James Toney is "talking" it, but come April 30th will he "walk" it?

15.04.05 - By Mike Indri, Retired Boxers Foundation: During yesterdayís media conference call James Toneyís words and actions reiterated the fact he had already established at a New York press conference earlier this month - James Toneyís mouth is in fighting shape and ready to take on all comers! Arriving late for this 1PM (EST) scheduled media event Toney quickly set the tone. "Iím late, I apologize, yeah me James Toney. I was training, if you donít like it hang up!" rambled the 2003 fighter-of-the-year..

"Iím ready to go now, I canít wait to get it on-Iím going to make history" stated Toney, who is looking to become only the third fighter in all of pugilistic history to have won the middleweight championship and then went on to capture boxingís biggest prize - a heavyweight title.(Only Bob Fitzsimmons and Roy Jones Jr. have accomplished this feat).

Another fact has also been established - this WBA world heavyweight championship fight between the current and two-time world champion John Ruiz and the future hall-of-fame, three division world champion Toney will definitely be a fight worth watching.

I know that many boxing fans will disagree, wondering how any fight involving John Ruiz can be labeled "worth watching", but this fight should bring out the best in the usually soft spoken Ruiz.

"Iím the best in the world, and Iím going to prove it!" stated Ruiz who added, "who has Toney fought as a heavyweight? They donít criticize him, but they criticize me" questioned the frustrated champion.

In answering another question about the state of the sweet science as it is today, in particular the deterioration of boxingís most fabled division, Ruiz quipped, "Iím fed up with the boxing where these other heavyweights donít want to fight anyone - I want to unify the titles, boxing needs a unification!"

Not one to stay silent for too long, Toney interjected "He (Ruiz) is the only one who had the balls to fight me but Iím going to knock him out. Iím going to war-itís going to be a war!" bellowed the self proclaimed street fighting, old school Detroit native.

Ruizís trainer & manager Norman Stone then reminded Toney of the proper perspective on this fight.

"James the WAR is in Iraq, you are just fighting", chided Stone - aggression got the best of the easy to ignite Toney.

"Thatís it, interview is over and Iím out of here" exhorted Toney who warned the almost as easy to incite Stone, "You better wear a vest, you think Iím playing-I donít care if you have a bad hip Iíll break the other one or your head" stated Toney as he stormed off the conference call.

Now absent James Toney, Ruiz wondered aloud "Toneyís not fighting Stoney on the 30th, heís fighting me." stated Ruiz who added, "Iím going to win, no question. Iím ready for 12 rounds, and Iím going out there fighting from round one on."

After beating Rahman, Oquendo and most recently Golota; Ruizís confidence is at an all-time high and feels that not only is he physically ready - he is also mentally prepared. Ready and prepared for quite possibly his most difficult challenge since Roy Jones Jr.

On the other hand, as Ruiz had mentioned, who has Toney fought as a heavyweight? The answer is the relatively obscure and non-threatening Rydel Booker, and a very worn and very old (and at that time a very non-threatening) Evander Holyfield.

This all adds up to a very compelling championship bout between two accomplished, veteran fighters that couldnít be any more opposite from one another: inside the ring, as far as fighting styles and their roads to becoming champions; and outside the ring, one a gentleman who lets his hands do most of his talking and the other - also a gentleman, when you get to know him. A self-described "king of the trash talkers" who has always been able to back up his words with his gifted boxing skills.

Come April 30th we will see if James "Lights Out" Toneyís body can cash the checks that his mouth has been writing - in what may be his most difficult challenge since Roy Jones Jr., (Iím not saying Montell Griffin or Drake Thadzi).

Promoter extraordinaire Don King believes Ruiz vs. Toney will have a major impact in changing the direction of the heavyweight division and has labeled this thrilling fight card "The Turning Point". King added, "These guys are showing no respect to one another and really donít like each other."

Co-Promoter Dan Goosen of Goosen Tutor Promotions is confident in his fighter. "Toney is fighting for destiny and will knock out John Ruiz, heíll knock out any of the heavyweights today!"

A battle of this epic proportion could only be housed in one arena, "Boxingís Mecca", New Yorkís Madison Square Garden. The mystical, magical Garden has played host to 28 heavyweight title bouts since 1916.

Televised live on HBO, tickets are on sale now at the Madison Square Garden box office and all Ticketmaster locations or by calling Ticketmaster at (212) 307-7171, (201) 507-8900 (631) 888-9000 or (914) 454-3388.

*Photo by Melissa Manfre: John Ruiz, shown here with former sparring partner and current heavyweight prospect Isreal "KingKong" Garcia (14-1), puts his WBA World Heavyweight title on the line against the ever-so dangerous James Toney at Madison Square Garden on April 30th.
Garcia will also be fighting on the "Turning Point" undercard.

Article posted on 15.04.2005

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