In anticipation of Saturday’s heavyweight title fight between James “Lights Out” Toney and Hasim Rahman from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall and broadcast on HBO, Lights Out met with the press via telephone conference call on the afternoon of March 8 and this is what went down.
OPERATOR: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. My name is Brianna and I will be your conference facilitator today.
At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the James Toney conference call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks, there will be a question-and-answer period. If you would like to ask a question during that time, please press star then the number one on your telephone keypad. If you would like to withdraw your question, press the pound key.
Thank you. It is now my pleasure to turn the floor over to your host. Sir, you may begin your call.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: Hi. Thanks everybody for joining us for the upcoming WBC world heavyweight championship, which is going to take place March 18th at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
On today’s call, we have James Toney former heavyweight champ, his co-trainer and strength coach, John Arthur, Dan Goossen, President of Goossen Tutor, and James is there, I presume, on the line.
JAMES TONEY, FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: I’m right here.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: All right, James. You want to open up the call and tell us how everything is going?
JAMES TONEY: Things are going good. I can’t wait until March 18t. It’s going to be a hell of night. It’s going to be a special night when we now wash out (ph) the world once again.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: All right. OK, operator, we are ready for questions.
OPERATOR: Thank you. If you would like to ask a question, you may press star one on your telephone keypad.
Our first question comes from Dan Rafael.
DAN RAFAEL: James?
JAMES TONEY: Yo, what’s up man?
DAN RAFAEL: How are you, sir?
JAMES TONEY: Good.
DAN GOOSSEN, PRESIDENT, GOOSSEN TUTOR: You better at least get a Dan, Dan in.
DAN RAFAEL: Hey, Dan, how are you?
DAN GOOSSEN: Good.
DAN RAFAEL: James you fought for the heavyweight championship in April of last year against John Ruiz. You won the fight, and then they took the title away from you because of what happened with your post-fight drug test. Can you talk about just the way you feel about getting a second opportunity to come back and try to win the title again?
JAMES TONEY: I would. You know this, is like, like I said, I’ve been there before. And to you, I really won’t consider it. I am the current IB (ph) heavyweight championship of the world. The belt don’t make me. I meant (ph) the title. So you know I’m not in this situation. I’ve been here for 15 years, so you know what, I’m just say, hey. The WBC belt is the only belt I haven’t worn. I’m looking forward to taking it home with me on that night.
DAN RAFAEL: Can you also talk a little bit about what happened between you Hasim Rahman in Mexico? He gave us his account yesterday when we spoke to him on the conference call …
JAMES TONEY: … he’s going to give you a false account …
DAN RAFAEL: … I’d like to hear your side of what happened down there.
JAMES TONEY: Well he wound me like a little sissy. He got mad because when I came down the elevator, and to me the press, right, Dan wanted me to. Me and my wife came down. He got mad because he had no attention. So he came mad, started saying, oh the champ is here. Got to push me out of the way. Damn thing got out of hand on his behalf. People were holding me. Nobody was holding him. He scared like a little woman. He slapped me. He scratched me because he’s not fast enough to hit me.
DAN RAFAEL: Did you say he didn’t slap you, but he scratched you?
JAMES TONEY: Scratched me on my lip like a little bitch.
DAN RAFAEL: Does that make this fight for you a little more personal than some other fights you’ve had in the past?
JAMES TONEY: Nothing personal because (INAUDIBLE) saying, I mean he’s, he’s going so he tells me (ph) (INAUDIBLE) big bad ass, but he ain’t. He’s a fucking pussy.
DAN RAFAEL: OK. Thanks a lot, James. Good luck to you next week.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Bernard Fernandez with Philadelphia Daily.
BERNARD FERNANDEZ, PHILADELPHIA DAILY: Hey, James. How are you?
JAMES TONEY: Hey, what’s up Bernard? How are you doing?
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: I’m doing OK. You started your career as a middleweight, and while there’s a lot of us on this phone call that aren’t exactly Schwartzeneggers, you know, you’ve heard some jives about your weight, you know, that …
JAMES TONEY: No, I’ve heard it all. But you know what? The same reporters that are writing about me, you know, they can’t talk. They can’t talk. Look at themselves in the mirror, friends, you know what I’m saying? Look at themselves in the mirror. That’s all they got to do. Look at themselves in the mirror. The difference between me and everybody else is that I can fight. It doesn’t matter.
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: I mean, so you know, so when people use the F word, you know, in this case fat, it doesn’t bother you?
JAMES TONEY: Why should it bother me? I can fight. They ain’t whooping my ass. Ain’t nobody yet.
