By Johnny Walker
James “Lights Out” Toney has officially become a cautionary tale in the annals of boxing.
A once-proud champion in boxing’s lower weight divisions, Toney, since becoming a heavyweight, has long been in decline. Since his fights, both losses, with Samuel Peter, Toney’s deteriorating and garbled speech patterns indicate that he has suffered some serious trauma to the brain. It has gotten to the point where one almost needs a translator to figure out what Toney is saying in any given interview.
I don’t say this with any satisfaction, as I like James Toney and cheered for him against Sam Peter. But after seeing his last fight, where he turned up at a ridiculous 257 pounds (20 pounds over his previous high weight) against the ironically-named “Dangerous” Damon Reed, I wrote in another publication that Toney should get out of boxing before he gets seriously hurt. If you want to know more about Reed, he was just knocked out in two rounds by green heavyweight prospect Deontay Wilder, yet Toney, waddling around the ring looking like Butterbean with darker pigmentation, could only manage a dull unanimous decision against the journeyman/tomato can and never even hurt Reed once.
Toney was so incensed by what I wrote about the fight, that he offered, in an obscenity-laced tirade, $10,000 to me and a couple of other Toney critics for three rounds of sparring. “I got $10,000 for any one of these bitch ass writers that think they can spar three rounds with me,” said Toney to his usual press outlet, Fightype.com. “Let’s see how many takers you get. I hate shit talkers that don’t fight, whether it’s a fan behind a keyboard or a bitch ass writer behind a pen. Any Web site that had something to say about James Toney, I will see you sooner or later and fuck you!”
I agreed to fight Toney but wanted more money for my trouble, and haven’t yet heard back from James on that one.
And that kind of sums up what has become of James Toney. He has turned himself into a circus act, and is now reduced to trying to fight journalists, MMA veterans, and who knows, maybe even grizzly bears, for some attention and apparently much-needed cash. His farcical debut MMA bout last year, in which he was decimated by Randy Couture, should have put an end to that particular revenue stream for Toney, but no, we now find out that he is going back for another kick at the can.
Toney is apparently fighting retired MMA star Ken Shamrock in the fall, or so he says. I don’t know all that much about Ken Shamrock, and hopefully he isn’t in the same pitiful condition as James “Lights Out” Toney. But you have to wonder about anyone who is willing to get in a ring with Toney at this point. One can only lose by associating himself with the increasingly delusional boxer, who is still telling anyone who will listen to him that the heavyweight champion Klitschko “sisters,” as Toney likes to call them, are avoiding him out of fear.
What James Toney can’t face is the fact that the Klitschkos don’t want to fight him not because they fear him, but because he is woefully out of shape, seemingly brain-damaged, and utterly delusional about his (faded) boxing skills. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
Hopefully Shamrock thinks better of this proposed fight and changes his mind.
I’ve said it before, and though Toney was angered by it, I’ll say it again. No boxing commission should now license James Toney to fight. If Toney won’t look after his own health, someone else is going to have to make the decision for him, as Toney is so delusional at this point that it seems he really believes what he is saying about fighters like the Klitschkos and David Haye ducking him, when instead they are really laughing at him.
The lights are out, the show is over, and everyone knows it, it seems, but James Toney.