30.04.05 – By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: In my write up for this fight, I clearly felt Toney would not withstand the Jab and Grab, and Ruiz would fairly (or perhaps unfairly) bore out a unanimous division. However, I did that Toney is who I would be cheering for, and that is exactly what I did.. Every punch, and every stunned reaction by Ruiz, made my day better and better. After the 1st round, it was obvious that Toney had the edge.
There is no question that James Toney won this fight, cleanly and easily. Ruiz won three rounds at best on my card and two of them were ones where he won simply because Toney had either failed to land cleanly or purposefully took the round off. The rest of the fight was all James Toney displaying brilliant tactics, and very and I mean very, crowd pleasing, visible counterpunching. John Ruiz had absolutely no idea and no response to what James Toney was doing in there, and was relegated to getting smacked around for the better part of 12 rounds.
Toney started off quickly enough and landed very good clean and pristine counters that gave him round 1 outright on my card. In round 2 and 3 the action was almost even, in that Toney was not firing that much, while Ruiz was at least working his jab, and giving enough in a work rate, for what he was receiving in counters. After that early lead by Ruiz James Toney didn’t even so much as attempt to look back, the amount of technical skill and boxing, was probably enough to leave the executioner in awe.
Before anybody goes to vomit from what they must feel is a bunch of nuthugging praise for Toney, they have to remember I was not a huge fan of Toney and his mouth not too long ago. Maybe it was because he talked more then he fought for the past two years, and maybe it was because he beat my favorite fighter two years back , but Toney annoyed me up until recently. Tonight all his words, and all his actions came together in one of the most beautiful displays of boxing talent that I have ever had the pleasure of watching.
To add to that Toney was visibly not in his best fighting shape. Now I don’t mean he had to be chiseled like Roy Jones pointed out, but he did have too much flab even for him. Maybe its because part of his a$$ made its appearance towards the later rounds, or maybe it was because he was sweating like he was in the dessert, this was not the best shape that Toney could be in, and still he dominated.
Now to be fair part of the reason Toney looked so good was because Ruiz made the choice to not do the jab and grab so much, and instead try to brutalize the smaller Toney, But I don’t know if it made such a big difference. First of all if we take into account Toney’s shape then that cancels out with Ruiz’s mistake in planning. Second of all on the times that Ruiz did clinch Toney was very economical in doing a couple of things. Toney always took the time to work as much as possible on the inside (which is something he said he will do) and also did not get frustrated. Toney knew Ruiz would come at him in some instances and all he did was calmly step in and wait for Smoger to break them up. The body work caught up with Ruiz in the later rounds and he was almost out on his feet in the twelth round but seeing as Toney was not at his best either, the fight did go to the cards, and thankfully the scores were on the money if a little too close for my taste.
To address the knockdown issue, I did feel the knockdown was a slip and not a knockdown as was ruled, because Toney was visibly standing on Ruiz’s foot. The punch came but Toney violated the rule by tripping Ruiz and giving him a push for good measure. Now I mean he got away with it, and that is cool but he should not have been granted the point. Thankfully in the following round the reverse happened, and a slip was ruled on what to me was a clear as day knockdown. Ruiz lost his legs completely after that counter by Toney, and went down from the punch more so then from any contact by the fighters. Smoger who I think realized his mistake quickly took the time to give Ruiz back the point he took away by ruling it a slip.
In terms of the refereeing good job by Smoger in that he stayed away and only stepped in when was necessary. I couldn’t believe my ears when Stone thanked him for telling Ruiz’s corner what round it was.
Speaking of the trainers in both corners, I don’t know if anybody noticed but there was a visible level in skill coming from both Roach and Stone. Whereas Roach was giving Toney genuine advice, that he didn’t really need but used on occasion(for instance in the twelfth when he threw the Roach advised combos), Stone was just as confused as his fighter. Sure he played the role of the tough as nails trainer, telling his guy what needed to be said, but if you look beyond that you saw a guy who had no idea what to say. He kept looking over at Roach and being quiet, saying redundant things like “keep your hands up” and “he is tiring, and getting luck.”(that was anything but luck by the way).
In retrospect like Jones, said in between his kiss ass cheerleading session for Toney, Ruiz needed his jab and grab, and he essentially chose the wrong fight to change styles.
After the fight James Toney expressed my sentiments completely, by saying “Don King should put Ruiz back in the garbage where he found him.” This was exactly the type of fight we the fans needed and wanted to see. Toney took care of business and I am glad he did.
Personally I think him fighting Byrd right now would be ideal. Now some of you anti-Klitschko fanatics might scream “aha you don’t want him to fight one of yours,” but there is actually a very logical reason for why I want Toney Byrd. Klitschko is out till September, and will still have to fight Rahman then. If Toney waits for the winner of that fight, then Byrd gets to sit ideally and choose to fight somebody who won’t help determine who is the one and only in the heavies. With Byrd and Toney fighting before September, we could effectively have a unification bout by the end of the year, with the winner of that fight taking on the winner of Klitschko Rahman. Furthermore if the winner of Golota Brewster fights the younger Klitschko then, everything should be back in its rightful place.
Bottomline: Toney walked the walk after talking the talk, nothing but respect for that, even from a guy who didn’t like him all too much. After this fight I, as I imagine many fans are, am absolutely ecstatic about the heavyweight division, and can’t wait to see what happens next.
Thoughts to Novirasputin@hotmail.com