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: Yes, I mean because the thing …
JAMES TONEY: Last time I got my ass whooped was by a doctor, 37 years ago.
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: It’s like that old saying, looks like Tarzan, fights like Jane, right? So as long as you win, it doesn’t matter?
JAMES TONEY: It’s doesn’t matter. But look, like I say, I’m always in shape. If I’m always being fat and out of shape, why I’m beating all these top heavyweights? Why I’m beating all these top cruiser weights? You know what I’m saying? Why would I beat all these middleweights back in the day? Tell me that? You all explain the situation. You all tell me what the chemistry is?
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: No. I mean, you know, obviously, you know, you were 160 then you were a super middle and you went to light heavy then cruiser. How difficult was it at 160 and up to succeeding various weight classes, you know, to make weight, and you’re always trying to starve yourself and, you know …
JAMES TONEY: (INAUDIBLE)
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: … there’s guys like Duran and others, you know, that haven’t been able to do that. But how difficult was it, you know, to continually have to make weight?
JAMES TONEY: Well the thing is everybody didn’t, see a lot of people don’t know, when I came back from football I was 205 pounds. Everybody was always telling me I should fight heavyweight at the time, so I dropped down. Always, I had my first whole (ph) fight at 158 against Stephen Lee. I lost a lot of weight. You know, so I always struggled with my weight throughout my whole career to maintain an unnatural weight for me. When I was middleweight champ of the world, I would the last week alone just water and lettuce. You all didn’t know that, did you Bernard?
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: Well I’d heard that, but I mean it’s got to be a certain relief, I mean you’re training everyday. Obviously you’re able to go 12 rounds with no problem, but not have to like, you know, eat lettuce and water all the time or whatever it is, whatever it is. I mean …
JAMES TONEY: … weight right now. So I’m fighting better. I’m feeling a lot better. I’m in my natural strength, you know what I’m saying? I’m even stronger. Everyone is saying Hasim Rahman is bigger than me and he’s stronger. Man, you can be big all you want to. He’s lacking, he’s, he’s lacking in the one area which really counts, that’s the heart. It doesn’t matter. I know how to fight. All these guys, and particular when they came up. I never got no protection. Look at my damn record. I’ve never been protected. Look at the record man. But now you boxers, if you’re going to box, any boxer in the story (ph), you can look at my record, you can see, I didn’t get the golden boy hype. I didn’t get the golden boy protection. I didn’t get the David Reed protection. I didn’t get none of that. I had to fight my way here, and you know why? I wanted to. I figure if you’re bigger and badder than me, let me see. Prove it to me. Fight me.
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: One last question, James. And that is, I know that you feel like sometimes you haven’t gotten your recognition as a heavyweight. I mean you beat, you beat Evander, you stopped Evander and people said Evander was old …
JAMES TONEY: … old …
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: … and then they had the drug test with the thing with Ruiz. I mean, is this the fight that’s going to, you know, like remove all doubts that you are a real heavyweight?
JAMES TONEY: Let me tell you something. I beat Evander Holyfield, right? I knocked him out. Now a year earlier, beating Hasim Rahman. Went 12 rounds with him, this bird (ph). I come and fight him. I’m the short holder (ph). All of a sudden he’s old and he’s shot. Then I come back (INAUDIBLE) went one arm (ph) for 11 rounds. And he isn’t able to quit, such as you all boys. You all love him, but the way you all love with the Crisco (ph), the Crisco (ph) Brothers. You know what I’m saying. Then I came back. I’ve beaten Ruiz once again, with one arm. My arm wasn’t even healed yet. I still beat him. Then I beat a young one, but you all support one of your up and coming guys, Dominick Guinn. Same size by the way as Hasim Rahman, and I destroyed him. So what do I got to do? What is there I need to prove to you all that I’m the best fighter in the world, period? But you know what, March 18th will show you that. After March 18th I want every, I want every box writer on their hands and knees and kiss my feet before I even talk to you all.
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: Well, you know, I’ll certainly give you credit James. I don’t know if I’ll go quite that far.
JAMES TONEY: Hey, you know what?
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: I’ll blow you a kiss, OK?
JAMES TONEY: You should give me credit now for what I’ve done. You should give me credit now because, you know, ain’t nobody in history done what I’ve done. Cump (ph) was beside one person, and that was Edwin Childs (ph). The only middleweight to campaign (ph) full time in the heavyweight. Everybody sells start (ph) doing what he did. Go back and research that.
BERNARD FERNANDEZ: Yes.
