Line Them Up for James Toney

BY Rick Folstad ON June 12, 2004
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Lock the doors, bar the windows, call the cops and turn the dogs loose. Someone left the cage door open and James "Lights Out" Toney escaped.

He was last seen stomping on a feeble heavyweight division that’s in dire need of some color that he’s ready to provide. He was heard dishing out verbal beatings to the heavyweight champions and contenders he hopes will someday take the dastardly things he says about them personally.

He’s just a guy looking for a fight and a payday.

If you don’t like Toney for any other reason, like him for his complete disregard for the over- worked concept of "political correctness." Toney can’t spell it, can’t pronounce it and can’t abide by it. Hunting season is open and everyone is a target. You can duck, but you're still going to get splattered. Toney is to political correctness what Daffy Duck is to charm. He makes Mike Tyson sound like a game-show host.

Toney’s constant tirade against the top heavyweights of the world has been kicked up a notch recently. He’s been given the green light to start training full-tilt again following a torn Achilles tendon suffered in January as he was preparing to fight 6-foot-7 Jameel McCline.

According to Thursday’s press release from Toney’s promoter, Goossen Tutor, the 2003 fighter of the year "received a clean bill of health from world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Tony Daly, allowing Toney to resume all boxing training."

With that good news, Toney is working his way back onto center stage. Just give him the floor and start taking notes.

For awhile following the injury, Toney was relatively quiet, the storm backing off for awhile to let the foot heal while he tried to get his financial future in line.

But even while on injured reserve, Toney couldn’t keep his mouth shut, couldn’t keep the insults at bay. Slipping his way into the press conference following April’s heavyweight fight between Vitali Klitschko and Corrie Sanders, he essentially told the world he was only sidelined, not retired, reminding everyone that no present-day heavyweight in the world had a chance against him.

His courageous battle cry? "Anybody, anywhere, anytime, they’re all going to get it." Brings a tear to your eye.

A former world middleweight champ who struggled most of his career in that never-ending crusade against the powerful allure of meat and potatoes and second helpings of strawberry cheese cake, Toney moved up to the heavyweights out of convenience rather than choice. It’s easier to eat than to starve. And once he was there, he settled comfortably into the division, and like a kid getting ready for Santa Claus, he began making out his hit list.

Following last year’s win over a fading Evander Holyfield, he’s now ready to continue where he left off. According to the press release, Toney said, "It has killed me sitting here having to listen to who’s going to take over the heavyweight division and how the division is wide open. Forget it. It’s closed as soon as I’m back in the ring. I’m the best heavyweight, period. I’m actually going crazy waiting for Papa Goose (promoter Dan Goossen) to line them up so I can knock their ass down."

Yeah, he’s back. But did he ever really leave?

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