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Thread: Fake News Department: James Toney vs. Mike Sheppard Redux

  1. #1
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    Fake News Department: James Toney vs. Mike Sheppard Redux

    Matt McGrain’s excellent post-fight report of the Toney-Sheppard fight is at odds with a ringside report that appears on a rival boxing web site that I won’t name.

    The story appears under the heading “Toney Turns Out Sheppard’s Lights,” likely intended as a riff on Toney’s nickname: Lights Out. The author, writing with a straight face, informs us that the crowd “were in awe” when Toney delivered the “sharp, short punch” that brought the fight to a conclusion in the sixth round.

    The knockout blow was captured in a youtube video. I watched it several times and what I see is that the “knockout punch” was a light tap under Sheppard’s left armpit. It was the 16th time that the 41-year-old Sheppard (24-21-2) has been stopped.

    The blubbery Toney, who turns 49 in August, tipped the scales at 248 ¾ pounds. Back in 1991, when he captured the IBF middleweight title with a smashing come-from-behind knockout of undefeated (36-0) Michael Nunn, he came in at 157.

    On the day before the fight, in his weekly Friday chat, ESPN’s Dan Rafael asserted that Toney was brain-damaged. There is a youtube interview of Toney which appears to have been taken in the cafeteria of a fitness center that supports this determination. The words coming out of Toney’s mouth are unintelligible.

    James Toney, as Matt McGrain makes clear, has impeccable Hall of Fame credentials. Will he be permitted to speak from the podium when he is finally inducted? Just asking.

    I try to shy away from the morbid side of boxing. That’s not what this web site is all about. And lord knows I don’t want to start a pissing contest with a writer from a rival site. But I couldn’t let the “Lights Out” story go unchallenged.

    For the record, the head of Michigan’s Unarmed Combat Commission (his formal title is “manager”) is Michael Beamish. He is assisted on the boxing side by four commissioners: Hilmer Kenty, Bronco McKart, Jeff Styers, and Fritz Benson.

    By the way, the Toney-Sheppard match was supposedly James Toney’s farewell fight, but at the conclusion of the match he hinted that he might not be done.
    Last edited by ArneK.; 05-15-2017 at 12:31 PM.

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    Re: Fake News Department: James Toney vs. Mike Sheppard Redux

    "I try to shy away from the morbid side of boxing." Yes, I understand that, but the dark side of boxing also needs to be covered along with the bright side. Otherwise, we are ignoring a reality of a unique activity: to wit. knock your opponent unconscious. The fact that Toney might not even be able to accept his Hall of Fame Award speaks volumes (no pun intended)

    Just saying.

  3. #3
    Senior Member stormcentre's Avatar
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    Re: Fake News Department: James Toney vs. Mike Sheppard Redux

    Quote Originally Posted by ArneK. View Post

    Will he [James Toney] be permitted to speak from the podium when he is finally inducted?

    Just asking.


    In his (hey) day James Toney would have (as would have I) scoffed at the very thought of accepting a challenge/fight from someone whom (comparatively) is a club fighter; Sheppard.

    Still, (time and time again we see that) the game rarely favors those whom rely upon and remain in it.

    Especially, those that do not sit in its ivory towers and/or have a meaningful ability to properly manage/control their own career.


    In terms of performances and competition; James Toney has not embarrassed himself.

    Not nearly as much as Roy Jones has anyway.


    Even aside from that and the fact that people (many of which often leave scrutiny behind in the closet) still come out of the woodwork to praise Jones; the fact of the matter is that there still are reasonable grounds to suggest James Toney has been a better practitioner and/or pure boxer than even Roy Jones.

    Toney would have never left in his wake so many other unchallenged champions and/or threats, whilst professing complete superiority over a division; as Jones has.





    Don't get me wrong, I like Jones.

    But facts are facts; and there are a lot of guys that Jones didn't even try to fight.

    And, when it comes to both competition and the ability to execute the most ruthlessly effective and complex skills in your arsenal and do it against decent opposition . . .

    In my opinion, Toney is heads and shoulders ahead.



    Sure it may be a different story now, but Lord knows Toney's courage, self belief, and skills have certainly persisted for a far longer time than most others with even half his fights.