JAMES TONEY: Roy Jones didn’t do it, he did it for one fight and ran everybody (ph) down. You all still, you all still climbed on his back. Give me my respect. You all don’t give it to me, I’m going to take it. And when I do, if I do take it, I’m going to spit it right back in you all’s face. You all ain’t going to like that. I promise you. And I really don’t care if you all like me at all because it don’t make me no damn difference.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: They all love you.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Lem Satterfield with Baltimore Sun.
LEM SATTERFIELD, BALTIMORE SUN: Hey what’s up James?
JAMES TONEY: Hi my man.
LEM SATTERFIELD: Hey, how are you doing?
JAMES TONEY: And you know it (ph).
LEM SATTERFIELD: Hey. So talking about the way you feel again, you were 235 against Guinn and 233 against Ruiz and you were still able to be effective. Do you think you can come in at that weight and still be effective against Rahman say if you do?
JAMES TONEY: Easily, why not?
LEM SATTERFIELD: OK.
JAMES TONEY: I’m a fighter. I’m a true fighter. I’m a real fighter, man. You know that.
LEM SATTERFIELD: Right.
JAMES TONEY: … weight, all my full career, I fought the best heavyweights out there, I fought the biggest heavyweights out there, in gym, out gym, in the streets, don’t matter. I know how to fight. I’m a real fighter. And you know and everybody in the Baltimore area knows, and knows the answer. They know I’m a real fighter and they know Hasim Rahman ain’t. You guys got him glued to (ph) like he a monster because he fought in those Glen Burnie shows on there (INAUDIBLE). You know what I’m saying?
LEM SATTERFIELD: Weight isn’t necessarily an issue with you. It’s more like, even fell for (ph) as his trainer has said and Angelo Dundee and even Holyfield have said, it’s more the accuracy, you know, with these big guys penetrating their defense. Is that what it is?
JAMES TONEY: It’s all about knowing how to fight, how to make opening, which I know how to do.
LEM SATTERFIELD: Is that, are you more particularly effective against big heavyweights?
JAMES TONEY: Oh I love it. I love being big heavyweight too. I feel like I’m going to a buffet.
LEM SATTERFIELD: The heavyweight division continually gets a bad rap. And you know, you yourself often refer to the other guys as bums. Given that, will you, will this take, what will it take for you as perceived, you know, by a lot of us as, you know, the premier heavyweight to secure a respectable legacy?
JAMES TONEY: My legacy already there. I’ve done some that only a few people have been able to do. My thing is this, as long as they’re fighting the best damn boys out there who the public and the press want to see me fight. I’m fighting Hasim Rahman. He’s the best within the division right now. So I’m fighting him. I’m going to destroy him. I’m going to show everybody. I’m going to knock Hasim right out. I am the best fighter in the world pound for pound. And everyone (ph) wants me to prove it if I fight these, in fighting guys like Hasim Rahman who wear the belt.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: And Lem, you know, just to throw in one other thing, James is going to show on March 18th that whoever he fights thereafter, OK, will be somewhat similar to what it was fighting Tyson in his heyday, Forman in his heyday, that whoever he fights will be a major fight.
LEM SATTERFIELD: I’ve got two questions, one for Dan and one for James. James, back to, you raised the steroid issue. Do you believe in spite of the steroid controversy and the resulting sanction that you still are the WBA champion, the people and the public still see you as the champion?
JAMES TONEY: I am the International Boxer’s Association heavyweight champion of the world. I am the people’s champion of the world. That’s all that matters.
LEM SATTERFIELD: OK, Dan, you had made a reference when we were in New York that James wasn’t just going to dominate Rahman, but he was going to destroy Rahman. Can you elaborate on that and do you still stand by that?
DAN GOOSSEN: Oh I just think James, I mean some people may scoff at this, I think he’s coming to his peak right now. I think his best years are ahead of him. And I believe that when you guys see him March 18th walk into that right and even beforehand when you get there and see him in person at the weight in, he looks great. He’s in great shape. He’s mentally fit. He’s physically fit. And we haven’t had that for many years. So based upon that, I feel the best is yet to come. And based upon that, March 18th I see as light’s out.
LEM SATTERFIELD: OK, so you stand by your statement?
JAMES TONEY: Yes he does, 100 percent.
DAN GOOSSEN: Of course, you’ve got me in a headlock right now.
JAMES TONEY: Yes.
LEM SATTERFIELD: OK, thanks a lot.
JAMES TONEY: Man, man.
LEM SATTERFIELD: Yes.
JAMES TONEY: You feel the same way too.
LEM SATTERFIELD: Say it again?
JAMES TONEY: You feel the same way.
