NEW YORK (March 29) – Most boxing press conferences are dull affairs. The media assemble at these pseudo-events to pay homage to the fighters, to gather material for columns and newscasts, and to scarf down free lunch. But every now and then all hell breaks loose . . . and it’s a refreshing distraction from “business as usual.”
The James Toney-John Ruiz press conference at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday was chockfull of action. Toney and Ruiz’s manager, the very verbal Norman Stone, began cursing each other. When they finished with that, they began cursing each other’s mothers.
In the midst of the chaos, Ron Scott Stevens of the New York State Athletic Commission, seconded by Garden security, stepped in to try to restore order and prevent Toney from attacking Stone. Stevens took the high road, speaking about boxing in noble terms, in front of a backdrop of threat, curse and dis.
Toney and Ruiz will fight for real at New York’s Madison Square Garden on April 30. The card will be promoted by Don King in association with the Garden. The bout will be broadcast on HBO.
Below are a few of the things (which are repeatable) that the fighters had to say.
JOHN RUIZ (41-5-1, 28 KOs)
“I am the best; there is no doubt about it. I have fought everybody. I am the real heavyweight champion.”
“I take my hat off to Toney for stepping up to fight the real man in the heavyweight division. He says he is going to bring it, and I hope he is there. I hope he does not sneak out the back door. It is going to be on.’
“I am the best in the world. This will be a good fight, but it will not be the toughest fight for me.’
“Come April 30, Toney is going to regret ever signing that contract.”
“This is not a turning point. This is a stepping stone for me to achieve greatness and become the undisputed heavyweight champion. I am going after this guy. You will see.”
JAMES TONEY (68-4-2, 43 KOs)
“I cannot wait. I am finally fighting in the building I want to be in.”
“If you look, I am No. 1 across the board. I give John Ruiz credit for stepping up to the plate, but come April 30, I am going to kill him good. I do not care about styles. Styles do not mean anything. I have seen every style in the world. I have been in this game for 18 years. I have been a world champ for 12. Ruiz cannot even touch that.”
“I am going to be the WBA heavyweight champ of the world. I am ready to go no matter what. I do not care; you want to play rough, I will play rough. Boy, you have no idea. I tell you, I will hurt you. We can get it on right now.”
“I do not play boxing. I do this for real.”
The fight is on.