Toney deserves respect for canceling Calloway fight

21.11.05 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: Just like its always fun to predict the winner of a given fight, it’s also fun, as a fan, to get what you want. A little while back, I wrote an article attacking James “lights out” Toney for electing to fight the punching bag to the heavyweight stars in Rob Calloway. As a boxing fan, it is great to see that James Toney and his promoters see the value of not looking for a Calloway fight and rather trying to fight a more worthy opponent.

It was really frustrating to see such a great talent as James Toney waste his time with a guy like Rob Calloway. I have no hate for Rob Calloway, but as a fan, it's just not a fight I care about, and I think many other fans would agree with me. I see Calloway’s side of it, in that he wanted the payday and the chance at Toney, and I am sure he thought he would win, but what about Toney’s side of it. James Toney can potentially get a title fight against new WBC champion Hasim Rahman (a guy who destroyed Calloway easily, by the way) and, therefore, is looking out for his best interest, just like Calloway is looking out for his. Both fighters want to do what is best for them, but for the sake of the sport, fans would rather watch Rahman-Toney than Toney vs. Calloway.

James Toney is not a young man anymore, and like it or not, the frequency of injuries relative to the number he had in his career, is a telling sign of age. Just as with Bernard Hopkins, fans want to see those great fighters who are still competing to go out with a bang in their last few bouts, not spend a whole training camp preparing to fight a fighter perceived to be very limited. Not that James Toney really trains a whole lot by his own admission, (not that he needs to, based on the way he performs), but still, time has never been kind, and the risk is too great.

It’s really a sign of great character if James Toney makes the Rahman fight come off. Were it not for the steroid issue, James might have backed up his words back in July, when he wanted to get at Byrd, but still, such is life. I sincerely hope the Rahman-Toney fight happens, and I will be cheering for the foul-mouthed legend if that bout does get signed. Not that I have anything against Rahman, but Toney’s irreverent ranting and belittling of his opponents is so funny that I would enjoy watching him have a verbal sparring session before a real fight with many (or any) of today’s top heavies.

Article posted on 21.11.2005

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