03.10.04 – By Kent Appel: If you folks didn’t get a chance to read my last article about the Forbes verses Quinonez card that was held at the Trump 29 casino in Coachella, California, then you missed my brief comments about the interesting, to say the least, conversation I had with heavyweight contender James Toney. The comments that Toney said to me were tacked on at the end of the Forbes verses Quinonez article but I will repeat them here and then respond to them. Toney made some good points questioning what qualifies us, “so called sportswriters,” in his words, to write about the great sport of boxing.
After asking some questions concerning who Toney’s next opponent will be when he heals from his arm injury, he injured his bicep muscle early in his last fight with Rydell Booker, I then brought up what his weight will be in his comeback fight after his arm heals, an ill timed question to say the least as he won’t be able to fully train for at least a couple of months. I immediately knew it was the wrong question, at the wrong time and he, not surprisingly angrily broke off our conversation.
In parting he said, “how can you ask me about my weight when you can’t do anything about your own weight?” I am overweight, so it is a point well taken. He then asked me if I had ever boxed. I told him that when I was younger, I had sparred with boxers in the gym but I never had any official fights. He then said, “how the hell can you write about boxing if you never had any officials fights?”
My answer to this question is that yes I never had any official fights but in working out with boxers I had the chance to be hit by them and hit them, so at least I have an idea what the boxers go through when they are in the ring.
But even if I never had this limited experience, what qualifies me, especially that mainly I am an Internet writer for Eastsideboxing.com, is that because of the Internet I get immediate feedback from the fans who come to Eastside Boxing and a lot of the questions I ask fighters come from the very questions the fans themselves are asking. People like me are the voice of the fans and without the fans, there would be no professional boxing!
I also have been going to live boxing and watching it on television ever since I was a young boy. So I have seen more fights then I could ever count and turning forty-six years old in a couple of months, I grew up in the era of many of the all time great fighters, too numerous to list here
Another thing that qualifies me to write about boxing is I like to think that I am a sincere and honest person and that there is room in the great sport of boxing for people like me.
I think Toney saw that I am a fair person as he came back into the dressing room area about five minutes after our conversation and he let me explain to him that I was just stating my opinion and there was no disrespect intended. He then shook my hand when I told him that I never take cheap shots at anyone, ever.
Toney had an interesting idea about who he would talk to from the media. He suggested that we, the sportswriters, fight it out in the ring with the winner getting to interview him. The problem with this idea is it would leave out some of the very best writers out there, the venerable older writers who know the most about the sport.
But it is an entertaining idea and I would actually enter his media tournament if it weren’t for the fact that I am in my forties and I have also recently suffered a hernia injury in my stomach while exercising. So I can related to, like Toney, not being able to train as hard as I would like to.
To those fans who think that I in no way should have apologized to Toney for asking him a relevant question, I have this to say, yes it was a relevant question and I do still believe that 227 pounds, his weight for the Booker fight, was a starting point for making a comeback, but like I said earlier, it was the wrong question, at the wrong time as Toney obviously can’t train hard until his injury heals.