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The Similarities Between Toney vs. Couture and Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Matthew Saad Muhammad

Kiyoshi Tamura vs Matthew Saad Muhammad
If you’re an old Pride head like myself(if not, shame on you) you will certainly recognize the name “Kiyoshi Tamura”. Most famously I remember the drubbing that Wanderlei Silva laced on him back at Pride 19 and the armbar slapped on by Minotauro at Pride 31. He was always known for his powerful low kicks.

Matthew Saad Muhammad was a former boxing light heavyweight champion who was known for his fast-paced style and solid recovery abilities. He is a legend in the pugilistic world with his incredible back story which Ring Side Report lays out.

Born Maxwell Antonio Loach just outside of Philadelphia, Saad Muhammad was orphaned as a very young child. He and his brother lived with his aunt who, when she no longer could afford to care for both children, told Saad Muhammad’s older brother to lose and otherwise abandon him. From that, his brother took him to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and ran away. As a fan I long ago realized that much of the allure boxing held for me was in the human factor of those that had turned to it. Lack of direction and desperation are common themes among those that have taken to pursuing The Sweet Science as a means to an end. Boxing is often a last bastion of hope but nowhere can I recall a story as sad and pathetic as the idea of a child being utterly abandoned and left to the wolves of this life as was the case of Matthew Saad Muhammad. The lost child was found and taken to a Catholic children’s shelter where he was cared for and named Matthew after the saint and Franklin after the place where he was found…In and out of reform school as a youth, Saad Muhammad’s life turned a corner when he saw Muhammad Ali sparring at a local Philadelphia gym. The impression Ali left on him at that moment altered the pull of misdirection and mischief and he made the decision to become a fighter.

The IBHOF has more on Saad.

He turned pro in his native Philadelphia in 1974 under the name the nuns had given him — Matthew Franklin. It wouldn’t take long before everyone in the boxing world knew his name. He took an aggressive path to the top and after just 18 pro fights he was saddled with three losses and two draws. Each setback, though, came against quality opposition. His losses were to future champions Marvin Camel and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and one of the draws came against another future champ, Mate Parlov.

In 1977, in just his 21st pro fight, Matthew knocked out veteran Marvin Johnson in the 12th round to win the NABF light heavyweight crown. He defended that title with wins over Billy Douglas, Richie Kates and Yaqui Lopez.

In 1998, Saad became a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.  Like Toney, Saad has reached heights in combat sports that most MMA fighters can never even dream of. When Saad faced Tamura in 1991 under the UWFi banner which was known for it’s worked bouts nonetheless, he was way past his prime and a shell of his former boxing self. Leading up to the bout he talked a lot of trash about easily knocking out Tamura and guaranteeing a victory in a similar fashion to what Toney has been verbally insinuating.

 In the below video you’ll see the result as Saad actually wore his boxing gloves, takes a low kick and is subsequently choked out in 34 seconds. Take it with a grain of salt as they were known for worked matches, but this bout has been reported as a legit MMA match.  The parallels are in the pre-fight hype and the point in which Toney and Saad’s respective careers were at when they made their decision.  An important story in the Boxing vs. MMA timeline.