LEM SATTERFIELD: OK. Hey, one last question, James. Can you talk a little bit about, you talked about Baltimore and having ties to Baltimore, can you elaborate on that just a little bit?
JAMES TONEY: My grandfather used to live there. Orange Harim, he passed. I used to go to Colts games with him back in the day.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: That was your grandfather?
JAMES TONEY: Yes.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: So his grandfather lived there, Lem.
JAMES TONEY: I got love for Baltimore and Baltimore got love for me.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: Are you there?
LEM SATTERFIELD: I’m still here.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: OK, good.
JAMES TONEY: Hasim Rahman don’t even live there no more, so tell you all something, how a city going to get behind him when he don’t even live there?
LEM SATTERFIELD: OK.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Eddie Goldman with Secondsout Radio.
EDDIE GOLDMAN, SECONDSOUT RADIO: James, how are you doing today?
JAMES TONEY: What’s happening?
EDDIE GOLDMAN: OK, the question I want to ask you about the weight, can you tell us what weight you’re at now and what weight you think you’re going to plan to come in at the fight …
JAMES TONEY: Why is weight the issue there? I might come in at 265, how knows? I haven’t decided yet.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: I’ve got the scale right here, James. Got the scale right here.
JAMES TONEY: Yes, I’m on it. It says 250.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: Two fifty, no 251.
EDDIE GOLDMAN: OK. Well you’re right in the way that weight isn’t as big of an issue because although, you know, you talk in a very outspoken way, you’re such a tactician in the ring. I mean you’re known for defense, counter punching, and you’re not a brawler that just goes out and swings. Do you think you’re not given enough credit in that respect?
JAMES TONEY: Nobody never give me credit for anything. If I was flashy like Roy Jones you all would be all over my nut sack. But you know, hey, that’s the way it is. It’s boxing. You know, I’m a true warrior. I’ll fight anybody and everybody, anywhere, any time. It doesn’t matter. I don’t get, I don’t get my proper respect. I’m one of the best fighters in every division I’ve been in. You know what I’m saying? I’ve fought the best fighters at every ear (ph) …
EDDIE GOLDMAN: Well …
JAMES TONEY: … know what I’m saying? Michael Nunn knows all these guys, Barkley, Prince Charles Williams, Jirov, Holyfield. I’ve fought all these guys. Doesn’t do – all these guys – and I still don’t get no respect. But you know what, come March 18th, you all think Hasim Rahman is the best heavyweight in the world and I feel like I’m the really draspy (ph) underrated underdog. I’m proving once again, I’m proving you all wrong again. It doesn’t matter when I, it doesn’t matter what weight I come in at, the problem is you all don’t want to give me (INAUDIBLE) I can truly fight.
EDDIE GOLDMAN: Why do you think you don’t get the respect that you think you deserve?
JAMES TONEY: I don’t kiss nobody’s ass. I’m not (INAUDIBLE). I don’t kiss ass. I won’t kiss nobody’s ass. And like you said, I’m very, I’m very outspoken. I say what’s on my mind all the time. I speak the truth and people don’t like the truth.
EDDIE GOLDMAN: What do you think can be, do you think it’s going to take knocking out Rahman to change that rather than just saying that?
JAMES TONEY: I don’t care. I’m not trying, I’m not trying to please nobody. I’m doing me.
EDDIE GOLDMAN: Now after this fight, Dan said that’s going to be a major heavyweight. Do you want to work to unify these belts? Because as you know it’s very confusing to the fans. Even if you win this fight, it’s still all these other champions of these other organizations out there.
JAMES TONEY: There’s only one champion, there’s me. Only one champion. If you want to call the other guys champions, that on you guys.
DAN GOOSSEN: And Eddie, I want to make something clear. What I said is, is that any fight James will be in after March 18th – and that’s really all we’re looking at …
EDDIE GOLDMAN: Right.
DAN GOOSSEN: … addressing (ph) today – will be big. OK? Because of James Toney, not because of anybody else. It’ll be the same as you wanted to see a Tyson fight, a Foreman fight, an Ali fight, it’s going to be the same with James. James will carry the heavyweight division on his shoulders, and when he says that they’re bums, they’re bums compared to him. And again, his words will be backed up in action on March 18th.
JAMES TONEY: Yes it will. I mean I’m heated (ph).
EDDIE GOLDMAN: How do you go, when you ask the fans, even after March 18th, who is the heavyweight champion of the world and you have to start talking about these sanctioned bodies, to the casual fans who used to, in the millions, watch Tyson and Foreman and Ali and even going back you mentioned Edwin Charles (ph) and Joe Lewis and those people. It’s very confusing because there was one heavyweight champion and you didn’t have this confusion. Every other sport has one champion, a super bowl champion, a world series champion and so forth. Do you want to unify these titles at one point?
