Lebedev May Aim For Tarver Next, Toney Says He’s Not Done Yet

By James Slater: While James Toney fans are still trying to come to terms with the sad spectacle of their hero being badly beaten up and out-muscled by Denis Lebedev, the new interim WBA cruiserweight ruler is pondering his next move.

You will be hard pressed to find any fans who care too much about what Toney plans to do next (unless it is to do the only sane thing and announce his retirement from the ring), but Lebedev’s immediate future interests many. The once-beaten Russian has now got three big names on his record - Enzo Maccarinneli, Roy Jones Junior and Toney - and he has some people convinced he is amongst the very best 200-pounders in the world today.

What is without question is the fact that Lebedev, 23-1(17) has many options ahead of him. At yesterday’s post-fight press conference there was talk of Lebedev facing another big name U.S veteran in his next fight, in Antonio Tarver. Toney, however, suggested Lebedev should try and get a rematch with the only man to have beaten him, in WBO boss Marco Huck. Toney also added that he is “sure that Lebedev would knock [Tarver] out.”

Maybe, maybe not, but if this fight is the route Lebedev goes - in a battle of southpaws - the fight would no doubt get its fair share of attention. Can Lebedev become the first man to KO Tarver? Would Lebedev give “The Magic Man” as bad a beating as the one he gave “Lights Out?”

Personally, I’d like to see how good Lebedev actually is, and that means him taking on good young fighters. A Huck rematch would be great, and I’d also like to see Lebedev take on the likes of B.J Flores, Ola Afolabi, Lateef Kayode and the winner of the Yoan Pablo Hernandez-Steve Cunningham rematch. That’s quite a list of potential fights, and it goes to show how interesting the cruiserweight division can be.

Have old guys Jones and Toney made Lebedev look better than he is? Fights between Lebedev and a couple or three of the above names would go a long way towards telling us.

As for the vanquished Toney, now 73-7-3(44), he said Lebedev “never hurt me. Injury is what hurt me more than anything. James Toney ain’t finished yet. I’ll be back when I’m healed. I have lots of things to do and [I have] a lot of people on my wish-list.”

Toney did hurt his knee in the 2nd-round, but even of this hadn’t occurred, yesterday’s result would almost certainly have been the same. In reality, it will be tragic if Toney fights at anything approaching top-class level again.

Article posted on 05.11.2011

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