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Thread: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

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    Default What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    James Toney was a very naturally talented boxer who from an early age fought often and against the best fighters at his weight. I was reading his interview in this month’s Ring Magazine and as usual he is very outspoken about how poor fighters are today in particular Wilder and how he would beat him easily.

    In the interview he said he weighed 205lb and had to drain himself to make middleweight. In the week of the fight he had to starve himself and not eat to make the weight limit. That cost him hugely against Roy Jones but also his “win” against Tiberi.

    Toney said he sparred every day and watched films of older fighters, like Mike Tyson, and learnt the skills needed to be the best boxer at the time.

    When he fought Nunn he said he had not fought a top southpaw before but was blowing the fight because he was trying so hard top knock him out with one punch. He said mid-way he was landing body punches and that he knew he was getting to him. Toney knocked Nunn out in and was way behind on points at the time.

    When he drew with McCallum he said that he became a better boxer from the experience and that was the reason why the body snatcher was not wanting an immediate rematch.

    Toney said he busted up Barkley because he had his stamina and was strong at the weight.

    Toney said Charles Williams was strong and would keep coming back after being hit hard. He said he talked “smack” to all boxers in the ring about their “momma” but Williams never replied back in their fight. Toney said to his trainer he was going to knock him out in the last round but his trainer said to play it safe as he had the fight won. Toney knocked him out in the last round.

    James said he admired Holyfield and was a fan but when Evander said he considered Toney a stepping stone it gave him the extra motivation to not only beat him but knock him out.

    What would James Toney have been like as a heavyweight? He said he weighed naturally 205lb, if he stayed at the weight, could he have developed at the weight to be a champion?

    James started his pro career late 1988 and fought for a world title 1991 after 26 fights. His path as a heavyweight would have been different but he would have had to fight Holyfield, peak Bowe, Lennox at that time.
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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    Great post. Personally, I feel that James was too small for Bowe or Lewis. I think he would make interesting fights vs Moorer, Evander, and Tyson, but think those guys in their primes best him also. James beat an old Evander, not the prime version who had stamina and could throw punches for a whole round. I think even Foreman and Mercer beat James pretty handily.

    Tommy Morrison was a possible win for James, as was Bert Cooper. Other than that, I’m not sure how many top heavyweights he would have beaten though. Even today, I don’t see him beating Wilder, Fury, Ortiz...etc., I think he just hit heavyweight at the right time. I love James at 160-175, the guy is only 5’11 or so, he was just lazy and supremely skilled. When you consider his lack of amateur experience, you have to give him credit as one of the most natural fighters ever (born to fight).

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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    Interesting points as I forgot about the “other” title at the time and the champions that fought for that belt.

    Toney as a heavyweight would be a different fighter with the diet, nutrition and training. Toney would have the youth and fire of Tyson, get into people’s mind like Ali, he would destroy the body of heavyweights being the shorter man, had a great chin, defensive skill of Jersey Joe Walcott.

    Moorer was made to be knocked out by the right cross of Toney.

    Toney would tear Evander’s body if they fought in the early 90’s but may not be enough to beat him but Cooper nearly did it.
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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    I never bought into Toney as a heavyweight before.... and I'm not about to start now. Maybe it's the memories of him as a middleweight (good)..... and the memories of him as a heavyweight (bad). I just don't buy into the whole ballooning up process, to where you basically become a whale joke punchline..... and the only defense afforded to him is that he could easily take out today's crop of heavyweights. News flash: He isn't a contemporary with today's heavyweights. Back in his day, the Tysons, Holyfields, Bowes, etc. of the division would've slaughtered his overblown ass. Generally I dislike any boxer who says fukk it, I like to eat too much, I'll just campaign as a fat heavyweight. I know Andy Ruiz has struck a romantic blow for all those fatso wannabes... but the fact remains that boxing is a sport where fighters traditionally train like hell to make weight at their respective weights. Before anyone mentions Toney's vaunted "shoulder" defense, let me just say that Mike Tyson would've first dislocated that shoulder, and then proceeded to dismantle him piece by blubbery piece.