JAMES TONEY: After March 18th, like they saying now, everybody already knows I’m the heavyweight champion of the world. I’m the people’s champ right now. But after March 18th everybody is going to know that. They going to fully know there’s only one heavyweight champion out there and that’s James Toney, worldwide, no doubt about it.
EDDIE GOLDMAN: OK, do you want to, are you going to predict the round? I know you said you wanted to knock Rahman out and you’re predicting …
JAMES TONEY: … punish me, I’m going to punish him. He had like he some big rolls, some big old tub guy. You know, like I say, I’m excited, you know, hey, I’m going to keep him to the word. I’m going to be right in front of him. I’m not going no where. You know me. I, have you ever seen me run from anybody in the ring?
EDDIE GOLDMAN: No, no. I’m looking forward, I’m tremendously looking forward to this fight. I hope …
JAMES TONEY: … anybody in the ring?
EDDIE GOLDMAN: I’ve never seen you run and I’ll tell you I’m tremendously impressed by the technique, which not everybody I think understands, which is why I think they were surprised when you fought Holyfield and Jirov and beat those guys.
JAMES TONEY: I stand right, and I stand right in front, I stayed right in front of them too, didn’t I?
EDDIE GOLDMAN: Yes.
JAMES TONEY: That’s the same way I’m going to be against Hasim Rahman. I’m going to stand right in front of him and say, hey, and listen when he hit me he’s going, God damn why he, why nothing happening to him? It doesn’t matter. I’m hard headed. I’m very hard headed.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: All right, Eddie.
EDDIE GOLDMAN: All right, thank you very much.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: (INAUDIBLE)
EDDIE GOLDMAN: … March 18th.
JAMES TONEY: Yes.
EDDIE GOLDMAN: Thanks.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Tim Graham with Buffalo News.
TIM GRAHAM, BUFFALO NEWS: Dan, just real quick. I know that you know that you’re very big on your guy here and what he can do for the future, but I wanted to ask you about this match up specifically and its significance for the heavyweight division. I guess maybe even taking out who the two fighters are, just the fact that they are two big fighters, probably the biggest match up since Lenox Lewis retired. Would you agree with that?
DAN GOOSSEN: Yes, I mean come March 18th you’ve got the two best heavyweights fighting each other, and I believe that’s where the prominence of this match stirs the electricity in the heavyweight division because, you know, what we’ve needed is someone that will, you know, carry the heavyweight division on his shoulders from the standpoint of fighting every big fight you can have. And that’s what James has always been about. He mentioned his middleweight and super middleweight days. Never shied away from proving who was the best. And that’s what we’ll do in the heavyweight division. That’s what we started out doing from the get go. No one gave him a shot against Jirov. We saw what he did, and quite frankly, if he would have had that same fight two years after really getting into the swing of things, or even a year later, he would have probably stopped Vasili within six rounds.
But he just got continually better. We’ve had some obstacles. We’re past those obstacles. I believe you guys are going to see one of the best heavyweights, one of the best heavyweights, forget the time period we’re in, one of the best heavyweights that have ever fought in heavyweight history. I truly believe that because James Toney is real.
TIM GRAHAM: And James, I wanted to ask you about, you know, just the whole idea of the anger that you speak with, that you carry yourself with …
JAMES TONEY: I’m not angry. I’m not angry. You all assume that I’m angry.
TIM GRAHAM: You sound angry.
JAMES TONEY: Huh?
TIM GRAHAM: You sound angry.
JAMES TONEY: That’s because that’s what you say. I mean you think I’m angry, but I’m not. That’s how I get (INAUDIBLE). Yes, you know what I’m thinking, I’m thinking may even because you know why because you guys can’t give me the thing that you all want to hear.
TIM GRAHAM: Yes, you give us plenty of what we want to hear, believe me. I think there are a lot of people whose fingers are going to be tired at the end from writing and typing because you’re a hell of a quote James. But how much of this, is just motivation? I mean you seem to really be, you know, banging the drum for yourself, you know, to get yourself pumped up for the fight. But then by the same token you say you don’t care what we think.
JAMES TONEY: I’m a fighter. That’s what I do for a living. Let them (ph) fight. The thing is, you all say I’m angry, I’m not. If somebody come up on me like Rahman do right now, of course I’m going to retaliate. I’m going to retaliate my way. It’s a way you guys ain’t used to. You got used to someone like (INAUDIBLE) being prime and proper. That ain’t me.