    Myself . . .

    Well, I can easily say that am not sure that I have ever seen another fighter that can pull off the same kind of artistically sublime and relaxed moves on opponents in such an effortless and masterful way as James Toney sometimes has been able to do.

    I still remember how, during some of Toney's early (and later) fights, he could just run through the gears of his Old Skool fighting techniques/knowledge as he dropped perfectly placed punches on his mark; like it was easy.

    James Toney's almost complete mastery of Old Skool fighting is one reason why he managed to (buck the usual trend for veteran fighters and) remain competitive for so long; despite both, the advancing years and Toney's infamously absent stamina-training routine.


    Toney's (late career) destruction of Holyfield was quite telling.

    By the time James fought Holyfield in 2003, James had already lost a lot of his explosiveness, stamina, and agility.

    Nevertheless he easily stopped Evander.

    It was, quite possibly, the easiest that Evander Holyfield had ever been stopped.

    The fight was also telling for other reasons too.

    As, (despite the caliber of opposition that Evander himself represented and despite all the formidable guys he had previously fought) during his fight with Toney you could see on Evander's face that he was clearly concerned in that he appeared to sense that he was not in Jame's league; when it came to slipping, sliding, defence, countering, and Old Skool fighting.

    And, win, lose, or draw, it's not very often that Holyfield can be found wearing that look on his face.


    For a while there some of Toney's bouts (particularly those before the Holyfield fight) were simply modern day text book lessons on how to get into position and casually execute one brilliant Old Skool technique/move after another; in a stamina independent manner.

    Toney's 1993 fight with Iran Barkely serves as a case in point.

    My God, did James pull some slick and punishing moves on Iran Barkely in that fight.

    Sugar Ray Robinson and many other historical boxing greats would have sternly approved of Toney's application of Old Skool technique and boxing artistry, when in against Barkley.



    Toney's relaxed ability to get into position and master the (body position and also both in the context of deft hand {speed/placement} and foot {speed/placement}) requirements of what he intended to do, should (for all those that love this sport and fights like Castillo V1 & V2 Corrales) never be forgotten and/or ever found to be without its due respect.

    The fact that - even during the some of the most fatigued, extreme, and stressful passages of his fights (whether they be closely contested or not) - James could do all this, is not just pretty special . . . .

    It's also a metric that noticeably places him ahead of some of the other highly acclaimed modern day fighters fighters that were/are considered to subscribe (partly or wholly) to Old School fundamentals.

    Take for instance, Hopkins.

    His Old Skool repertoire was pretty good.

    But still, whilst it was shrewd and effective, it was also noticeably less than Toney's.

    Furthermore, under the pressure of a top caliber and/or determined fighter Hopkin's Old Skool repertoire could usually be contained and/or (at least) restricted; to the point where the balance of Bernard's technical execution often then favored defence and/or questionable tactics.


    Not so with James Toney.

    His Old Skool was so ingrained into his entire approach that rarely could it be significantly contained.

    Even in his heavier and more challenging fights, where it didn't go all Jame's way; still, even then, Toney's Old Skool technique rarely dipped below the complete set Hopkins would wheel out against unsuspecting opponents.

    Not much stopped Toney from taking chances, and slipping and sliding into position.

    Rarely did Toney resort to dirty tactics in the ring also.


    Put it all together with the fact that, in addition to all the above, Toney was also the living definition of a fighter that was about as fearless about taking risks/shots as any fighter could possibly be, and the result is that you have a pretty complete modern day version of yesteryear's never say die Old Skool warrior.


    If the kind of beautiful Old Skool fighting knowledge, technique, and ability that Toney used to effortlessly display was easy, then everyone would be doing it.

    And, as we all know, they're not.



    So, yes (restricted speech and all) Toney does have impeccable Hall of Fame credentials.

    Agree also; Toney's speech sometimes is outrageous and a cause for concern/humor.


    That said, (with respect to the videos of Toney that are out there; of which I admit to sometimes finding entertainment in) it's hard to tell how much of that is down to Jame's longevity within the sport, and how much is intoxication/substance.

    I don't for a minute think that Toney does not alter his consciousness for relaxation and/or recreation.



