In Boxing News: James Lights Out Toney Comes Clean
James Toney and steroids seems to be the story that won’t go away, especially with his big fight with Hasim Rahman in Atlanic City next Saturday, but when compared to baseball’s Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa, Lights Out Toney comes off as candid and no-nonsense as ever.
For those whose memories are short, Toney tested positive for nandrolone after he shamed WBA champ John Ruiz on April 30 at Madison Square Garden to win the heavyweight crown. The NYSAC suspended Toney for 90 days and fined him $10,000, and the WBA revoked his title. “The [Ruiz] fight was originally scheduled for June,” Toney said. “But once again, the so-called people’s champion, Klitschko, pulled out again (against Hasim Rahman), faked an injury, so the thing came available sooner. On record, Dan (Goossen) asked me, ‘Are you sure you’re going to be ready?’ I said, ‘Dan, take the fight. Take the date,’ not thinking I’m still in rehab, with the medication and everything in my system. It was an honest mistake. I didn’t hide the whole deal from reporters, like them (cowardly) baseball players did. I didn’t run from the situation. I fought it head-on, so I don’t regret anything. I feel the people who saw me fight John Ruiz with one arm, which anybody else wouldn’t have done. But I went ahead with the fight. I took it, I suffered the consequences afterwards, dealt with it. It’s over and now we’re moving on”. For those who made their reps or gave a boost to their careers kicking Don King when he was down, take a second and get a good look around, because he ain’t down anymore. The slew of awards, plaques, ceremonies and honors continue Monday morning in Atlantic City when the mayor, city council president, other functionaries and celebs dedicate Don King Plaza on Monday, March 13, 2006, at 11:15 in front of Boardwalk Hall. President of Bally’s AC, Ken Condon, will serve as the master of ceremonies. One and all are welcome to come and fete the greatest boxing promoter in history Monday morning. Speaking of Don King, Joe Maxse of The Plain Dealer out of Cleveland reports that No one sells a fight like Don King and goes on to describe Wednesday’s 90 minute press conference where His Royal Hairness beat the drum loudly for the April 1 heavyweight contest between WBO champ Lamon Brewster and Sergei Liakhovich. Showtime had an open date after a proposed bout between Shannon Briggs and David Tua bit the dust, and King had something that fit the bill. “Charity begins at home and spreads abroad,” he proclaimed, explaining how the bout landed in his hometown. “Cleveland is a crisis center. Not only did we fill the date, we made it bigger and better”. Sarah Jones in The Independent reports that a New York theater group has jazzed up Shakespeare’s Hamlet so that now Hamlet and his archrival Laertes slug it out, and not a moment to soon, in a boxing ring. Hard to know if the Bard is spinning in his grave or not. To box or not to box? That is the question. Also from overseas comes the news that British boxing sensation Amir Khan has signed a major endorsement deal with Reebok, becoming the first boxer to be signed by the sportswear giant. Reebok intends to work with Khan to design and produce signature RbK gloves, kit and boots for all of his fights. “This is an amazing thing for me” Khan said. I used to look up to sports stars such as Imran Khan and now it’s going to be me on the billboard. I’m giving Asian kids out there a path to follow. This has given me a real boost in my quest to be world champion and I look forward to promoting boxing with Reebok in the UK and beyond. Young Amir Khan had better keep winning. The Washington Post has a feature article on onetime DC boxer Billy Banks. Banks, 86, is best-known for a fight he had at Griffith Stadium in June 1940 against “Baltimore” Joe Sole. The bout wasn’t the main event, but it was the first-ever boxing match between a white man and a black man in the nation’s capitol. “That particular fight was the greatest thrill of my life,” Banks recalled, “because I knew that fight was going to break the segregation line.” For the first couple of rounds Banks and Sole felt each other out, but in the third Banks began to take control. When the bell rang for round 4, Banks came out fast and caught Sole and dropped him with a three-punch combination. Banks’ manager told the Post in 1991: “The ref could have counted to a thousand. Banks retired, due to a detached retina, after a 10-year pro career with a record of about 50 wins, 30 losses and three draws. We wish the old spoiler well.