Toney and Booker Close to Brawl at Weigh-In

23.09.04 - By Kent Appel: The self proclaimed best damn heavyweight in the world, James Toney of Ann Arbor, Michigan and his opponent in Thursday night's September 23, 2004 live broadcast on Fox Sports Network's Best Damn Sports Show Period, Rydell Booker of Detroit, Michigan, almost started the fight a day early at the weigh in at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California.

Toney took offense to a gesture by Booker when the two were supposed to be posing for photographs after the pair had weighed in for the bout, the headliner of a live seven bout card that is being presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions.

The weigh in, being taped for broadcast on the Fox Sports Network, started peacefully enough but then Booker blew a kiss Toney's way so Toney responded by slapping Booker in the face with his right hand. The two were quickly separated and no other blows were struck although plenty of bad words were predictively exchanged.

Typical hot headed comments like Toney saying, "He must think I am gay but I don't play that way." followed by Booker response of, "when I have fights with my girlfriend, she hits harder than that" were exchanged. As often happens a couple of physical altercations almost occured and when the two were seperated for good, Toney had the parting shot of "I will see you at the hotel." Let's hope this doesn't happen as the Pechanga hotel is a nice place, not the sort of place for a street brawl and the only place a fight should occur there is in the ring where the fighters belong.

As for the fight itself, this is supposed to be a tune up for Toney, 36, who wants to fight any and all of the heavyweights of note to prove that he really is the best heavyweight in the world today and Toney, who enters the bout with a mark of 67-4-2, 43 by KO, including world championships in three different weight divisions from 160 to 190 pounds, should have the skills to defeat Booker, 23, who although enters the fight with a record of 22-0, 12 by KO, he has fought no one near the experience that Toney has.

Could an upset occur? Yes as anything is possible when the bell rings and the fight starts. Toney, who has never weighed as high as he will for this fight, 227 pounds, could suddenly find he can't move his hands and his feet as well at this higher weight as he has at lower weights and he could miss opportunities to score because of this Could Toney sabotage his move up to heavyweight by simply being too heavy?

Toney has fooled me before as far as weight goes though and there was a time when I didn't think he could effectively carry the 190 pounds of a crusierweight let alone the 200+ pounds of a heavyweight and he did appear to hold the weight of 227 pounds well as there was no signs of fat on his body.

Also, could the much younger Booker, 220 pounds, have the reflexes to overcome any skill advantage Toney may have and could Toney have suddenly aged as a fighter as no one knows when Father Time will catch up to any athelete?

I tend to think that Toney still has a few good fights left and I expect him to prevail over Booker in this fight, but we really won't find out until the fight actually happens.

Article posted on 23.09.2004

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