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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    My favourite Toney story comes from Dark Trade (if I remember right) - he was on the Morrison-Bentt undercard getting something like $20,000 to defend his title, at the press conference he finds out Bentt is getting $100,000 so goes ballistic calling Morrison a bum, asking why his manager didn't make that fight and threatened to kill everyone at the press conference.

    With hindsight he probably would beat Morrison too.

    He was too small to compete with prime heavyweights, however, what a chin that sick bastard had? Everyone waffles on about his defence but his granite head made up for 75% of that.
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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    That chin probably explains why any televised interview with Toney nowadays should probably be accompanied by captions.

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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    'Lights Out' would have SOME success but he obviously did amazing at 160-Cruiser. Plenty of fun fights for him at heavyweight. Toney vs Smokin Bert Cooper would have been pretty epic.
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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenster View Post
    My favourite Toney story comes from Dark Trade (if I remember right) - he was on the Morrison-Bentt undercard getting something like $20,000 to defend his title, at the press conference he finds out Bentt is getting $100,000 so goes ballistic calling Morrison a bum, asking why his manager didn't make that fight and threatened to kill everyone at the press conference.

    With hindsight he probably would beat Morrison too.

    He was too small to compete with prime heavyweights, however, what a chin that sick bastard had? Everyone waffles on about his defence but his granite head made up for 75% of that.

    Dark Trade is so good I think it can hold it's own even against some great non-boxing novels. That is is an based on the realities of boxing and the characters within it just makes it even more satisfying. I lent it to my younger brother to try and explain what boxing and that particular window/era was like. With things like YouTube he can even go back and watch most of those fights. Mcrae is a great writer and a lovely generous fella with his time too.

    Toney was a rare beast but success at heavyweight does not make it his natural weight. He might have had success against Wilder because for large periods of fights Wilder often looks pretty poor. Whether Wilder would have even agreed to fight a prime Toney is disputable, but the scary thing is that Wilder would probably justify making the fight even now if he thought he could get away with it.
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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    To stick with the notion of expanding waist bands that might just be a streeetch. Toney is a great, never in question. But first off him saying McCallum waited because of Toneys new found boxing after their first fight might have more to do with Toney losing his very next fight if not for two blind unlicensed judges . A few random things make a fan go hmmm when contemplating a Toney as career heavyweight though

    Whose to say he doesn't carry in his walk around weight early on and in turn lose his aggravation and superb mental edge. He'd be comfortable..all buttered up not needing to drive down on himself. May very well cost him some portion of what made him a phenom..that massive chip on his shoulder and ginormous self confidence.

    He was also pretty obscure out of Michigan. It's nuts to think he was a 20-1 underdog with Nunn but I guess that's hindsight. Not sure of the local heavyweight scene there for the first few years he'd be working through. Would a young heavyweight Toney find his way with a Manny Steward and Kronk ? What would Jackie Kallens role be and would she have it?

    His activity level would probably not be the whirlwind it was. One great attribute of a guy who reminds of 'old school' in many ways was the factory line rate he fought with sometimes going 2 a month. At heavy you'd figure a slow down and a few at technical cruiserweight.

    He's still Toney. Again a tremendous all time favorite and great..but he was notorious at timing out some rounds and frankly could lose the motivating fire once in a while. For all the great nights and cemented memories he had some trouble with somewhat similar styles, Griffin, Johnson, Sosa, Oquendo..didn't win that one sorry. At 205 he's still hear the deafening mantra of he's too small but it would be a helluva ride.

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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spicoli View Post
    To stick with the notion of expanding waist bands that might just be a streeetch. Toney is a great, never in question. But first off him saying McCallum waited because of Toneys new found boxing after their first fight might have more to do with Toney losing his very next fight if not for two blind unlicensed judges . A few random things make a fan go hmmm when contemplating a Toney as career heavyweight though

    Whose to say he doesn't carry in his walk around weight early on and in turn lose his aggravation and superb mental edge. He'd be comfortable..all buttered up not needing to drive down on himself. May very well cost him some portion of what made him a phenom..that massive chip on his shoulder and ginormous self confidence.

