Sharing a press conference with James “Lights Out” Toney is like sharing a swimming pool with a great white shark. No matter how well you swim, the pool is just too small. Eventually, the shark is going to grab you by the ass and swallow you whole.
Somebody should have warned Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter about Toney “The Shark” and his sneaky tactics. Not about the way he fights, but about the way he enjoys shooting up a press conference, poking the other guy in the eye, how he likes to verbally grab you by the neck and shake you like a hungry wolf shaking a quaking rabbit.
At least that’s what he tried to do on a recent conference call with Peter promoting their WBC heavyweight elimination fight Sept. 2 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles (SHOWTIME).
Asked if he was going to make any adjustments in the way he fought Toney, Peter had the audacity to suggest that he was going to “walk through him.”
What? Walk through James “Lights Out” Toney? Did he really just say that? What is he, nuts?
The guy who presented the question, asked if he heard the answer correctly.
“Did you just say you were going to walk through him?”
Toney quickly stepped in, grabbed on and bit down hard.
“That‘s what he said,” Toney acknowledged, sounding like he couldn‘t believe he heard it himself.
“[Toney] is a very good fighter, but I know I am going to walk through him,” said the Nigerian Nightmare, repeating himself for those of us who might have missed it the first time around. “He is not going to stop me. He is not going to crack me. I am going to walk through him.”
That’s quite a trek considering Toney weighed 237 pounds for his draw with Hasim Rahman in March. Walking though Toney would be like walking through a dump truck.
Asked to make a prediction himself, Toney, feeding off Peter’s bold statement, said he planned on doing a little walk over himself.
“I’m knocking him out,” Toney said. “Sammy, you are getting knocked out.”
Then it got ugly, though you couldn‘t help but imagine Toney and Peter snickering back and forth at each other.
It would have been a better show if there had been an opportunity for calm rebuttal from each side.
Instead, we heard raised voices and jumbled things like, “shut up, shut up, shut up. Sit down and shut up.” Or this nasty comeback: “I’m sending you back home in a banana boat.” Or this little gem: “I am from my momma. Where are you from?”
The words “bitch,” “punk,” and “master” also made brief appearances.
At one point, Toney requested that Peter climb a tree. I’m still not sure where that one was going.
Snappy rhetoric aside, the two guys eventually talked about the fight itself, which is expected to be a good one.
Peter is the big banger, and Toney is the more gifted. And he can slam it home pretty well himself.
The winner of this fight supposedly gets a shot at Saturday night’s winner between Rahman, the WBC champ, and contender Oleg Maskaev.
But remember, this is the fight game. Don’t buy a ticket yet.
After things finally settled down, someone asked Toney if the verbal exchange they just had on the conference call made the fight more personal.
“It has been personal,” Toney said, shining a little light on what makes the guy tick. “He signed a contract. Anybody that signs a contract to fight me, it’s personal.”
It’s like chumming the water.