    In any regard, if Toney is permitted to speak from the podium when he is finally inducted (and I say he should be) then I for one will certainly be listening.

    To me, the guy simply embodies so much of what even some of the sport's really critical fans demand.



    Toney, right now, is probably less than 1/10 of the guy that fought Jirov.

    Additionally, the Toney that fought Jirov was, even then, probably no more than 60% of the guy that, years ago, fought Iran Barkely.

    And, the Toney that served up what was perhaps the most devastating KO that (an aged) Holyfield ever encountered, was pretty much still the same (depleted) Toney that narrowly (but spectacularly) beat Jirov in 2003; whilst running at probably no more than 60% of the Toney that faced Iran Barkely.



    Still, whatever percentage of Toney we currently have now . . .

    It's probably still enough to serve as a brutally tough 10 round sparring session from which many out there today can still learn much Old Skool and other techniques from.


    No matter what happens, I still consider myself pretty lucky that I got to see some of James Toney's Old Skool artistry.


    50% of the Toney that fought Barkley and Nunn is, in my opinion, still 100% better than most of the other top guys out there today.

    And, the reason for that is . .

    James Toney has probably forgotten more classy boxing techniques than most out there today know.




    Cheers,


    Storm.


  4. #4
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    Re: Fake News Department: James Toney vs. Mike Sheppard Redux

    Quote Originally Posted by stormcentre View Post
    In his (hey) day James Toney would have (as would have I) scoffed at the very thought of accepting a challenge/fight from someone whom (comparatively) is a club fighter; Sheppard.

    Still, (time and time again we see that) the game rarely favors those whom rely upon and remain in it.

    Especially, those that do not sit in its ivory towers and/or have a meaningful ability to properly manage/control their own career.


    In terms of performances and competition; James Toney has not embarrassed himself.

    Not nearly as much as Roy Jones has anyway.


    Even aside from that and the fact that people (many of which often leave scrutiny behind in the closet) still come out of the woodwork to praise Jones; the fact of the matter is that there still are reasonable grounds to suggest James Toney has been a better practitioner and/or pure boxer than even Roy Jones.

    Toney would have never left in his wake so many other unchallenged champions and/or threats, whilst professing complete superiority over a division; as Jones has.





    Don't get me wrong, I like Jones.



    But facts are facts; and there are a lot of guys that Jones didn't even try to fight.

    And, when it comes to both competition and the ability to execute the most ruthlessly effective and complex skills in your arsenal and do it against decent opposition . . .

    In my opinion, Toney is heads and shoulders ahead.



    Sure it may be a different story now, but Lord knows Toney's courage, self belief, and skills have certainly persisted for a far longer time than most others with even half his fights.

    Myself . . .

    Well, I can easily say that am not sure that I have ever seen another fighter that can pull off the same kind of artistically sublime and relaxed moves on opponents in such an effortless and masterful way as James Toney sometimes has been able to do.

    I still remember how, during some of Toney's early (and later) fights, he could just run through the gears of his Old Skool fighting techniques/knowledge as he dropped perfectly placed punches on his mark; like it was easy.

    James Toney's almost complete mastery of Old Skool fighting is one reason why he managed to (buck the usual trend for veteran fighters and) remain competitive for so long; despite both, the advancing years and Toney's infamously absent stamina-training routine.


    Toney's (late career) destruction of Holyfield was quite telling.

    By the time James fought Holyfield in 2003, James had already lost a lot of his explosiveness, stamina, and agility.

    Nevertheless he easily stopped Evander.

    It was, quite possibly, the easiest that Evander Holyfield had ever been stopped.

    The fight was also telling for other reasons too.

    As, (despite the caliber of opposition that Evander himself represented and despite all the formidable guys he had previously fought) during his fight with Toney you could see on Evander's face that he was clearly concerned in that he appeared to sense that he was not in Jame's league; when it came to slipping, sliding, defence, countering, and Old Skool fighting.

    And, win, lose, or draw, it's not very often that Holyfield can be found wearing that look on his face.


    For a while there some of Toney's bouts (particularly those before the Holyfield fight) were simply modern day text book lessons on how to get into position and casually execute one brilliant Old Skool technique/move after another; in a stamina independent manner.

