James “Lights Out” Toney carries his attitude around with him like it’s pocket change, something to jingle when he’s bored, or pull out and lay on the counter when he wants something that comes with a price.
It’s a kiss-my-ass sort of attitude that most people take seriously even if Toney doesn’t always mean it that way. He’s what the fight game needs, a colorful personality with scary talent. He can’t single-handedly lift the fight game out of its doldrums, but he can start getting it off the ground.
His win over cruiserweight champ Vassily Jirov was a war, despite any attempts by Toney to downplay Jirov’s chin and heart. And it was a closer fight than the yahoo judges scored it. If Toney hadn’t dropped Jirov in the 12th, I would have had a hard time picking a winner. I thought it was that close. Jirov proved he was tough. Toney proved he was even a little tougher.
By winning the cruiserweight title, Toney is only a Big Mac and an order of fries short of the heavyweight division, and that’s where fame and fortune are. He’s decided that’s the best place for him now and he’s right. It’s only natural he goes where the money and his weight take him. Remember, he’s been known to snack between meals. My guess is, if you could somehow lure him back on a scale today, he’s already in the 220-pound range. Give him another week away from the gym and he’ll be a full grown heavyweight.
That’s why Toney is talking about fighting IBF heavyweight champ Chris Byrd. My guess is, unless there’s a rematch with Jirov, Toney won’t see 190 pounds again.
Besides, the cruiserweight division isn’t exactly Rodeo Drive of the fight game. There’s no glamour at 190 pounds, no respect and no money. Cruiserweights are considered an anomaly, misfits stuck in a division most people can’t even describe. Win a cruiserweight title and no one will ever hear from yoHe’s u again.
That’s why most of us don’t know who Wayne Braithwaite is. the WBC cruiserweight champion, which is like being the third person booted off the second “Survivor.”
Braithwaite says he wants to fight Toney, but like teasing a lion in a cage, it’s a pretty safe gesture. First, Braithwaite has to face the WBC’s No. 2 contender, Vincenzo Cantatore in a rematch scheduled to take place sometime this summer. After that, he says he wants to fight top contender O’Neil Bell. Following that fight, he wants Toney. And that puts it all at least a year away.
By that time, Toney will be heavyweight champion of the world.
If you don’t believe it, ask him.