Today at 11 a.m. EDT on the United Kingdom's BoxNation network, American veteran James "Lights Out" Toney takes to the ring in Russia to challenge highly-rated cruiserweight Denis Lebedev in a bout for the interim WBA title. It will be Toney's first fight at cruiserweight since his all-time classic against Vassiliy Jirov in 2003.
Lebedev (22-1, 17 KO) was last seen on May 21, knocking out Roy Jones Jr in scary fashion in the 10th round. The 32-year-old Russian has power in both hands, is the far fresher fighter of today's combatants, and has home field advantage. But most important, he's been fighting at this weight for a long time now.
The 42-year-old Toney (73-6-3, 44 KO) on the other hand dropped 58 pounds from his February ho-hum win over Damon Reed to hit 199 on the scales for this one, and there is great concern that he's going to be in bad shape, even if he looks better cosmetically.
At his best, Toney is a great stylist, a defensive wizard, and an exceptionally tough nut to crack. The question is how close to "his best" he is anymore.
Also on the card will be Ukrainian-born, California-based light heavyweight prospect/contender Ismayl Sillakh (16-0, 13 KO). Sillakh will be taking on Ali Ismailov (18-7-1, 13 KO) in what should be a very easy fight.