James Toney-Denis Lebedev Signed, Toney’s Advisor Ivaylo Gotzev Says “Lights Out” Is Down To 212-Pounds

By James Slater: James Toney and his team have been in Russia recently, and this past weekend his November 4th fight with top cruiserweight contender Denis Lebedev was signed. Toney reportedly went down a storm in Moscow, with the fans warming to his friendly, witty approach. Very much stealing the show from local man Lebedev, Toney now has to back up his pre-fight promises of “taking Lebedev to school” and of “sending him home early if he fights the way he did against Roy Jones.”

A dangerous fight for Toney, not least because it will be his first bout down at the 200-pound limit of cruiserweight since his 2003 win over Vasiliy Jirov (actually a 190-pound match-up). Fans on this web site have openly claimed to have major concerns about whether or not the 43-year-old will be able to get down as low as 200-pounds - pointing to his recent 257-pound win over Damon Reed.

But Toney’s advisor, Ivaylo Gotzev, in speaking with, said there is no need for concern when it comes to his fighter’s weight.

“I’ve seen him as low as 212 with my own eyes, so there is nothing to worry about there,” Gotzev said of Toney.

There was a suggestion the fight would be held at a catch-weight, but Toney, claiming he wants to give Lebedev, 22-1(17) “no excuses” for the loss he is sure he will hand him, insisted on fighting the southpaw slugger at his own weight.

Those fans who are concerned about Toney’s weight (insisting he will be left weakened if he does manage to shed the pounds all the way down to 200) are also doubting Toney’s chances of winning due to the raw power Lebedev carries. We all saw what happened to Jones back in May - is another modern day master in for a similar KO loss?

In a word, no! I can’t see Lebedev doing to Toney what he did to Jones. After all, Jones’ punch resistance deserted him years ago (even though the final shot that flattened Jones in that scary 10th-round was a monster blow that would’ve downed anyone) and what’s more, he was right there to be hit in the Lebedev fight. Toney has way more left in the tank than does the man who out-pointed him way back in 1994, therefore any comparison between Toney’s chances against Lebedev are pointless.

I do share the concerns about Toney, 73-6-3(44) perhaps not being strong enough after he’s worked so hard in the gym to make 200-pounds, though. In the later rounds (the fight is scheduled for 12-rounds, not 10), against such an aggressive, rough and tough operator as Lebedev, Toney will surely have to dig deep. Years ago, back when he was beating up Jirov in that great fight, I’d have picked Toney to box Lebedev’s ears off. But today, after having fought as high as he has in recent years, Toney might think he’ll do certain things in the ring but will realise only when it’s too late that his body can no longer obey his brain like it once did.

The November 4th fight is a hugely intriguing fight, no doubt about that, I just hope we get to see it on live T.V here in the U.K (as well as in the U.S).

Toney says he is going to show the Russian people “a real fighter” in action. Lebedev feels he will add another big name to his growing C.V.

Article posted on 03.10.2011

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