    He was also pretty obscure out of Michigan. It's nuts to think he was a 20-1 underdog with Nunn but I guess that's hindsight. Not sure of the local heavyweight scene there for the first few years he'd be working through. Would a young heavyweight Toney find his way with a Manny Steward and Kronk ? What would Jackie Kallens role be and would she have it?

    His activity level would probably not be the whirlwind it was. One great attribute of a guy who reminds of 'old school' in many ways was the factory line rate he fought with sometimes going 2 a month. At heavy you'd figure a slow down and a few at technical cruiserweight.

    He's still Toney. Again a tremendous all time favorite and great..but he was notorious at timing out some rounds and frankly could lose the motivating fire once in a while. For all the great nights and cemented memories he had some trouble with somewhat similar styles, Griffin, Johnson, Sosa, Oquendo..didn't win that one sorry. At 205 he's still hear the deafening mantra of he's too small but it would be a helluva ride.
    Bloody lovely stuff mate.
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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    Toney will always be my man, but if you can boil down to MW then you are probably not a natural HW. That he could maintain and hold himself even at HW, even when obese, was testament to his talent but also his laziness.

    I think Toney has a great shot at beating anyone, but in saying that, he didn't fight HW giants and the bigger he got the more he struggled. He would have to use his feet a lot to get inside of the giants and Toney wasn't fleet of foot when heavy, so it is a bit of a guessing game with him.

    On his game, at the right weight and conditioning, he is a problem, but we also saw what he was like when he ballooned.

    The truth is Toney at HW was always post prime and also not quite the same after the shoulder surgery. Still excellent, but definitely one of those 'What if....?' questions. I am not sure we saw the best of Toney at HW. He certainly got lazy with it, but always held his own.
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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    Too short and not enough power. I don't see him putting a hurt on the big guys.
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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    Quote Originally Posted by ykdadamaja View Post
    Too short and not enough power. I don't see him putting a hurt on the big guys.
    Yes an old, fat Toney beat Ruiz, stopped Holyfield, and fought competitively against Rahman and Peter?

    Spicoli definitely right on Toney being less hungry and his fighting attitude would be less intense for James.
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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    Quote Originally Posted by Master View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ykdadamaja View Post
    Too short and not enough power. I don't see him putting a hurt on the big guys.
    Yes an old, fat Toney beat Ruiz, stopped Holyfield, and fought competitively against Rahman and Peter?

    Spicoli definitely right on Toney being less hungry and his fighting attitude would be less intense for James.
    The same Holyfield who was old and with heart issues and the Ruiz who Roy Jones ruined? lol... Are we really going to rate John Ruiz as a heavyweight with some regard after years of dismissing him?

    Rahman could never had boxed. Mayweather could have won on points with him. Sam Peter is a good call, but he too was limited and a short heavyweight as well. He was not the beast and he took Toney's power.
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    Default Re: What if James Toney campaigned only as a heavyweight?

    Quote Originally Posted by ykdadamaja View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Master View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ykdadamaja View Post
    Too short and not enough power. I don't see him putting a hurt on the big guys.
    Yes an old, fat Toney beat Ruiz, stopped Holyfield, and fought competitively against Rahman and Peter?

    Spicoli definitely right on Toney being less hungry and his fighting attitude would be less intense for James.
    The same Holyfield who was old and with heart issues and the Ruiz who Roy Jones ruined? lol... Are we really going to rate John Ruiz as a heavyweight with some regard after years of dismissing him?

    Rahman could never had boxed. Mayweather could have won on points with him. Sam Peter is a good call, but he too was limited and a short heavyweight as well. He was not the beast and he took Toney's power.
    Yes but it was an old, fat Toney just imagine a peak Toney.
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