by James Slater: According to U.K newspaper, The Daily Mirror, James Toney will box British heavyweight Danny Williams this summer. The fight will be promoted by the U.K’s Spencer Fearon and will take place in Britain also – either in May or June. For Toney, the bout will be his first since being banned for taking illegal substances prior to his points win over Danny Batchelder last May.. Now eligible to box again following a short suspension, “Lights Out” is seemingly anxious to take yet another run at the heavyweight title(s). A fight with Britain’s hot and cold Williams, though such a clash will no doubt be the butt of many jokes, would be a decent first fight back for the soon to 40-year-old former middle, super-middle and cruiserweight king.
The wisecracks will come due to the poorly conditioned and disappointing manner in which both Toney and Williams have fought in the past. Both men have a well known penchant for eating, and have entered the ring much over their best fighting weight as a result. Indeed, it could be argued that James Toney has been boxing well above his natural weight for many years. When he trains hard and is focused on winning, however, Toney can handle himself as a heavyweight – as his win over Evander Holyfield and his first, controversial, fight with the big-punching Sam Peter prove. But those fights were quite some time ago, and in Toney’s rematch with Peter “Lights Out” took an alarming number of head shots. The question today regarding Toney is not just his conditioning, but what he has left as a fighter at all. After such a long career, it is more than possible that Toney is close to being a shot fighter. A win over the erratic Danny Williams will do little to prove otherwise in a good many eyes, no doubt. But an in-shape Williams can give most heavyweights a stiff argument.
Which version of “The Brixton Bomber” will turn up to fight Toney though? We have seen many different weights for the 34-year-old during Williams’ career. As high as a whopping 288 pounds for his second fight with Matt Skelton, back in July 2006, Danny was down to a low 228 for his second-from-last performance – a win over Scott Gammer – in March of last year. But then, in his last fight, against Oleg Platov this past December, Williams was back up to the 270s. The question regarding a Williams-Toney fight, then, is will either guy be in proper fighting shape?
On their day, both men have it in them to put on fine displays, against formidable heavyweight opposition. On off days, though, both men can be something approaching terrible – Toney looked awful against Batchelder, for example, while Williams was destroyed by Audley Harrison recently. The fans never know what they are going to get with these two. Now, with both guys even older and as such more than likely past their best – Toney in particular, who turns 40 this August – they are about as much an unknown quantity as is possible to imagine. Both fighters have good records – with Toney sporting an amazing 70-6-3(43) and Williams’s stats showing a more than respectable 37-6(30). Toney has never been KO’d, while Danny has been stopped three times. It usually takes a world class fighter to get rid of Williams, and he has, of course, beaten Mike Tyson in his time.
So who wins when (and if) they clash this summer? I honestly feel, if he’s in shape, Williams can use his good jab, his big size advantage and his above-average power to ram home a points win. Picking a winner from these two is hard, because we just don’t know what Toney has left. Also, it is more than likely that Williams will not climb through the ropes as well conditioned as he should be. Still, if he knuckles down in training, is able to control his well known appetite for cakes, and fights no higher than around 245 pounds, Danny Williams wins for me.
This is a fight that could well be won on the scales, but I tentatively go for a Danny Williams points win.