TIM GRAHAM: Right. Well no, I don’t think anybody …
JAMES TONEY: I’m not going to kiss nobody ass. I’m not going to kiss your reporter ass. Hey, the only ass I’m going to kiss is my kids.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: And the public’s kids because he loves kids and …
JAMES TONEY: Yes.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: … fans, OK.
JAMES TONEY: … say it, you know what I’m saying? But I’m not going to bow down and, you know, if somebody attacks me in a bad way, I’m going to get him no matter what. I don’t care if it’s the President (ph). I’m going to get him.
TIM GRAHAM: OK, I’m just trying to understand to see if you could explain to me because you say you don’t care what other people think but yet you’re constantly …
JAMES TONEY: … until the fights over with. If you catch me, if you ask anybody, they’ll tell you, James is (INAUDIBLE) person. I like people, I make people laugh. I do that. But you know what? You all don’t want to see the turn, a lot of people don’t want to take the time to do that. You guys go on assumption.
TIM GRAHAM: Well no, I’m taking the, I wanted to ask you now, you know, that’s why I’m asking you now. Why, you know, why this edge, you know, that you feel the need to, you know, to …
JAMES TONEY: (INAUDIBLE)
TIM GRAHAM: … show how (INAUDIBLE) you are and dissimilarly (ph) you know, I mean the quote you said earlier about give …
JAMES TONEY: … give quote, I’m going to give you a good bite right here. The reason I’m on the edge is I’m short and fat and old. Is that what you’re going to write about me? I’m short, fat and old and bald.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: I told you, Tim, he talks the truth.
TIM GRAHAM: Well (ph) …
UNKNOWN MALE #1: Well seriously Tim, you know what, we’re a little over a week away from the fight. He’s not on edge. He’s read some comments by Rahman and all of that. He, you know, James, quite frankly, as far as I’m concerned, has one of the best personalities, especially outside the ring. But getting this close to a fight, he’s just getting ready and what you hear from him is the truth.
TIM GRAHAM: I agree. I think that there seems to be a chip on the shoulder here that maybe isn’t …
UNKNOWN MALE #1: Yes, but we’re going to …
TIM GRAHAM: … 100 percent, I mean as you keep saying, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but I think a lot of people see him for the fighter that he is. And he’s a great fighter.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: Yes.
TIM GRAHAM: But I don’t understand why he feels the need to insist that everybody doesn’t give him his credit when I think he does get his credit.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: OK, well look, on March 18th, we’re going to go out there and just put another level …
JAMES TONEY: A notch on my belt, we win I’m a 70, knock out I’m a 45.
TIM GRAHAM: OK, thanks fellows.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: Thank you.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Keith Idec with Herald News.
KEITH IDEC, HERALD NEWS: Hey, James, how are you doing?
JAMES TONEY: What’s up?
DAN GOOSSEN: Hey Keith.
KEITH IDEC: Hey Dan. How are you?
DAN GOOSSEN: Good.
KEITH IDEC: James, I was just wondering, other than losing the WBA belt, which …
JAMES TONEY: (INAUDIBLE)
KEITH IDEC: … isn’t important to most people, do you think that your win against Ruiz was tarnished because of the test or that people said, you know, he just made a mistake in taking something that he was taking to get over his shoulder injury and they really didn’t count it too much towards how you won the fight?
JAMES TONEY: For number one (INAUDIBLE) fight wasn’t really get up June (ph). But when once (INAUDIBLE) people’s champion, so called people’s champion Crisco (ph) pulled out again, faked the injury, you know, they came available sooner. You know, on the record, Dan asked me, are you sure you’re going to be ready? I said, Dan, get the guy to fight (ph). Which I …
DAN GOOSSEN: Which I wish I didn’t do at this point …
JAMES TONEY: … because he knows …
DAN GOOSSEN: He had one arm.
JAMES TONEY: … he asked me everything, but I wasn’t thinking inside out. I’m like Dan, take the fight, take the date, take the date, take the date. You know, not knowing that, you know, not thinking that I’m still on the rehab with the medication and everything in my system. You know what I’m saying? So you know it was honest mistake. I didn’t hide from, I didn’t hide the ordeal from the reporters like the sissy ass baseball players did. You know what I’m saying? I didn’t run from the situation. I fought it head on. You know what I’m saying? So I don’t regret anything. I don’t feel, I feel that people see, the people that saw me fight John Ruiz with one arm, which anybody else wouldn’t have done. They would have backed out, quit, like the Criscos (ph) would have backed out and did any other thing. But I went ahead with the fight. I took it. I suffered the consequences afterwards. We dealt with it. It’s over. And now we’re moving on.
