James “Lights Out” Toney hung up the phone early on Thursday after stopping by for a brief conference call chat. He tossed out a few insults, claimed his place in boxing history, then left with an abrupt good-bye and an unspoken “kiss my ass.”
It was Toney at his best – rude, cocky, obnoxious and over-the-top. If he couldn’t fight, he’d be doing stand-up comedy at the Ramada Inn.
This is one funny guy.
Before he hung up, Toney managed to ramble and roar and abuse and cry out against an unjust world and the little people who rule it. The media guys on the conference call were all geeks, all the other heavyweights in the world besides himself and WBA heavyweight champ John Ruiz were imposters, and anyone who didn’t understand he was the best thing since Playboy centerfolds, was an idiot.
Occasionally, he discussed his upcoming fight with Ruiz, but that was only when someone asked him the right question and he was in the mood to answer it.
But that didn’t happen very often. It never does in Toney’s world. He doesn’t want to answer trivial questions from a “bunch of geeks” who “never put the gloves on.” No. He wants to rant and rave, remind us of who he is and where he’s going and where we can put it if we don’t like it.
You gotta love this guy.
Barring another pre-fight injury, Toney (68-4-2 43 KOs) is scheduled to fight Ruiz (45-5-1 28 KOs) on April 30 at Madison Square Garden. Both fighters were on the conference call, though it was Ruiz “The Quietman” who remained civil and polite and who stuck around to answer all the questions. But that’s all right. Ruiz is a nice guy with a put-me-to-sleep style of fighting.
Toney is a five-car pileup at rush-hour.
But that’s just Toney being Toney, a guy who never saw a mirror he didn’t like, a spotlight he couldn’t steal, an insult he couldn’t match or a meal he couldn’t finish.
“It’s good to fight the best heavyweight out there (besides himself),” he said of Ruiz. “John is the only one with the balls to step up and fight me. I can‘t wait for April 30. I’m ready to make history.”
Asked where he honed his ability to trash talk, Toney again reminded us of what we’re already supposed to know.
“I’m the best (trash talker) out there,” he said. “No one can touch me. I’m great at everything I do.”
Like him or not, Toney is right when he says he’s never ducked anyone.
“I want to fight the best fighters out there,” he said. “I don’t turn down anybody. I don’t even turn down my collar.”
The Ramada awaits.
One thing Toney did promise. He says he’ll be heavyweight champion of the world when we wake up Sunday morning, May 1.
“I’m coming at you whether you like it or not,” he said, directing his statement at both the geeks and Ruiz. “It all starts April 30. I’m coming to take over.”
So what else is new?