Boxing

James "Lights Out" Toney - "The Klitschkos Have Been Ducking Me For Six Years!"

James ToneyExclusive Interview by James Slater - 40-year-old future Hall of Famer James Toney is the first to admit his showing against Fres Oquendo in his last fight back in December was in no way his best. The critics jumped all over "Lights Out" after the split decision was awarded him, and with good reason. However, back in the gym immediately after scoring what was his 71st win (with 6 losses and 3 draws), Toney says he is in great shape right now and ready to get to the top of the heavyweight division.

Set to take on the 12-5(11) Matthew Greer on September 12th, Toney is aiming for an eventual shot at one of the two Klitschko brothers - or the Klitschko sisters, as James refers to Wladimir and Vitali!

Very kindly taking the time to grant me the following interview earlier today, the all-time great had the following answers to my questions.

James Slater: It's a pleasure to speak with you, Champ. First of all, this fight you have coming up on September 12th, what do you know about Matthew Greer?

James Toney: How you doing, sir? I don't know too much about Matthew Greer. I know he's a game fighter, who'll come to fight and try his best, but it don't matter - on his best day he'll never have enough to live with me..

J.S: Have you been in the gym since your last win, over Fres Oquendo last December?

J.T: Every day! I've been in the gym for nine months. I'm in great shape and now it's time to get back at it. I wasn't happy with my showing last time out, and a lot of other people were not happy either. Everyone knows that wasn't the real James Toney (Vs. Oquendo). But the real Lights Out is back now.

J.S: Can I be rude enough to ask you what your weight is right now?

J.T: No problem. I left the gym today at 209.

J.S: 209? Wow, that's the old James Toney!

J.T: Yes sir. I'm back to the weight I was when I took out Evander Holyfield (in 2003). I want to show that I'm the best fighter in the world, the best skilled fighter out there. I'm one of the best fighters of all-time! Now I'm looking at getting back to the top of the heavyweight division.
(after the interview, John Arthur, James' current trainer/manager, spoke about how people are continually getting on his fighter's case about the weight issue. "James don't mind talking about his weight," Arthur said. "But I have to tell you that he may surprise everyone when he steps on the scale for this fight. He may weigh 209 right now but he may weight 215 tomorrow. He's a heavyweight, and even if he weighs in at 230 it's no problem. I don't want him dropping a whole lot of weight and weakening himself. He will surprise people when he weighs in for the fight, put it that way.")

J.S: Do you want a KO against Greer?

J.T: Just as long as I get a comprehensive victory, that's all that matters. It don't matter if it's a KO or a decision. I just want to get a win and then go after my goal of fighting the Klitschko sisters. They've both been ducking me for six years, and everyone knows it. It's like they think I have the plague or something! They keep talking about how great they are, yet they don't ever fight nobody, they just fight patsies. If they ever get in there with a real fighter like me they'll freeze and be KO'd - everybody knows that.

J.S: I read where your promoter, Dan Goossen, has said that if you look good against Greer a world title fight may come next year. Is that what you are looking for?

J.T: Don't forget I already have a title - I'm the IBA heavyweight champion. The belts don't label me. No belt makes me, I make the belts, man. I just want to continue fighting the best fighters out there, like I've always done. It's up to the public who I fight and if I get a Klitschko sister into the ring; it's up to the fans clamouring for it. Everyone wants to see me in with the Klitschkos, though, to see if they are the real deal. Everyone knows I'm the real deal. I'm the only middleweight since the great Ezzard Charles to have campaigned for so long up at heavyweight. I'm old-school, like he was.

J.S: You're talking to a fan here, James. I know I have to be impartial, but I do rate you as a true great, just like the "Cincinnati Cobra."

J.T: You know all about The Cincinnati Cobra! He was the best light-heavyweight and middleweight in history. Everyone knows Archie Moore wouldn't fight Charles for the world title - that's why he had to move up to fight Rocky Marciano for the heavyweight title.

J.S: You want the Klitschkos, as you've said. But would a fight with Nikolai Valuev interest you if it was offered instead?

J.T: He's a joke. He's a puppet, like a sideshow. He can't even spell fight! I know David Haye is fighting him, because he [Haye] sees that as an easier option than facing one of the Klitschko sisters. But bottom line, I'll fight anyone, any time. That's been my motto for 30 years, to fight the best.

J.S: After you beat Greer, do you plan to fight again this year?

J.T: My goal, and I told my dad this the other day, is to have three more fights this year. As great as I feel now, physically and mentally, I want to fight again in October and then in either November or December. Then, in 2010, being back as brand new, I'll kill everyone I fight!

J.S: Your place in history as a great is secure. But the critics want to know why you are still fighting at age 40. I know you were born to fight......

J.T: (jumping in) I love it! I'm in great shape and I'm having fun every day in the gym. I'm the most skilled fighter in the world. Ain't no-one who can do what I do. Now I want to get back to the top of the heavyweight division. I've already beaten Holyfield, John Ruiz, Dominick Guinn, Sam Peter - even though he was supposed to be this big puncher he couldn't do nothing to me, I killed his spirit.

J.S: It's a real pleasure t speak with you, James. As I say I'm a real fan. You have often made some predictions on fights other than your own. Can I ask you your take on the upcoming Vitali Klitschko-Chris Arreola fight? Does Chris have a chance of winning in your opinion?

J.T: Thank you. Yeah, Arreola has a chance - he has a snowball's chance in hell! If he can't get Vitali out of there in the first 3 or 4 rounds he'll be in trouble - he won't be able to last the distance.

J.S: You don't think Arreola is in shape?

J.T: I can't say he's not in shape, because that's not my place to say. I mean, anything's possible, and I like Chris. But I think in his last fight, against Jameel McCline, McCline took a dive. But I wish Arreola the best.

J.S: Well, we all wish you the best, James. Thanks again for taking the time to speak with me.

J.T: You're welcome.

Article posted on 21.08.2009



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