In Boxing News: Rahman and Toney draw in rugged slugfest

Saturday’s heavyweight title fight from Boardwalk Hall in A.C. between Hasim Rahman and James Toney was the bout that was finally going to right some of the wrongs plaguing boxing’s marquee division, but the heavyweights seem as star-crossed as ever, as snake-bitten as the fight game itself, and resolution, in the bright lights of Boxing Big City, is just another word for gotcha, let’s do it again. One cannot fault the combatants, James and Rock held nothing back, they fought their hearts out, and the match was, the unsatisfying decision aside, bruising entertainment, but if Bob Arum thinks Hasim Rahman will be spoken of in the same breath as Muhammad Ali, he better think again. But, say what you will, this bout smacked of heavy import and all the big hitters took in the action, met their deadlines and filed reports.

George Kimball, The Sweet Science‘s bear out of Boston, was ringside and his coverage, as usual, is equal parts gravitas and good humor. Richard O’Brien from Sports Illustrated gives us an insider’s view of the Saturday post-press conference with Rahman and Toney in Atlantic City. “Freshened up and dapper again in a suit and tie,” writes O’Brien, “Toney took a seat on the dais at one end of the vast backstage area at Boardwalk Hall and launched into a grumpy monologue that began, ‘It’s all good.’ But it turned all bad when James went on the offensive against Rahman’s promoter Bob Arum. “If Bob Arum got the guts, we’ll do [a rematch] right away.” Hmm, not gonna happen. Robert Morales in the LA Daily News gives us as astute ringside report on Lights Out Toney: “He was slick inside as he usually is, slipping punches and landing short ones to the head and body of Rahman. But Toney also stumbled backward several times after landing longer right hands, and he also swung and missed several times with wild, looping right hands.” Toney said “I thought I won it by two or three points. It looked like he was scared, and I thought we had the edge.” Freddie Roach agreed. “It was a tactical fight and they were our tactics. The fight went the way we wanted it to go.” Were it not for those nasty judges. The UK’s Independent reports that the truly bizarre career of James Toney is not over but “his passage from 11 stone of compact muscle to over 16 stone of flab during his 18 years as a fighter cost him on Saturday night.” Following a long and honorable tradition, James Toney thinks he got robbed. “I won the fight,” he said. “I slowed down in the last round but by then the fight was mine. I have no idea what the judge who voted for Rahman was doing but nothing surprises me in this business.” It looks like Oleg Maskaev might be next in line for Hasim Rahman. Rumors about Toney fighting Mike Tyson are hopefully just that. That’s one sideshow boxing doesn’t need The London Sunday Times calls John Duddy the King of New York. Lou DiBella, promoter of the world middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, said of Duddy, “The kid’s the greatest ticket-seller I’ve ever seen.” The Duddy and Puddy show was over before it was started. All it took was 91 seconds of Duddy’s valuable time to knock Puddy silly. TSS’s Bob Mladinich was quoted by the Times as saying, “Duddy’s become a real phenomenon out here. I haven’t seen this type of local idolatry since Gerry Cooney was on his way up.” Stay tuned for more on this up-and-comer. Speaking of up-and-comers, the irresistible silver medal-winning sensation Amir Khan continues to generate press. Pat Jordan in the New York Times gives Amir Khan the full treatment in a beautifully written last word on the first phase of what most believe will be a world-class career. “The young Asian women, with diamond studs in their noses and bindis on their foreheads, stood by the boxing ring of the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, their cellphone cameras at the ready,” writes Jordan. “Music blared from the loudspeakers ‘We will, we will, rock you!’ and the 6,000 fans in the audience were screaming, cheering, whistling, blowing horns and stamping their feet until a figure in a satin hooded robe appeared and the noise dissolved into a single, bellowing chant. ‘Khan! Khan! Khan!'” The prospect’s like a bloody rock star. It’s almost like when Oscar De La Hoya was young Word comes from The Sunday Mail that Hugh Jackman, the “X-MEN hunk,” has been told to “muscle up for his new role as Hitler’s favourite boxer.” Jackman has been selected to play German heavyweight champion Max Schmeling in Spike Lee‘s upcoming film “Save Us Joe Louis”. The Aussie actor will join Terrence Howard, star of “Hustle and Flow,” who will play Joe Louis, the phenomenal Brown Bomber.” Spike Lee said, “At that time nobody thought Louis would ever lose and it would not look good for the Aryan race to be beaten. But after Schmeling knocked out Louis, he became a propaganda tool, used as an example of the superiority of the Germans.” The film will explore the politics of racism, the ramifications of soul, and the primordial thing in our lives called boxing.

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