Big Name Heavyweights James Toney Could Still Defeat

15.01.07 - By James Slater: Though I would sooner he quit the sport right now and retire, it seems unlikely James Nathaniel Toney, a professional fighter for almost twenty years, will do so. Always his own boss, “Lights Out” will listen to no-one but himself when it comes to doing what he believes is the best thing for him. And fighting on is what James seems to think is the way to go. Despite his bad defeat at the hands of the big punching Sam Peter - a fight where all of Toney’s thirty-eight years seemed to have caught up with him, and in which the self-proclaimed defensive master was hit a worryingly high number of times - James looks a dead-cert for carrying on with his career at heavyweight. And, let’s face it, what else should we expect from him?

Although hanging the gloves up now would be the smart thing to do from our standpoint, just what would Toney do then if he did choose the retirement option? Boxing is all he knows, after all.

He could never become a respected trainer, could he? Hell, the guy is known for being notoriously lazy in the gym himself - how then could he possibly expect to have his charge take notice of his instructions to work hard? The option of James being a trainer of others post his own fighting career is one that can be struck then, clearly. The job of analyst could possibly work, as James is capable of being witty, observant and knowledgeable - not to mention controversial. It just might be that the fans would take to his on-air verbal talents. This option too is somewhat unlikely, however, due to the alarming manner in which Toney’s speech has seemingly deteriorated just lately. There have been many comments regarding his speech pattern and how it resembles one of a man attempting to talk while holding marbles in his mouth. Worrying signs indeed, and ones that would most likely rule out hopes of a commentary position for “Lights Out.” In short, there ain’t a hell of a lot else for James to do but carry on fighting - lest he does absolutely nothing (save for gaining a ton of weight) instead. You can count on it, Toney WILL box again.

But who will he fight? And more importantly, who is he still capable of beating? In this article I list the names of four heavyweights I feel James Toney - even at his current age - could defeat.

1. John Ruiz.

Toney beat “The Quiet Man” once, only for the verdict to be demoted to a No-Decision due to the presence of steroids in James’ system. But, with all due respect to Ruiz, I feel the action we saw in the ring wouldn’t have been any different had Toney’s body been clean. In short, James does not need any stimulants to out-box John - a fighter tailor-made for him.

2. Evander Holyfield.

Sure, the thought of this rematch will make many cringe. But for a confidence restoring fight for Toney, “The Real Deal” would be an almost perfect foe. What with Evander gaining momentum at present from his own ill advised comeback, and his still huge fan base tuning in as he does so, a Toney-Holyfield II would still draw quite a crowd. James would more than likely repeat his 2003 victory, and though doing so would be going over old ground ( as would a Ruiz return, come to that) a win’s a win’s a win, as the saying goes. And Toney needs one. Badly.

3. Shannon Briggs.

Call me crazy if you want, but I feel the slow, overweight Briggs is a guy the less slow, equally over weight Toney can out-box. Don’t be fooled by Shannon’s impressive physique - the fact that he looks toned and muscular does not negate the fact that he is carrying far too much weight. The same is true of Toney, of course - his body simply shows it more is all. With a work-rate that leaves a lot to be desired, Briggs is just the guy for the still-slick Toney to outpoint.

4. Oleg Maskaev.

The big one. Though this fight is the least likely of the four possibilities listed here ( at least with the world title at stake) there does remain an outside chance of it happening. Suppose Oleg defies the odds and wins his mandatory against Peter. Suppose then that he doesn’t retire after the victory. If by such a time Toney has won a fight or two Oleg, looking towards an easy, yet still credible pay day, just might pick a voluntary with the well connected “Lights Out.” And Toney could well win a version of the heavyweight title after all. Stranger things have happened. Haven’t they?

Article posted on 15.01.2007

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