James Toney: ďBernard Hopkins is a big old crybaby, a sissy in disguise!Ē
by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís 141st edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions) featured an exclusive interview with former three division champion who spoke about his career, his future, and the prospect of fighting Denis Lebedev later this year. Toney also shared his views on a variety of other aspects pertaining to the current boxing landscape including the Klitschko brothers, David Haye, Pacquiao-Marquez III, Mayweather-Ortiz, HBOís 24/7 series, Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver, Marco Huck, Steve Cunningham, and more! Here is a complete transcript from that interview:
JENNA J: Itís actually time for our second guest of this weekís show. Heís making his second appearance with On the Ropes. Weíre joined by the former middleweight, super middleweight, and cruiserweight champion of the worldóJames ďLights OutĒ Toney! How are you feeling today James?
JAMES TONEY: Iím feeling good. Fabulous!
JENNA: Alright! Well letís talk about some rumors that are going on around with you. There are rumors that you will be taking on Denis Lebedev in November. How true are those James?
TONEY: Well the rumors are true. Whatever goes on weíre pushing pretty soon because Iím ready to fight. I canít get a fight with the so-called big guys in the divisionóthe Klitschko sisters, or any of those guys, so Iím going for the next best thing.
JENNA: Okay well the next best thing would be down at 200 pounds. Why did you make this choice to go from your last fight at 257 down to the cruiserweight limit?
TONEY: Well basically like I said, I canít get a fight in the heavyweight division so I have to go down in weight in order to try and get a big fight. The main goal right now is to get Bernard Hopkins in the ring. First thing first is David, I donít know how you say his last name but whatever his name is, Iím going to get him in there and then Iím going to get rid of him!
JENNA: How hard has it been to get down to this weight? Itís a weight that you havenít been at in a good seven years.
TONEY: Well itís hard, but Iím training. You know what Iím saying? Thatís the main thing, being focused. Iím real focused right now so when Iím focused and ready to go like I am now there ainít nothing stopping me.
JENNA: Okay now if you win a fight against someone like Lebedev, what do you think that does for your career?
TONEY: After I beat Lebedev the sky is the limit! Iím still going to be heavyweight world champion, Iím still going to be a heavyweight regardless. Maybe Iíll have a big fight against Antonio Tarver or maybe we can get something with Hopkins. Who knows? Letís see if they got balls.
JENNA: So with this weight loss and this new desire to train here, does this mean at the age of 43 that youíre as focused as ever on your boxing career?
TONEY: Oh, Iím very focused! Iím ready to go! Iím a dangerous man! Everybody knows that. Why do you think the Klitschko sisters donít want to fight me? Everybody knows Iím the most dangerous fighter in the world, period! Thatís why everybody has been ducking me for so long. If these two are the best fighters in the world that you claim to be, and theyíve been ducking me for seven or eight years! They always have an excuse why they donít want to fight James Toney because everybody knows Iím going to whop their ass!
JENNA: Alright well one of the Klitschkos himself has a fight this upcoming weekend against Tomasz Adamek. Does Adamek have any chance at all?
TONEY: Well like I keep on telling everybody, itís bum versus bum! May the best bum win. I mean you really donít consider those guys real fighters, do you? Both Klitschkos and Adamek they fight hand-selected over the hill guys who canít even spell the word ďfightĒ. So like I said, put them in with a real fighter like myself and see what happens. They will fold!
JENNA: How damaging do you think it was to the heavyweight division with the whole debacle between David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko?
TONEY: Well it made something bad even worse! Now you see why everybody is with MMA. Donít use that fight as a message as to why boxing is declining. We got James Toney here! James Toney is here! When James Toney is in shape, everybody knows in boxing! They donít want to admit it, but they know I got the most skills out there. Nobody has more skills than meónobody!
JENNA: You mentioned Bernard Hopkins. How low do you think you need to go in weight to temp him to fight you?
TONEY: Well I would go as low as 190 for him, no problem!
JENNA: So you would go 190 for him? So what do you think would happen? Youíre crafty, heís craftyó
TONEY: What do you mean? What do you think? Donít tell me, please young lady, that you think Bernard Hopkins is an old-school fighter! You think heís a crafty fighter?
JENNA: I think heó
TONEY: You think heís a craft fighter?
JENNA: He might not be a throwback fighter like you, but heís crafty!
TONEY: Right there! Heís not a throwback fighter like me! Heís not crafty! Anyone who runs in while holding their heads down, thatís not a throwback fighter! Okay? When I look at old film like Ray Robinson, he does not run in with his head down, hitting and holding, and then crowd and get hit! Pow! Bernard Hopkins is a big old crybaby, a sissy in disguise!
