At age 45 one can't exactly make the claim that James Toney is still going strong. Within the last few years he's lost to opponents, who in his prime he would have dismantled with ease. The 2003 cruiserweight version of James Toney would have had no problem with Denis Lebedev, as oppose to the 2011 version of the once great defensive master who was outgunned and manhandled by the since exposed Russian who oddly enough was taken apart by a man a lot more out of shape and less talented than Toney ever was, I speak of Guillermo Jones.
The James Toney who toyed and countered John Ruiz in 2005 to capture the much passed around WBA heavyweight title would have no issue doing the same to limited but very powerful Lucas Browne of Australia, whom Toney lost to earlier this year.
This time around the man they call "Lights Out" is in the UK as the main attraction if you will in Eddie Hearn's farcical Prizefighters boxing tournament. The one night contest will feature heavyweights and will also see the return of promising young prospect and Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua in a separate bout.
The line up thus far gives Toney an edge based on talent, experience, and well...talent. He's by far the most talented heavyweight fighting that night, and that includes Anthony Joshua. Not to say that in a realm relegated by the heavyweight James Toney, but more so to say Toney is by far one of the most gifted fighters of any weight class, in any era that we've ever seen. Skill has never kept James from reaching the pentacle; only out of ring eating habits and a lack of dedication stifled the completeness of Toney's accomplishments. Albeit hall of fame worthy, one must wonder what James could have been had he opted to battle his bouts of hunger like he battled his opponents.
I won't be able to see this latest Prizefighter live because well, I live in America and we don't carry Sky Sports in the US; at least I don't think we do. But I expect James to win the whole thing and it mean absolutely nothing if you're from America because we know what he is at this point.
He's 45 years old, has had injury problems for quite some time, and hasn't been in a significant boxing match since he beat John Ruiz eight and a half years ago.
The former Lineal Middleweight, former Super Middleweight, former cruiserweight, and former Heavyweight champion of the world is nowhere to be found. That version of Toney is a pound for pound staple, somewhere between #1 and #5. However, what we're stuck with is a fighter looking for glory that has seen its more triumphant days fall victim to repetition and lackluster victory ushered in by two 6'7 brothers from the former Soviet Union.
I pick Toney for the favorite and the upset to win Prizefighter, but like I said, it will mean absolutely nothing.