    Toney's 1993 fight with Iran Barkely serves as a case in point.

    My God, did James pull some slick and punishing moves on Iran Barkely in that fight.

    Sugar Ray Robinson and many other historical boxing greats would have sternly approved of Toney's application of Old Skool technique and boxing artistry, when in against Barkley.



    Toney's relaxed ability to get into position and master the (body position and also both in the context of deft hand {speed/placement} and foot {speed/placement}) requirements of what he intended to do, should (for all those that love this sport and fights like Castillo V1 & V2 Corrales) never be forgotten and/or ever found to be without its due respect.

    The fact that - even during the some of the most fatigued, extreme, and stressful passages of his fights (whether they be closely contested or not) - James could do all this, is not just pretty special . . . .

    It's also a metric that noticeably places him ahead of some of the other highly acclaimed modern day fighters fighters that were/are considered to subscribe (partly or wholly) to Old School fundamentals.

    Take for instance, Hopkins.

    His Old Skool repertoire was pretty good.

    But still, whilst it was shrewd and effective, it was also noticeably less than Toney's.

    Furthermore, under the pressure of a top caliber and/or determined fighter Hopkin's Old Skool repertoire could usually be contained and/or (at least) restricted; to the point where the balance of Bernard's technical execution often then favored defence and/or questionable tactics.


    Not so with James Toney.

    His Old Skool was so ingrained into his entire approach that rarely could it be significantly contained.

    Even in his heavier and more challenging fights, where it didn't go all Jame's way; still, even then, Toney's Old Skool technique rarely dipped below the complete set Hopkins would wheel out against unsuspecting opponents.

    Not much stopped Toney from taking chances, and slipping and sliding into position.

    Rarely did Toney resort to dirty tactics in the ring also.


    Put it all together with the fact that, in addition to all the above, Toney was also the living definition of a fighter that was about as fearless about taking risks/shots as any fighter could possibly be, and the result is that you have a pretty complete modern day version of yesteryear's never say die Old Skool warrior.


    If the kind of beautiful Old Skool fighting knowledge, technique, and ability that Toney used to effortlessly display was easy, then everyone would be doing it.

    And, as we all know, they're not.



    So, yes (restricted speech and all) Toney does have impeccable Hall of Fame credentials.

    Agree also; Toney's speech sometimes is outrageous and a cause for concern/humor.


    That said, (with respect to the videos of Toney that are out there; of which I admit to sometimes finding entertainment in) it's hard to tell how much of that is down to Jame's longevity within the sport, and how much is intoxication/substance.

    I don't for a minute think that Toney does not alter his consciousness for relaxation and/or recreation.



    In any regard, if Toney is permitted to speak from the podium when he is finally inducted (and I say he should be) then I for one will certainly be listening.

    To me, the guy simply embodies so much of what even some of the sport's really critical fans demand.



    Toney, right now, is probably less than 1/10 of the guy that fought Jirov.

    Additionally, the Toney that fought Jirov was, even then, probably no more than 60% of the guy that, years ago, fought Iran Barkely.

    And, the Toney that served up what was perhaps the most devastating KO that (an aged) Holyfield ever encountered, was pretty much still the same (depleted) Toney that narrowly (but spectacularly) beat Jirov in 2003; whilst running at probably no more than 60% of the Toney that faced Iran Barkely.



    Still, whatever percentage of Toney we currently have now . . .

    It's probably still enough to serve as a brutally tough 10 round sparring session from which many out there today can still learn much Old Skool and other techniques from.


    No matter what happens, I still consider myself pretty lucky that I got to see some of James Toney's Old Skool artistry.


    50% of the Toney that fought Barkley and Nunn is, in my opinion, still 100% better than most of the other top guys out there today.

    And, the reason for that is . .

    James Toney has probably forgotten more classy boxing techniques than most out there today know.




    Cheers,


    Storm.

    Very solid post and great tribute to Toney. You should have done this as an article. But I favor Jones over Toney by a hair. Makes for a good debate.
    Last edited by Kid Blast; 05-20-2017 at 03:30 PM.

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