JENNA: Well what do you think allows him to be so successful at his older age?
TONEY: Well heís always in great shape! You canít take that away from Bernard. Bernard has stayed in great shape all of these years and I tip my hat off to him. You know what? If I would have stayed focused all those years I would still be undefeated and be one of the greatest ever period, like I am now but even more.
JENNA: Alright now James do you think this is your last run? Now that youíre 43 and youíre focused, is this your last chance to put together a final credential on your career?
TONEY: My career is solidified! Everyone is trying to do what Iíve been doing. Iím already a first ballot Hall of Famer. You know Iíve won more titles than anybody besides Pacquiao. You know what Iím saying, whether you guys want to count them or not. It is what it is. Iím only doing things for James Toney! I ainít doing this for everybody else. I donít care what anybody says! I donít care what everybody is trying to tell me to do. James is going to be James! Iím going to do what I want to do, and thatís to dominate!
JENNA: Alright well James, weíre also on the line with my Co-Host Geoff Ciani.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hey James, itís a pleasure to have you back on the show.
TONEY: Hey whatís up, man? How are you doing Geoff?
CIANI: Iím doing very good, thanks. James, going back to Bernard Hopkins for a minute, his upcoming fight with Chad Dawsonówhat are your thoughts on that?
TONEY: Oh heís going to knock Chad Dawson out! Chad Dawsonís head ainít right. Even if it he was right, he still canít beat Bernard because Bernard has too many tricks for him. He leads him in, heís going to bring him in, and boom! Heís going to be knocked out!
CIANI: Now you mentioned that a victory against Lebedev could potentially open up a door and you mentioned Hopkins as a target. Right now, if you couldnít get a fight with Hopkins if you beat Lebedev, what about a fight against the better known champions in the division who are considered the best like Steve Cunningham or Marco Huck? Would you consider fighting them?
TONEY: Marco or Steve Cunningham? Like I said, batter up! I donít turn down nothing! Iím the best fighter, period! You know what Iím saying? If youíre the best fighter in the world you fight the best opposition out there! You donít run from anybody. I ainít never done that! You look at my record. I fought the best in every division and Iíve done very well. So why should things change now? Like I said Iím an old school fighter, Iím a real old-school fighter! I fight the best available competition out there. All fighters should be that way today, but Iím the only one! Iím the only real fighter out there, the only real fighter!
CIANI: So if you had the choice if you beat Lebedevó
TONEY: If I had my choice, after I beat Lebedevóafter I beat him, not if! Iím not Roy Jones. Iím a real fighter. Iím a dangerous man. I can tell you. After I beat him my preference would be one of the two ďBitchko sistersĒ. You know what Iím saying? Thatís my first choice, but that ainít got the balls, they ainít got the guts, so my preference would be Hopkins or Antonio Tarver.
CIANI: Okay, Antonio Tarver, what did you think about his win against Danny Green and what do you think of his prospects in the cruiserweight division right now?
TONEY: Well I thought his victory with Danny Green was tremendous. Once again, hats off to him. Everybody was saying he couldnít do it, but he went over there and took advantage of the man in his hometown. Weíll see. Batter up! Everybody talks a good game in boxing, but they donít follow through with it. I do it!
CIANI: You mentioned Roy Jones before. I thought he was actually doing better against Lebedev through nine than the official scorecards suggested. What do you take out of that fight between Jones and Lebedev?
TONEY: Well I ainít seen the fight so I donít know. Iím just going by word of mouth. You know what Iím saying? Iím not Roy Jones. Iím a fighter. I donít run around the ring and shake my ass. Thatís not my thing. I go in there and try to hurt people. Thatís what I do.
JENNA: Okay James well you like to refer to the Klitschkos as the ďBitchko sistersĒ.
TONEY: Thatís right.
JENNA: Now if you were able to get them in the ring, what do you think you need to do as a fighter to beat them, to get a decision? How do you beat them?
TONEY: How do I beat them? Thatís for me to know and you to find out. I donít tell my secrets over the phone. Number one, Iím going to let you in on a little secret. All you got to do is go back to when he fought Lamon Brewster. You see, you know what happens. When you put pressure on pipes, the pipes bust. Right? Itís the same thing. You put pressure on those guys and they will fold over in the corner. I promise you. They donít have the intensity to fight the right fight. David ďGayeĒ showed he was really gay how he went out there and just collapsed. As a matter of fact, that was one of the biggest robberies in history. They robbed people of a lot of money without a gun. You know what Iím saying? Thank God the fight wasnít on pay-per-view in the United States, because nobody would have bought it anyway.
