what Lesnar could have done, for he still managed to achieve things that are worthy of celebration. For anyone with only seven UFC fights to have faced three former world champions (one of those twice) and two undefeated prospects is incredible. More than that it is truly inspiring that a man who was financially set for life in the world of pro-wrestling had such a burning desire to compete that he left the safe world of Vince McMahon’s WWE to become the sportsman he was meant to be. It’s just a shame that by the time he found his true home inside the Octagon, the clock was ticking to his biological doomsday.

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The Expendables 2 Gets Trailer, Explodes With Awesome & UFC Champion Randy Couture Thu, 15 Dec 2011 04:00:41 +0000 After the trailer for the sequel to G.I Joe came out and seemed to inspire some folks, it seems only appropriate that Sylvester Stallone and company to blow that completely out of the water.

Plot Summary: Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Lee Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) — with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard — are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time – six pounds of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother×120.jpg×206.jpg

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On Set Pictures: Randy Couture and The Expendables 2 Tue, 08 Nov 2011 17:00:06 +0000 The Expendables 2]]> After retiring earlier this year, the victim of a knockout from UFC 140 headliner Lyoto Machida, Randy Couture is certainly managing to stay busy. Some pictures from on the set of The Expendables 2 have found their way online.×120.png

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James Toney’s Latest Embarassment Shows How Boxing Got Small Tue, 08 Nov 2011 00:28:26 +0000 A bumper weekend of fight action started early on Friday, when James Toney traveled to Russia to face former interim cruiserweight champion Dennis Lebedev, a man who last year fell to Marco Huck via a very controversial decision. If boxing fans thought he had totally embarrassed himself against Randy Couture at UFC 118 last year then over the course of twelve rounds they were proven very, very wrong.

In many ways it was a fight that complied with the old adage “I can cope with despair, it’s the hope that kills me”. The simple fact that the former super-middleweight champion had got in decent enough shape to weigh under 200Ibs was genuine cause for celebration, and piqued more than a few’s interest. The theory being that if Toney was disciplined enough to get in half decent shape, then maybe we were going to see him put in a decent performance against an opponent who needed twelve rounds to knockout Roy Jones Jr. back in May.

Alas it was not to be. Lebedev held his side of the bargain as he was as hopelessly one dimensional an opponent as you could hope for. But Toney was utterly useless, in ways that made it one of the saddest sights in boxing. The man who had once been so famed for his ability to slip punches with superior head movement could do nothing to avoid the pedestrian offense of his rudimentary opponent. A man who had once delighted fans with his superior footwork could do no more than plod forward and lunge aimlessly. Sometimes he couldn’t even do that as on more than one occasion he collapsed to the floor as his shockingly uncoordinated legs imploded beneath him.  He didn’t land a single meaningful punch and on all three judges’ scorecard lost every round.  Absurdly Lebedev picked up another interim title for this nonsense.

As for Toney he talked about fighting on. Already there is talk of him facing Roy Jones Jr. and there’s also the possibility of the previously announced crossover fight with MMA legend Ken Shamrock. The one thing that is not likely is the one thing that should be happening – and that is retirement. With that frequent foe of boxers the IRS having given Toney perhaps his worst beating of the past few years (and let’s face it that’s saying something) the former three-time world champion is in no position to leave the one job he’s had his entire adult life.

And that of course is a familiar story. Boxers may occasionally earn big money but they seemingly always spend it even bigger. And naturally there’s unscrupulous promoters looking to profit from the hard times of an aging legend. More often than not the profit is tied up with trying to give their latest prospect the rub, after all the two fights were awful and Lebedev poor in them but the Russian can now walk into a rematch with Huck claiming the scalps of two of the most gifted fighters of recent times.

And while it’s easy to blame the fighters who fight on and it’s even easier to blame the promoters that exploit them, surely those who those that enable the whole fraudulent fiasco are also to blame. And that’s the fans. Those that poured into the arena on Friday, those that watched on television worldwide and those that will be impressed by Lebedev’s boasts about defeating two legends. Why do we all do it?

To me the answer is a mixture of misplaced hope and very real despair. The hope is that for one night only we get to see the legendary fighter turn back the years and give the younger fighter a real run for their money. So, so often it turns out not to be the case but there are enough examples such as Evander Holyfield outclassing Nikolai Valeuv and Erik Morales looking staggeringly good against Marcos Maidana to keep boxing fans watching every other faded veteran as they’re trotted out to pad somebody’s record.

And then there’s the despair at the fact that the young fighters just aren’t as interesting as the legends of yesteryear. What modern fighter has the devil may care personality of James Toney or back up the bravado as he did in his prime? What modern fighter can match the genius of Roy Jones Jr. or the rugged determination as Evander Holyfield? Maybe there are fighters ready to fill the shoes of these aging legends, but denied the exposure that made all three stars in the first place we’ll never know. The sad fact is that the problem with boxing is not that its biggest fighters got old, but that their sport got small.×120.jpg

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