In reviewing another thread I started, I realize there's a lot of our good, knowledgeable posters who are super-fans of James Toney. So although I personally dislike Toney severely, I gotta respect our fellow boxing fans who are also Toney fans. Our differences are what make boxing such a great sport. Anyway, I thought I'd start a new thread where I do my best to put forth my opinions of Toney from three different points of view: as a fighter in general, as a heavyweight, and as a person.
As a fighter, you gotta give Toney his due. He began his career as a middleweight, and was simply dominant. He could punch… he could box… he was an elite athlete in his sport. Had he stayed at middleweight, or just gone up one or two divisions, he would’ve no doubt continued that dominance as an elite athlete in his sport. Instead, he decided to balloon up to practically one and a half times his original weight to go up into the heavyweight division.
Looks like something out of a freak show. Apparently decided it was too much trouble to remain in good physical condition. He also undoubtedly saw the shambles that is the heavyweight division today, and decided to take advantage of the situation. So he went up and did what apparently any halfway decent light-heavy can do when they want to go into the heavies: He beat John Ruiz. Big freaking deal !! Yeah, he hung in there twice with a big puncher like Sam Peter (who is still a work in progress, I might add). But honestly, could he have hung in there with the likes of Tyson? Lewis? Holyfield? Don’t think so. Now, after having been thoroughly dominated in his second go-round with Peter, he should just stick his tail between his legs and go back down in weight… or just retire.
Where do I begin? There are two people in boxing I’d love to see flat on their backs, being counted out: Zab Judah (thank YOU Kostya Tszyu!) and James Toney. I realize U.S. fans revere their boxing champions, just like any other country. But where is it written that it’s OK for an elite athlete to be such a first-class jerk? Did Michael Jordan act like a jerk while he was dominating the NBA? Do LaDanian Tomlinson or Peyton Manning act like jerks in the NFL? Oh… this is boxing, you say? OK… does Oscar have to act like a jerk to be popular in boxing? Did Gatti? Did Tito? Fact of the matter is: Toney is one of the most unlikable people I’ve ever known about in boxing. He’s a bigot, he’s ignorant, and has little class. Check that….. he’s got ZERO class. All of a sudden, Tyson came to mind. But funny thing… even though Tyson has had his issues, I’ve never disliked the guy. Matter of fact, I was a Tyson fan for a long time, and feel he was one of the best things to happen to boxing in the late 80’s and early 90’s. But Toney? That’s a whole ‘nother story. So, as long as I remain a boxing fan, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for anyone who knocks James Toney (or Zab Judah) TFO.