How about a quick show of hands. How many of you were even mildly surprised recently when you heard James “Lights Out” Toney had gone crazy again at a press conference for his upcoming fight against heavyweight contender Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter?

Hmmmm. I don‘t see a hand. Anybody? No one was even mildly surprised?


Apparently it was just another public outburst by boxing’s perennial bad boy, a verbal spat and a little flexing of muscle by Toney to alert the world that he’s fighting again.

And you had damn well better pay attention.

Oh yeah. Toney and his friends would like you to purchase a couple of tickets or maybe subscribe to SHOWTIME to see how this latest caper plays out.

Sorry, but Toney crawling over a podium in an effort to throttle some clueless fighter or manager at a press conference is entertaining drama once in awhile. He can steal the stage faster than a streaking Paris Hilton on poker night at the Moose Lodge.

But someone should politely whisper into Toney’s ear and tell him that the dead horse he keeps insisting on beating has already been carted away and buried. His press conference routine is old news. You know he’s going to yell at someone. Anyone.

His knack for tipping over chairs, shouting threats and making a scene doesn’t surprise us anymore. It’s like watching a rerun of “Jaws.” We know the plot, we understand the characters and you can be pretty sure we all know how it ends.

The only thing different with Toney are the names.

According to a press release, the latest names belonged to promoter Dino Duva and manager Ivaylo Gotzev, part of Peter’s camp.

Toney is scheduled to fight Peter on Sept. 2 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on SHOWTIME. But being next in line to fight for the WBC title belt, a fight against the hard-hitting Samuel would seem a little – how should we say it – risky?

And Duva said as much, only he didn‘t say risky. He suggested that the word “dumb” was more appropriate. And Toney pounced.

No one calls James Toney dumb and walks away.

According to the release, Gotzev then jumped into the fray by standing up and yelling that he‘d had enough of the Dan Goossen (Toney’s promoter) and Toney show and that it was Samuel Peter’s time to shine in the spotlight.

Toney played his part well. He stood up at the dais and started removing his coat like he was going to actually take a swing at somebody. When he started moving toward the Peter camp, some of the guys in his own camp stood up and stopped him.

Whew. Close one.

Then Toney threw a glass of water at Gotzev and the press conference came to an early end.

I know. It isn’t a real press conference unless Toney gets in someone’s face.

I like Toney. He’s been great for boxing and he‘s added color to a sport that needs talented characters like him. But maybe he should think about getting a new act. The old one is getting stale.

As for the fight with Peters, Toney said he looked forward to it because he enjoyed beating people up.

“It is going to be a short fight,’ he said. “But the beating I give Peter will make the fight seem like a long one.”

It already seems like a long one.