KEITH IDEC: Were you guys kidding about 251 or were you serious?
JAMES TONEY: I’m serious.
KEITH IDEC: OK.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: And by the way, so everyone knows, Freddie Roach has also shown up.
KEITH IDEC: All right, is Freddie there?
UNKNOWN MALE #1: Yes, Freddie is here.
KEITH IDEC: Freddie, I was just …
UNKNOWN MALE #2: (INAUDIBLE)
UNKNOWN MALE #1: I figured.
KEITH IDEC: Freddie are you there?
FREDDIE ROACH: Yes.
KEITH IDEC: I was just wondering what you thought about, you know, James said he’s comfortable fighting at this weight. It’s not going to be, you know, a problem for him at all. I was just wondering what your thoughts on it are?
FREDDIE ROACH: We’re always, you know, you’re over weight. I like him lighter. He wants to be bigger for, because he’s fighting a big strong guys and feels he needs to weigh in. And James so far has always been right, so I’m not going to argue with him.
KEITH IDEC: Thank you guys.
UNKNOWN MALE #2: Hey, gee.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from David Weinberg with Atlantic City Press.
DAVID WEINBERG, ATLANTIC CITY PRESS: James, how are you doing?
JAMES TONEY: I’m good. How are you doing?
DAVID WEINBERG: Very well, very well, looking forward to you coming to town.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: Hey David, good, good.
DAVID WEINBERG: Yes, a lot of excitement in town about it already.
JAMES TONEY: Oh that’s good because that’s what I bring. I bring excitement to Atlantic City. I love Atlantic City. I had my first big fight there if you remember that.
DAVID WEINBERG: Yes, oh yes.
JAMES TONEY: What was it, 14 years ago, right?
DAVID WEINBERG: Yes.
JAMES TONEY: Fifteen years ago.
UNKNOWN MALE #2: (INAUDIBLE)
JAMES TONEY: … long time, man. It’s good to be back home.
DAVID WEINBERG: Yes. James, real quick, does being heavyweight champion mean more to you than being the middleweight champion or light heavyweight or anything else?
JAMES TONEY: I’m the people’s champion, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. You know, I’m thankful that I’ve got the IB (ph) behind me. I’m thankful to be fighting for the WBC title, which is the only belt I have never won, but I’m about to get it come March 18th. You know, it’s going to be a great night. You know it’s in a great city, you know, Atlantic City where it should be at. You know, where all the other heavyweight, big heavyweight fights were played back in the early ‘90s. You know, hey (ph).
DAVID WEINBERG: Yes. Well there was a time not too long ago where being heavyweight champion was like the most coveted title to have in sports.
JAMES TONEY: Yes, it’s going to be that way pretty soon, after March 18th.
DAVID WEINBERG: Why isn’t it that way now do you think? What happened to the division?
JAMES TONEY: Look at the fighters. They don’t want to fight nobody. Look at them. You tell me why. You the reporter. Give me your views on it. Hey, if you give me your views, I’m going to work hard to correct them for you.
DAVID WEINBERG: Honestly I guess since Lenox Lewis, is the, was the last one I guess that could really be considered …
UNKNOWN MALE #1: But even Lenox, up until the end, didn’t want to fight anyone.
JAMES TONEY: But this, is boring. You know, see, everybody needs a flashy, boisterous, heavyweight champ like myself, and that’s what I’m going to bring. I’ll be out there. I’ve got a promoter right along with me along with a freak ass trainer and a hell of a strength coach.
DAVID WEINBERG: Well who do you think was the last like true, the guy who fit the bill? Was it Tyson? Or before him, Larry Holmes or who?
JAMES TONEY: Who is, Larry Holmes was not a, Larry Holmes was a peanut show. He couldn’t, you know, he was a great champion. Mike Tyson was a great champion early, in his early run. Evander Holyfield was a great champion, but since then, you know, Lenox Lewis, is not considered a great champion because he is boring. And firstly, how do you have a British man be the heavyweight champion of the world? You know what I’m saying? Nobody want to see a British cock me, heavyweight cocking champion. You know what I’m saying? So you what, hey, I’m excited and I’m looking forward to being coronated on March 18th.
DAVID WEINBERG: When you started your career, was this in your future, or did this kind of develop?
JAMES TONEY: I told everybody I was going to be heavyweight champion of the world. You know, everybody laughs at me. They first still laughing, but you know what, after March 18th all laughter stops. All the laughter stops, and guess what’s going to be my new name? You know what my new name is going to be after March 18th?
