James "Lights Out" Toney once seemed on his way to being an all-time great. Now 46, his pro career hit a new low on Saturday night, as he lost a 10-round decision in Saint Charles, Missouri, to a 40-year-old club fighter names Charles Ellis.
Ellis (10-3-1, 8 KO) is a native of Wichita, Kansas, who had lost two straight fights to Adam Kownacki and Ed Fountain, a couple of prospects early in their careers. None of Ellis' nine wins coming into this fight were worth much of anything, and he'd fit those nine wins into a 9-year-plus period between September 2004 and May 2014.
Scores for the fight were 99-91, 98-92, and 97-93, indicating that this fight wasn't even competitive.
Toney (76-10-3, 46 KO) recently did an interview where he said that he and Shaquille O'Neal are cousins. It was not the first time we've heard him with slurred speech, but it's definitely getting worse.
From what we can see and hear of Toney these days, his being licensed to fight by the Missouri commission is questionable at the very best, and truly negligent and dangerous at worst. There are supposed to be actual medical standards for boxers to get licensed. Instead, too often we see clearly damaged fighters continuing to get licenses and continuing to fight on.
Hopefully, this loss will be the last for James Toney, who hasn't been a relevant fighter since 2007. He's still had a hell of a career, and was once one of the best fighters on the planet. But at this point, commissions are playing with fire letting him into their rings.