Toney's Boxing Lesson Headlines Seven Bout Card

24.09.04 - By Kent Appel @ringside: When push came to shove, who would end up being the man to come out on top once the fight itself took place? The drama had started after the pre-fight near melee at the weigh in Wednesday afternoon between number one ranked WBC heavyweight contender James "Lights out" Toney of Ann Arbor, Michigan and his opponent, number seven ranked WBC heavyweight contender Rydell Booker of Detroit, Michigan. Would the fight live up to the expectations placed on it by the bad feelings of the fighters?

Well, in front of a live sold out audience at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California and in front of a live nationwide television audience on the Best Damn Sports Show Period on the Fox Sports Network, the fight, a Goossen Tutor Productions promotion, did not turn out to be worth the pre-fight tensions or hype leading up to this September 23, 2004 event.

That the fight did not live up to the events that preceded it was not the fault of James Toney, who weighed 227 pounds for the fight and who after injuring his tricep muscle on his left arm in the first round, still gave a virtually one armed boxing clinic over twelve of the most one sided rounds I have ever seen. There has to be two fighters on an even level and in this fight this just wasn't the case.

I couldn't even give Toney's opponent, Rydell Booker, who weighed 220 pounds, one round in which he had an advantage as he seemed to have no answer for Toney's constant bombardment of mostly right hand leads to the head and the body and right hands to the head followed by the strong use of the up right uppercut that occurred in most of the rounds in the fight.

Booker did score with occasional right hand leads, left jabs and left hooks during the fight but his punches seemed to have little effect on Toney, who walked right through them to score his own damaging blows. Toney, 5'11" never gave the 6'3"Booker the chance to use his four inch height advantage, as Booker never could get into a rhythm of working consistently off his left jab, an ideal fight plan for a taller fighter.

The judges predicatively scored the fight in favor of Toney by the scores of 117-110, 118 to 108, and 120 to 107. I agreed with the third judge's score of 120 to 107, including a 10 to 8 round in favor of Toney in round number eight by virtue of a knockdown that occurred after some hard combinations to the head of Booker punctuated by a right uppercut that dropped Booker to one knee. With the win Toney improves his record to 68-4-2, 43 by KO while Booker leaves the ranks of the unbeaten to fall to a mark of 22-1, 12 by KO.

I was surprised Toney moved so well in this fight because frankly, I thought 227 pounds was too much weight for him to carry. I still think he needs to come down in weight to say, 217 pounds, like he was in last year's win over Evander Holyfield because if there was one problem in his fight with Booker, there were times in the fight when he seemed winded, particularly in rounds five, seven, and nine but Booker, who had a lot of energy sapped out of his body by Toney's consistent attacks, was unable to capitalize on this.

All and all while Toney at the post fight press conference gave himself a C-for his efforts against Booker, I would give Toney a solid B, I would have given him an A if it weren't for his almost non use of the left hand due to his early fight injury. This was his first fight back after a layoff though that he had to take due to a leg injury and I suspect his weight will come down somewhat when he steps up to a higher competition level, which he intends to do by this coming December when he meets whoever he needs to fight to earn a mandatory shot at the heavyweight title. Toney's promoter, Dan Goossen, definitely said a title elimination fight is next in Toney's plans.

In a preliminary bout, a featherweight contest scheduled for eight rounds, Wayne McCullough of Belfast Ireland took on Mike Juarez of Omaha, Nebraska. McCullough, a former WBC bantamweight champion, weighed in at 126 ˝ pounds while Juarez tipped the scales also at 126 ˝ pounds.

McCullough was the winner by way of a second round knockout at 2:59 of the round. McCullough forced the action from the opening bell and while Juarez gamely tried to fight back, McCullough overpowered Juarez, knocking him down and out from a hard right hand that had been preceded by another right hand and also by a left hook. The referee didn't even continue the count when he saw that Juarez was unable to continue. With the win McCullough improves his record to 27-4, 18 by KO while Juarez is now 23-15-2, 9 by KO.

In the another preliminary fight, scheduled for four rounds, welterweights Mark Suarez of Riverside, California and Brad Jenson of Wichita, Kansas squared off. Suarez came in at 148 pounds and Jenson also weighed 148 pounds. Suarez won by way of knockout at 2:02 of the third round. Suarez improves his record to 22-2, 10 by KO while Jenson slips to 13-14-3, 5 by KO. Jenson was a game competitor but he just couldn't cope with Suarez's constant pressure.

In a third preliminary fight, in a ten round heavyweight contest, Cissie Salif of New York, New York, fought David Bostice of Phoenix, Arizona. Salif weighed in at 251 pounds while Bostice weighed 258 pounds. Bostice was the winner of this hard fought contest by the judges' scores of 95 to 94, 96 to 93, and 96 to 93 respectively. Bostice moves forward to 33-8-1, 14 by KO while Salif falls to 14-4-2, 13 by KO. Bostice held the edge in most of the rounds and even though there were times that he felt Salif's firepower, it was not enough to overcome Bostice's more consistent output.

Also on the card: Travis Walker, of Tallahassee, Florida, the 2003 national Golden Gloves heavyweight champion, took on David Johnson of Los Angeles, California in a bout scheduled for four rounds. Walker weighed in at 261 pounds while Johnson was 241 pounds.

This bout was especially action packed and it featured no less than four knockdowns, two for each fighter. It was won by Walker by way of a majority decision in his favor. The judges' scores were as follows, 37 to 37, 38 to 35, and 38 to 35 and the scores included a one point deduction from Johnson for picking up Walker and slamming him to the canvas in round number three. With the win, Walker in now 3-0, 2 by KO while Johnson takes a step back to 2-11-3, 0 by KO.

In a four round cruiserweight fight, Jonathan Banks of Detroit, Michigan fought Tihomir Dukic of Los Angeles, California. Banks tipped the scales at 195 pounds while Dukic weighed 190 ˝ pounds. This bout was won by Banks by a unanimous decision by scores of 39 to 37, 40 to 36, and 40 to 36. Banks ups his mark to 2-0, 0 by KO while Dukic is now 0-1.

Finally, in a lightweight contest scheduled for four rounds, Sean Rogers, of Van Nuys, California, took on Miguel Becerril of Fontana, California. Rogers' weight was 136 pounds while Becerril weighed 133 pounds. This fight ended in a technical draw when Becerril was unable to continue at 1:17 of the second round due to a cut caused by an accidental head butt. Rogers' record is now 0-0-1 while Becerril goes to 0-1-1.

Article posted on 24.09.2004

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