JENNA: Alright since you canít tell me your secret and we donít want you to give that away, what are all the other fighters doing wrong against the Klitschkos? What are they doing wrong?
TONEY: Theyíre not fighting! Theyíre taking pictures, and trying to find an opening here and there, and getting outpointed by that weak-ass jab that they got, or what they so-call a jab. Theyíre not great fighters. I mean their trainer sucks! Emanuel Steward is a half-assed trainer. Emanuel Steward is supposed to train like me. Emanuel Steward knows why he doesnít want them to fight me. It was the same thing I did to all the fighters he had in the Kronk Gym all these yearsókill, crush, destroy!
JENNA: Alright, I got to stop you there James. Youíre saying Emanuel Steward isnít that great of a trainer?
TONEY: You heard what I said! Let me tell you something. All the fighters he trained will confirm it and I know for a fact, the only thing Emanuel ever did in his whole career was come in the last week before a fight after he had Walter Smith, Bill Miller, and everybody else doing all the training camps for the whole eight or nine weeks. The last week Emanuel comes in when the camera is on him and he does mitts with him and says he did something. Man thatís bullsh*t! If he was training he would be with them day and night. Heís doing it now because of with Klitschko over there, heís kissing his ass. Heís an ass-kisser. Heís an Uncle Tome. You can tell him I said it, too. I donít care.
JENNA: Youíre entitled to your opinion like everyone else.
TONEY: Oh yeah! I am entitled to my opinion and I hope everybody is listening because what Iím speaking is the truth. I speak the truth, and nothing but the truth because the truth sets you free, period! I see youíre an Emanuel Steward fan, huh?
JENNA: We have him on quite often and I believe heís a great trainer. Heís trained so many world championsó
TONEY: Anybody can come in the last minute and train somebody and come in and take the lead the last week and take credit for it. You donít see him making champions like Freddie Roach.
JENNA: What about Tommy Hearns? He trained Tommy Hearns from the amateurs.
TONEY: No, no, no, no! Thatís my trainer. Bill Miller was the original trainer of Tommy Hearns. If you want to bet me on that, we can call up Bill Miller right now! Heís 95 years old and still alive and heíll tell you the f*cking truth! So look! Let me tell you something! I donít know how old you are or how long youíve been in the game, but apparently youíre brand new to this because you donít know what the f*ck youíre talking about!
JENNA: I know what Iím talking about. Iíve interviewed him. He trained him from the amateurs into the professionals.
TONEY: Okay! Thatís what he says! Thatís what he says! But ask the mother*ckers around here! Okay!
JENNA: Okay, okay James. Letís change the subject because we donít need to argue about this. Letís talk about you. If you do not get the fight with Denis Lebedev, what are your options?
TONEY: Well like I said Iíll fight anybody, anywhere, anytime. I want to fight the best opposition out there, Tarver, Hopkins, you know like I said, whoever.
JENNA: Alright well what about Alexander Povetkin? He just won a portion of the heavyweight title. Would that fight interest you?
TONEY: Oh no doubt! 100%! The more the merrier, whoever wants to dance letís make it happen.
JENNA: People have been complaining about whether or not that fight should have been for a real belt. Do you think if you win that fight you would be considered a champion?
TONEY: Of course! See number one, my name is gold! So everybody already knows Iím the real deal. A belt donít make James Toney! James Toney makes the belt, so Iím not even worried about that. All we get to do is get him and make it happen. Iím pretty sure after I beat this guy Denis, if the fight does materialize Iíll take care of my business and everybody will see that Iím the new heavyweight champion.
JENNA: How great do you think it would be for boxing to once again have an American holding a heavyweight title belt around his waist?
TONEY: Well we do have an American heavyweight champion! I am! Like I said the belt donít make me, I make the belt. What people need to understand, Iím not falling into the boxing politics. I donít do that. It ainít my thing. Iím an old school fighter and Iím going to keep on rumbling and do this damn thing right! And Iím going to get it right! One day itís going to happen!
JENNA: How do you feel now, now that youíre at a lighter weight? Do you feel better? Do you feel stronger? Do you feel like you can do better in the ring now that youíre down a little bit in weight?
TONEY: Yeah, I feel pretty good. I feel excellent. Iím going to feel better when I get closer to 190. Iíll feel even greater, but right now Iím just going to take it one day at a time. Thatís all I can do.
CIANI: Your last fight against Damon Reed, that was one of the longest layoffs you had in your career between professional fights in a boxing ring. How did you feel after the long layoff? Did you feel any rust at all or anything like that?
