Don’t let grandma watch this fight.
Don’t let junior near a TV after dark, and don’t invite the preacher over for dinner if he can’t stand the sight of blood.
Chase away any neighborhood kids who want to come in and watch for free. You don’t want to be held responsible for any carnage they might witness. After all, these two guys aren’t exactly poster-boy material for the Boy Scouts of America.
Their fight at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on March 18 won’t be a boxing match as much as it will be a reckless collision of two tough guys with healthy egos and bad attitudes.
That’s both the good news and the bad. This fight could single-handedly pull the heavyweight division out from the dark depths of the great abyss, offer a quick boost and new life to a dying division in desperate need of a hero.
Hasim Rahman (41-5-1, 33 KOs) and James “Lights Out” Toney (69-4-2, 43 KOs) for the WBC heavyweight title? Quick, book me a flight to Jersey. If these two aren’t the best heavyweights in the world, they’re part of the quartet that is.
But neither one wins “Mr. Congeniality” honors.
Hasim Rahman isn’t the guy you want playing Jocko The Clown at your 6-year-old daughter’s birthday party. He comes across as a surly guy, someone you don’t want to cut off in heavy traffic. He’s probably great around kids, but that doesn’t mean you feel safe telling him to pick up the toys before he leaves.
James Toney? He’s a walking, talking quote machine, though you don’t want to get caught writing down everything he says. After all, there are some things that shouldn’t be said. And Toney says most of them.
He doesn’t talk, he elaborates.
Two months away from the big night and they’re already claiming this fight is personal. No news flash there. All pro fights are personal to a degree. This isn’t community hall bingo.
“(Rahman) is going to go down,” Toney boldly predicted at a recent press conference in New York City announcing the fight. “I’m going to put the pain on him. That’s what I’m going to do. I could win a decision, but I will knock him out because it’s personal.”
Unlike synchronized swimming.
Early returns point to Rahman playing the good-guy role in the developing drama. He doesn’t interrupt Toney when the chubby former middleweight champion of the world spouts. But when it’s Rahman’s turn to greet the crowd, he gets a little upset when Toney tosses in a few unwelcome quips.
“You better run like pantyhose,” Rahman said, proving he did some pre-press conference homework. “This is how stuff gets out of hand. Didn’t I respect you when you talked?”
Aw, respect. Toney doesn’t give it, he just demands it. And he should. He hasn’t lost a fight since May 1997. He’s 16-0 since then if you count his fight with John Ruiz. His last four wins have been against heavyweights.
Is he the best heavyweight in the world? Depends on where he’s standing when you answer the question. If he’s in the same room as you are, you bet he is.
But is Toney really a natural heavyweight or did he just eat his way into the division? You get the feeling he never saw a cake he didn’t like or a hot dog he couldn’t devour. He’s a darker version of the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man.
He admitted to recently weighing 240 pounds (wink, wink), but claims by mid-March, he’ll be “starving” and weighing around 217, give or take a rack of donuts.
”After the fight, we’ll party on the plane home,” Toney said. “And when I get home, I will work on my suntan.”
Sound investment tip: Buy some shares of Hawaiian Tropic.