DAVID WEINBERG: What’s that?
JAMES TONEY: Ka-ching, Ka-ching.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: That’s Asian.
JAMES TONEY: That’s the name of the bank roll, ka-ching. You know what I’m saying.
DAVID WEINBERG: All right, thanks. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Trae Thompson with the Fort Worth Star.
TREY THOMPSON, FORT WORTH STAR: James, how are you doing?
JAMES TONEY: Hey, what’s up Trae?
TREY THOMPSON: Hey OK. You just answered your question earlier why people didn’t like the heavyweights because there wasn’t a boisterous heavyweight champ. I mean to me, my opinion, is that most of them were kind of boring.
JAMES TONEY: Exactly.
TREY THOMPSON: But here’s my question, though, my first question, do you, do you feel you’ll give fans something that they’ll remember, right now? Do you need an impressive KO to, you know, let them remember something, like hey that was a great heavyweight fight?
JAMES TONEY: Yes, I think Holyfield. I made, I came here, I made a big splash. You know what, I’ll fight, when I’ll fight March 18th I’ve got to make a big splash so people remember who the champion is. Why not, hey, if you ask every man who walk the street, you asked them who the heavyweight champion is, they wouldn’t know. You know what I’m saying?
TREY THOMPSON: Right.
JAMES TONEY: They wouldn’t even, as a matter of fact, the only person they would recognize as the heavyweight will be me. They wouldn’t even recognize, if we walked down Broadway right now in New York, Madison Avenue, they wouldn’t even notice, they wouldn’t even know Chris Bird or (INAUDIBLE) or Hasim Rahman from the next man.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: They’re going to know James Toney. Or should I say Cha-ching?
JAMES TONEY: If I walked down Madison Avenue right now, everybody would know who I am. (INAUDIBLE) because the way I dress, the way I talk and my swagger is all that.
TREY THOMPSON: OK, quick follow up to that too though, but if, you know, when you beat Rahman though, but if it becomes a fight that just, you know, kind of just another fight, would that be disappointing to you? Do you understand what I’m saying?
JAMES TONEY: Any fight, hey, all my fights, all interesting, but all I did was shut people up. I’m the man that everybody is going to come to see. They’re not coming to see Hasim Rahman. They’re not coming to see Bird or Bruce (ph) or anything. They’re coming to see James Toney and I always put on a great show and you know that.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: I defy anyone, Trae, to tell me one fight James Toney has ever been in that didn’t have excitement to it. You know, I mean he’s an exciting fighter.
TREY THOMPSON: But …
UNKNOWN MALE #1: … end of story. Thanks Trae. And one more, one more reporter please.
UNKNOWN MALE #3: (INAUDIBLE)
UNKNOWN MALE #1: He’s doing an open workout today so that you know, and I’ve got to get him downstairs to start working out.
UNKNOWN MALE #3: Sure, that may have been the last question. Do we have any more Operator?
OPERATOR: We have one question coming from Franklin McNeil from Newark Star Ledger.
UNKNOWN MALE #3: OK, thank you.
FRANKLIN MCNEIL, NEWARK STAR LEDGER: I wasn’t going to ask, but since no one did, yesterday – first of all hello James and …
JAMES TONEY: Hey what’s up Frank?
FRANKLIN MCNEIL: OK. Yesterday Rahman made a statement. I want to give you an opportunity to respond. He said this fight, according to him, was going to end one of two ways, either you were going to get knocked out or you were going to quit on your stool. You want to respond to that?
JAMES TONEY: I like that. Why don’t we keep (INAUDIBLE)? Why don’t you tell him to keep his promise? Keep his promise. I’ll be ready. You know? They always start with me. I never say them, then when I finish everybody get on me about it. You know what I’m saying?
FRANKLIN MCNEIL: OK.
JAMES TONEY: Only thing I can say right now is that come March 18th, I hope he keep his promise. Bring the pain to me because I’ll be willing to accept it.
FRANKLIN MCNEIL: Good enough. Thanks guys.
UNKNOWN MALE #1: Thanks Franklin. See you there next week.
All right you guys. Thank you very much for getting on and we’ll see you all in Atlantic City March 18th.
UNKNOWN MALE #3: All right, everybody, thanks for joining us. The press conference is Tuesday at 10:30 at the Copacabana, and we hope to see everybody there. And then we’ll be in Atlantic City after that.
Thanks, James, thanks, Dan, and we’ll talk to you later.
OPERATOR: Thank you. This does conclude today’s conference. You may now disconnect.
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