James Toney - The last straw.. or a new beginning?

02.01.07 - By Alden "The Kid" Chodash: In the career of James Toney, nothing is ever certain. About ten years ago Toney was competing as a cruiserweight and the critics were gibbering on how Toney somehow went from a dynamic middleweight to a pudgy cruiserweight. Ten years and about thirty pounds later, Toney is one of the best heavyweights in the world. He already "took" the title from John Ruiz in April of 2005 before an infamous steroid test snatched it away from his waist..

A controversial draw against Hasim Rahman ruined his chances of becoming the heavyweight champion he long believed he would become. And last September, Toney attempted to get another crack at a heavyweight title by facing human wrecking ball (in terms of punching power) Samuel Peter in an elimination bout before dubious scoring once again denied him from fighting for the heavyweight championship. You can't discount the fact that two of those three unsuccessful attempts were due to the terrible physique of James Toney. This Saturday night, however, his shape will be supposedly less circular due to fitness trainer Billy Blanks.

If Toney fails to defeat Peter then it will obviously mean the "last" downfall of Toney's career. It's hard to imagine Toney getting even a meaningful bout if he were to be "fruitless" (literally and figuratively). Half of the public doesn't respect who he is and what he does to begin with anyways. A victory, however, will be a new beginning for Toney. It would mean another crack at a heavyweight titlist (and certainly not an invincible one) and a chance at a series of lucrative bouts such as a fight with Klitschko, Briggs, and Valuev (which would sell absolutely huge considering the physical mismatch that the contest brings). Samuel Peter wants those opportunities as well. In September of 2005 he certainly proved he could hang in there with Wladimir Klitschko who is regarded as the premiere heavyweight in the world today. James Toney isn't only trying to fend off the obvious power differential but Peter's will to become the next great heavyweight figure.

With all the fight preparations and random theories, I see it playing out like this. Toney will come in at a reasonable weight, about 215. Toney will probably be a little more mobile due to the weight loss and he will shade Peter in the opening three rounds until Peter begins to open up and fire shots on the temple due to the difficulty in hitting James on the chin. I think James will let go of more combinations and his jab will be much more in effect than their last match. Suffering through a few shaky moments, I see Toney out-pointing Peter by a good margin.

Alden "The Kid" Chodash is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America as well as operator of

Article posted on 02.01.2007

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