TONEY: To be honest with you I felt like sh*t and I looked like sh*t, and I already knew what the problem was because I had been out for so long and it wasnít my fault! Iíve been trying to fight but there ainít anybody who wants to fight. Like I said in this new age of boxing there ainít anybody trying to fight nobody! If youíre a top ten fighter and you want to get a shot at the title, you should fight another top ten fighter, period! Itís a shame for boxing fans. Thatís why weíre losing our fans from boxing to MMA, because weíre not putting the fights on that everybody wants to see. So my thing right now is now that Iím back, Iím healthy and 100%, Iíll make sure everybody gets their moneyís worth.
CIANI: Was there any doubt in your mind before that time, that you were going to return to the boxing ring in the midst of that long layoff?
TONEY: Oh yeah, no doubt! Iím still doing both. Iím enjoying myself and having fun again. Itís like anybody. Whoever enjoys their job theyíre going to want to go to work every day, and thatís what I do! I canít wait to wake up and go to the gym and work out every day. The excitement is back!
CIANI: So would you say thatís what keeps you motivated to keep going at this stage?
TONEY: Oh what keeps me motivated is to go down as the best ever, period. Iíve done something that no one has ever done. You have people who move from middleweight to heavyweight and donít do too well. Iíve been able to do it constantly. Roy won the title and went down. I stayed and I competed against the big guys in the division. I have done very well! Iíve beaten them!
CIANI: You mentioned before James that the fans arenít getting to see a lot of the fights they want to see, and the fight that immediately jumps to mind when you say that of course is Pacquiao versus Mayweather. They both have upcoming fights. Pacquiao is fighting Juan Manuel Marquez for a third time and Mayweatherís fighting Victor Ortiz. Do you think fans will ever get to see that fight?
TONEY: Itís going to have to happen one way or another because the fights theyíre fighting are garbage! Victor Ortiz? Come on! The guy quit on national TV a couple of years ago. And Juan Manuel Marquez? I donít know how he even got into the Pacquiao sweepstakes, but it is what it is. So itís going to have to happen eventually.
CIANI: Have you been watching the 24/7 series at all for the buildup to Mayweather-Ortiz, and if so what do you think of it?
TONEY: Itís a good series. You know itís okay, it could be better, but it is what it is. I think Mayweather is probably a lot better. Victor doesnít look like heís really sure of himself. You know what Iím saying? Thatís what Iím saying, because Iíve seen fighters like that for 25 years, almost 25 years as a professional. So I know the fight game inside and out from the promoterís point of view to the fighterís point of view. So Iím not convinced.
JENNA: Alright well James we just have a couple of more questions before we let you off the line. You mentioned David Haye, or as you call him David ďGayeĒ. Seeing as he upset a lot of boxing fans with his last performance in the ring against Wladimir Klitschko, how much would you like to get in the ring with him?
TONEY: If he wants to come to the United States weíll do it! I ainít got no problem with knocking him out here on US soil and then he can back to Britain with the rest of the fans over there and do what he does. David is nothing special. Like I said, all of these opponents are hand-selected. If you look at my record, even from my first pro fight, my opponents have never been hand-selected. I fought the best and toughest guys out there. All of the fighters of todayís era couldnít last when I was coming up. There ainít a chance! They get protected too much.
JENNA: Alright now James you mentioned all the great fighters you fought in your career. Do you have any regrets now? At the age of 43 do you think you could have done anything differently?
TONEY: Yeah! If I would have gotten serious and motivated for the Roy Jones fight you guys would have never heard of him again! But it is what it is, I made a mistake and I paid for it!
JENNA: Okay James, well some people are saying youíre getting towards the end of your career. Realistically how much longer do you see yourself boxing?
TONEY: I can do this as long as I want to! There is no reason to end my career. Yaíll say it, but my career is going to go as long as I want it to go. Iím not going t o let anybody tell me when I have to go. I feel like Iím just getting started, Iím fresh again, so weíll see!
JENNA: How would you feel if Evander Holyfield, who you beat eight years ago, gets a title shot before you do?
TONEY: Well I expected that, because they do a lot of ass-kissing in their camp so I canít worry about that. I canít worry about what another man does.
JENNA: Well I have one final question. There are a lot of James Toney fans out there in the world. Is there anything you want to say to them?
TONEY: Yeah, I love them! Keep on moving! We ainít done. Weíre just getting this party started. I promise you!
JENNA: Alright, take it easy James and we wish you the best of luck with all your future fights.
CIANI: Thank you James, best of luck.
For those interested in listening to the James Toney interview in its entirety, it begins approximately forty-four minutes into the program.
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Article posted on 11.09.2011
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