Toney's Steroid Suspension Cut in Half

james toney07.08.07 – By Gary Jones: According to the latest boxing news, thirty-eight year old James Toney (70-6-3, 43 KOs) has had a stroke of luck by having his year-long suspension for steroids cut in half by the California State Athletic Commission. Toney’s suspension effectively ends as of November 24, which should give him plenty of time to arrange a fight and get in shape by then.

Toney had recently tested positive for steroids after his last fight on May 24, 2007, a split decision over Danny Batchelder in San Jose, California. Before that, Toney had at one time been banned for 90 days for testing positive for steroids following his 12-round unanimous decision victory over WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz in April 2005. Unfortunately for Toney, the bout was subsequently ruled a no-contest afterwards, taking a way his victory over Ruiz. In that case, it was given by the New York Athletic Commission.

Despite all these problems, Toney remains one of the most skilled boxers in the heavyweight division, even at the ripe age of 38. Though he’s had some problems in the last two years, most notably his two losses to Samuel Peter and his draw with Hasim Rahman, his ballooning weight appeared to be the leading factor in each of these fights. Toney’s boxing skills are so far ahead of the other fighters, he underestimate the amount of time and training he needs to commit to both his diet and exercise. Since moving up to the heavyweight division in October 2003, Toney’s weight has gone up steadily from 217 – an almost perfect weight for him – to as high as 237 against Hasim Rahman in March 2006.

Clearly, that’s too much weight for Toney’s small, 5’9” frame to carry and still be an effective fighter. The problem, however, is once the weight has been put by Toney, it has been a monumental task for him to take it off without drastic weight loss measures during training camp. Ideally, training camps are for training on boxing fundamentals, not a place where a fighter like Toney has to strip off 40-50 lbs of weight to get in reasonable condition for a fight.

It’s just not possible, hence Toney’s less than impressive showings in recent fights against both Samuel Peter and Hasim Rahman. If not for the weight issues, Toney would very likely be a heavyweight champion at this time. Consider this, an in shape Toney would be huge problems for any of the current heavyweights, especially Maskaev, Ibragimov and Chagaev. None of these Eastern European heavyweight champions are particularly large for a heavyweight, and would be forced to trade with Toney on the inside in order to beat him, something I have my doubts that they could effectively do. Against Wladimir Klitschko, Toney might have bigger problems, but if he could stay in there long enough to tire out Wladimir, he'd stand a good chance of scoring a knockout in the later rounds of the fight.

Article posted on 08.08.2007

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