Los Angeles, CA - “I’ll fight anyone, anytime, anywhere. I’m not afraid of anybody.” These words are more than just talk from James Toney. They are his way of life.
When touchgloves.com sat down with James over the summer, what was suppose to be a short Q & A, turned into an hour long conversation about everything from boxing, to cigars, to the champs opinion of UFC and the future of boxing. One thing is for certain; James Toney is among the most knowledgeable boxing minds I have ever been around.
He still embodies what once made boxing great; an intimate relationship between the fans and the athletes. At the Antonio Margarito/Paul Williams bout this summer, Toney was the belle of the ball. He stopped and signed autographs for every fan. He was generous, approachable, happy to stop and chit-chat with the boxing mad crowd. Far from his media created persona of an unapproachable bad guy.
“The deal with me is I’m looking forward to the future, fighting the big fights, Fighting the fights that everyone wants to see. The only way it can happen is through the support of the fans”, said Toney when asked about his future. At the time of this interview, Toney was doing training twice a day.
Since is last bout, Toney was suspended for one year after testing positive for a banned substance.
“I ain’t Barry Bonds, I ain’t Mark McGwire, I ain’t Jose Canseco. I don’t take that shit.”
Toney’s suspension has since been reduced to 6 months. He will be eligible to fight again on Nov. 24. But the question must be asked, what are the chances two fighters would test positive for the same banned substance, on the same night, when they are facing each other?” It is no question boxing is one of the most corrupt business’s around. With no real authority, no FDA, no central figure to regulate the sport, it’s no surprise personal grudges and shady figures survive in the sport.
As a fan of boxing, James agrees that the Heavyweight division is the worst in boxing. “It’s nothing. There’s nothing there. It’s lacking someone who has charisma, like myself. Right now the division has no life. The Klitchkos are nobody. They are rock stars over there in Germany, but if they walked down the street here, nobody would know them. People would think they are basketball players. If i walk down the street, everybody knows who i am…The promoters are at fault. They try and make mis-matches to make their fighters look good. In boxing, we don’t need these alphabet titles. I think we need one championship like we had in the 50’s and 60’s”
Toney isn’t too impressed with the rest of boxing’s best. “How can you call Bernard Hopkins a throwback fight when as soon as the bell rings, he’s running backwards? I fight.”… “Maywhether’s a good little fighter, but his modo is hit and not be hit. That’s the best fighter in the world?”
Away from the ring, Toney is an avid cigar connoisseur, with his own cigar line titled “Lights Out.” The cigar was custom tailored to Toney’s taste by Lou’s Tobacco in Los Angeles.
He is currently in training, with hopes of returning to the ring shortly. He also plans to launch his own promotion company, Lights Out Boxing, bringing back an old school element to the boxing world. “I promise you when I have my company up and running, i’m gonna bring boxing back to the top.”
Regardless of what happens in the future, James Toney is the only true remaining throw-back fighter. He was Floyd Mayweather Jr. before Floyd ever stepped foot in the ring. He was Terrell Owens before T.O existed. He has cemented his place in the Boxing Hall of Fame and boxing history books forever.
He embodies the talk-the-talk, walk-the-walk attitude.
Everyone knows, he can talk the talk. And if you ask his opponents in the ring, he can definitely walk the walk.
**touchgloves.com would like to thank James for taking the time to sit down with us. Also, Special thanks to Lou’s Tobacco**
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