While one heavyweight battered and moved against a smaller but determined heavyweight, James “Lights Out” Toney sat in the audience watching the one-sided affair with disgust.
That was last week at the Staples Center as Vitali Klitschko beat up Chris Arreola.
“Klitschko was scared to death of Arreola,” said Toney. “That’s why he fought that way.”
Toney shook his head at the sight of Klitschko hit and running against a smaller man and doesn’t believe Klitschko or his younger brother will ever step in the ring with him. He has proof.
“I saw Vitali at the fights. He told me he read what I said about him and his sister Wilhemina,” said Toney as only Toney can say. “I told him what are you gonna do about it?”
Later younger brother Wladimir Klitschko walked by and reiterated what his older brother Vitali said. Once again Toney said: “What are you gonna do about it?”
It’s a running feud that has continued for the past six years.
Why won’t either Klitschko fight Toney?
It’s a good question. Because though many fans of the Ukrainian brothers believe it would be a mismatch, you would think the Klitschko brothers would be anxious to cash in on Toney’s name and stamp themselves as one of the best heavyweights in history.
Or, maybe they are afraid of losing to a much smaller man who now weighs just above 200 pounds?
“So called boxing experts keep giving them credit. They’re bums,” said Toney who weighed 217 at his last fight after several years fighting sluggishly above 230 pounds. “It would be an easy fight with either of them.”
Sitting ringside Toney said that Arreola proved he has the tools but didn’t know how to use them against the mobile WBC titleholder Klitschko.
“Vitali likes to put his head back when he’s against the ropes,” said Toney. “All you got to do is hit him in the stomach and come back with an uppercut to the head when it comes down.”
It’s a simple formula if you’re Toney. He’s been considered one of the most skillful fighters of the last 20 years and has world titles at the middleweight, super middleweight, cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions to prove it.
About six years ago a fight almost was consummated between Toney and one of the Klitschkos, but a last-minute decision to ditch the contract was made and the world never saw it happen.
Emmanuel Steward, who trains Wladimir, is seen as the person responsible for persuading the brothers to avoid Toney.
“James has the wrong style for Wladimir,” said Steward several years ago. But maybe now that Wladimir Klitschko has accumulated more technique under Steward he’s ready for a showdown with Toney?
Attempts to reach Steward were unsuccessful who saw Toney as a youngster when he arrived at the Kronk Gym in Detroit many years ago.
“I used to beat up all of his fighters,” said Toney.
After watching Klitschko beat up Arreola and force the Riverside fighter’s corner to halt the fight at the end of the 10th round, many including Klitschko said it was Arreola’s inexperience that led to his defeat.
“When I beat Michael Nunn for the world championship I didn’t have experience at that level,” said Toney. “You got to have it inside and do whatever it takes to win. You can’t stop until it’s over.”
Toney won’t be stopping his quest for another heavyweight showdown soon. In fact, the prizefighter is willing to fight at a lower weight against Roy Jones Jr. or Bernard Hopkins at a catch weight.
“I weighed 202 pounds today. Mark that down,” said Toney who says he could drop down more if necessary. “None of the so-called good heavyweights want to fight me.”
Dan Goossen, president of Goossen-Tutor Promotions said he’s working to get Toney in the world title picture.
“I’m going to see what I can do but I don’t know. I don’t know if they (Klitschkos) would take him. He’s certainly earned it,” said Goossen who has heavyweight Eddie chambers ranked number one and ready to fight Wladimir. “We’ll see.”
Toney said hearing other people say there are no good American heavyweights make him furious.
“If they want to fight America’s best they got to fight me. All those other fighters don’t got nothing. Kevin Johnson is too young and the others don’t know what it takes,” says Toney. “I’ll get rid of Vitali then I’ll get rid of the other one. They’re tailor made for me. They don’t got nothing I haven’t seen before.”
Now it’s up to the Klitschkos.