James Toney has been a lot of things over the years, but "classy" has not really ever been a word used to describe him. However, after today's one-sided defeat in Russia at the hands of Denis Lebedev, the 42-year-old veteran showed some humility and praised Lebedev. A couple quotes from BoxingScene.com:
"Denis Lebedev is a great fighter. But he never hurt me. Injury is what hurt me more than anything else. I strained my knee in the second round and this affected my performance tonight. I had no excuses though – it was an honest victory. I also want to thank Agalarov Estate for its tremendous support and hospitality."
"I wish Denis would take on Marco Huck next. If not, it will be interesting to see him against the WBC champion. As for Antonio Tarver, I’m positively sure that Lebedev would knock him out."
"James Toney ain’t finished yet. I’ll be back when I’m healed. I have lots of things to do and a lot of people on my wishlist."
While Toney does claim the injury, I think anyone who saw the fight can attest to the fact that he's really not making an excuse. He did hurt his knee in the fight, and spent much of the bout favoring his left leg. I do think he was hurt at various points by Lebedev's punches, but as was noted by the BoxNation commentators, a lot of it was a lack of balance sending him staggering about, too.
As for Huck vs Lebedev II, he's absolutely correct. That is the fight that should happen.
As for his own future, a fight like this doesn't entitle someone to check names off their wishlist, especially when two of them are the Klitschko brothers. If anyone really thinks he presents any challenge to Wladimir or Vitali at this stage, they're nuts. Like old rival Roy Jones Jr, Toney is physically finished. He may still have the desire (relatively speaking in Toney's case), but it's just not there anymore.