A brawl broke out between Hasim Rahman and James Toney on Monday evening in Cancun, Mexico. Below is a first-person account provided to Don King Productions by World Boxing Council Executive Secretary Mauricio Sulaiman:
A brawl broke out between World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Hasim “The Rock” Rahman and WBC mandatory challenger James “Lights Out” Toney Monday night at the Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa in Mexico.
Rahman and Toney were joining other boxing luminaries and members of the media attending a welcoming cocktail party for the WBC’s “Crowning of the Champions” event set for Tuesday afternoon. Toney was being interviewed by Television Azteca in the hotel lobby with many members of the media surrounding him. He was in the process of explaining that he had made a spur-of-the-moment decision after arriving in Cancun yesterday to marry his fiancée Angie at the hotel’s pool on Tuesday morning.
Rahman stumbled across his mandatory challenger when he arrived in the hotel lobby at about 6:15 p.m. while the television interview was taking place.
The bliss of Toney’s pending nuptials was interrupted when he realized Rahman has just arrived. After the two prizefighters made eye contact, a war of words erupted. The verbal assaults escalated into a full-fledged brawl soon thereafter that took many people and over 15 minutes to quell while hotel guests and staff members looked on in stunned disbelief.
Unannounced fisticuffs are a rare occurrence at this posh resort. Ironically, this world famous tropical paradise is just now recovering from blows sustained by Hurricane Wilma. World Boxing Council Executive Secretary Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed that neither boxer sustained serious injury.
Rahman, Toney, former WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, boxer Oleg Maskaev, promoter Don King, boxing manager Carl King, promoter Dan Goossen, Todd duBoef from Top Rank, WBC President Jose Sulaiman, his son Mauricio, Rahman’s manager Steve Nelson, and many others have made the holiday trek to be present for the coronation of Rahman as the WBC heavyweight champion and Klitschko as champion emeritus.
Just imagine what a delight it will be for the lucky WBC official who receives the assignment of explaining what happened to the hotel's general manager on Tuesday morning as the circus that is world championship boxing makes another stop on the globe.