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Boxing Perspective: James Toney TKO 9 Evander Holyfield

Holyfield Fight Still Best Performance At Heavyweight For "Light Out"

James Toney should'nt really be fighting as a heavyweight. This opinion is held by more than a few, both fans and experts. But he is doing so, and until someone comes along and beats him - he is currently 3-0-1, with one no-contest at the weight - James has to be respected as a contender at heavyweight. His next fight, against the huge punching Samuel Peter, just might be the fight where James does lose. But who knows? With his slick skills, "Lights Out" has the ability to outbox many of todays big guys.

To be honest, James has really only looked totally impressive as a heavyweight on one occasion. But I have to admit, that after the way he dismantled his opponent in this very fight, I felt he had certainly made the correct choice in moving up to compete at such a poundage.

However, after this excellent show James went on to gain more weight, and looked sluggish as a result. Still, the display that impressed many is one deserving of respect. The fight in question is James match-up with the legendary Evander Holyfield. I recount the action from this memorable contest in the following text.

The bout was held at The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on October the 4th and its tagline was "War On October 4".

The first round was lively and Holyfield performed like anything but a man of forty years of age. He looked quite sharp and his physique was as magnificent as ever. Evander threw some good digging hooks but Toney's defence was right on the ball. Still, it was round one to "The Real Deal". He even put in a few seconds of overtime, throwing a couple after the bell, bringing a retaliation from Toney and a roar from the crowd.

James stood his ground in round two and backed Evander up. His jab was accurate and he wore the usual smug look of complete self assurance. Again they fought at the bell and both men glared at one another.

At the start of the third it looked as though Toney might be in a bit of trouble as he was cracked by a good right hand, but we were soon given the proof we needed as to whether or not "Lights Out" could take a top heavyweights shot.

He rolled away, nullifying any chance of further blows landing and continued with his game plan of going to Evanders body. He got even more cocky near the rounds end and spoke to someone at ringside. Gaining the psychological advantage was never an option James strayed away from and signals such as this must have registered with Holyfield. He wasnt used to such arrogance being shown from the other man in the ring with him, let alone when that man was a former middleweight. James was starting to gain the upper hand already.

Evander was badly hurt for the first time in round four when a Toney right whipped into his head as he was backed up onto the ropes. Toney followed up with a classy combination and the possibility of a KO win arose. Evander came back though, once again living up to the second of his apt nicknames, "Warrior", and had some success on the other side of the ring as it was James turn to feel his back to the ropes.

It was a good burst from Holyfield and because of it you could make a case for scoring the round even. Toney was definitely the sharper of the two now though. A lot of young fighters really could learn a lot from watching some of Toney's talented moves and by round five he looked as though he was enjoying himself.

Holyfield was tired now and he looked stiff and slow, throwing only the odd punch that landed. Toney was too quick to let him get the second shot home and he was starting to pull ahead, hurting Evander while taking him to school.

It was clear Toney had retained all his exquisite skills in boxing's ultimate weight division. By round seven it was a little sad to watch as Evander was being beaten up. His chin was as dependable as ever but he had'nt won a round for an alarming period and his only chance seemed to be him being extremely lucky with James suddenly getting tired.

There were no signs of this and the pain continued for Evander in round eight. James was putting on a master class! Never did I think he would handle Holyfield this easily.

In the ninth Toney closed the show. He had landed a good number of right hands to the head along with some thudding body shots and suddenly all this seemed to catch up with Evander as he crumpled to the floor after a series of left hooks. He beat the count but his corner man, Don Turner, had seen enough and threw in the towel.

Toney had kept his promise, becoming only the second man to stop the legend that is Evander Holyfield. What a statement he had made in doing so. He would now have to be respected by every single heavyweight in the world.

Including Samuel Peter!

About James Slater

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