This morning on U.S. time, James "Lights Out" Toney picks up his long-faded boxing career with what may be a final major fight, heading to Russia to face highly-rated cruiserweight banger Denis Lebedev. Toney has dropped 58 pounds since his last fight in February to make the cruiserweight limit for the first time in eight years.
Bad Left Hook will have live, round-by-round coverage of the event.
Fight time: 11:00 a.m. EDT
Location: Khodynka Ice Palace - Moscow, Russia
TV channel: BoxNation (United Kingdom)
Odds: Lebedev is, as you would expect, favored over the 42-year-old American. SBG Global has Lebedev at -600, same as 5Dimes. Toney is an underdog of +400 and +450 on those books, respectively.
Here's what Leon Cris Gamboa had to say about the fight yesterday in his preview and look back at the decline of Toney:
James Toney enters the ring on Friday against Denis Lebedev officially weighing 199 lbs. He comes in 58 pounds lighter than in his last fight against Damon Reed on February of this year (an unimpressive UD victory for Toney). Years ago, a Toney return to cruiserweight would have been exciting, but as is, his weight loss brings barely any buzz. Toney has been in terrible form for a long time.
... I think he's going to be bullied, I think he's going to lose, but I don't think he's going to get stopped- he'll be lethargic and terrible, but I think he'll still be tough enough to survive the hard-punching Lebedev who lacks urgency in his fights. I'd love to be wrong about the first two.
Personally, I'm expecting Toney to stink out the joint, Lebedev to win the rounds, and Toney to complain at the end that his superior defense was clearly the deciding factor, even though he'll barely throw any punches. This is a fight for the diehards, the curious, and the bored. No reason to lie -- the chances that this is a good fight are very low.