James “Lights Out” Toney is back, though he never really went anywhere.
He was always just a phone call away, a guy ready to fight anybody, waiting for the right opportunity to prove that at 32 or 33, your boxing life doesn’t end. It just smoothes out, sweetens and becomes a little more in focus.
Toney (64-4-2, 41 KO’s) took a couple years off from the fight game about four years ago, but that just means he doesn’t have the wear and tear that might have come with fighting four or five wars during that time. He’s like a good set of tires on a car that was up on blocks for 20 months. There are still a lot of miles left. Toney signed with Goossen Tutor Promotions last week in the hopes that he can kick-start a career that goes back to 1988 and includes IBF super-middleweight and middleweight titles.
He’s already fought twice this year, but he doesn’t think his future lies in beating the Michael Rushes and the Sione Asipelis of the world.
He lost a 12-round decision to Roy Jones Jr., back in 1994 and just like everyone else who lost to Jones, he says he’d like another shot at the light-heavyweight champ.
The difference with Toney is, when he says he wants a rematch, you actually believe him. He thinks he’s the best cruiserweight in the world and there are not a lot of people lining up to argue with him.
“I’m going to stay at cruiserweight,’’ he says. “Until I unify the title.’’
As for signing with Goossen Tutor, it didn’t take long for something to happen. Toney is scheduled to fight Jason Robinson - ranked No. 10 by the IBF - on Aug. 18 in Temecula, Calif.
It’s part of a double-header that will also feature “Diamond” David Santos in an IBF super-featherweight title fight against champion Steve Forbes.
“I found (Dan) Goossen,”
Toney says of his new alliance, making it sound almost like a religious experience.
Of course, he’s known Goossen since 1989.
“He’s the type of fighter you look to sign,’’ Goossen said. “He’s been there, done that. He knows what it takes.’’
The thing about Toney is, he doesn’t want to come to the dance unless he can spike the punch.
His name sells because of his talent, but also because he brings a few extras along with him when he signs and later shows up. He’s flashy in winning and his opinions come quick and easy.
“He’s outspoken and he has a recognizable name and that’s half the battle,’’ Goossen said. “The other half is getting your hand raised.’’