By Johnny Walker
At the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia, this afternoon, James “Lights Out” Toney was shut out on the scorecards in a humiliating defeat to cruiserweight contender Denis Lebedev, 120-108, 120-108, 120-107. Boxing Insider likewise scored it 120-108 for Lebedev. With the win, Lebedev picks up the “interim” WBA world cruiserweight title.
Watch the full fight:
Lebedev (23-1, 17 KOs) dominated Toney right from the start. Particularly effective was Lebedev’s body attack, as hard left hands from the southpaw to Toney’s midsection saw the veteran put off balance, stumbling and staggering around the ring with great frequency.
Toney (73-7-3, 44 KOs) still possessed enough defensive skills, along with an excellent chin, to remain upright until the final bell – but the toll he paid with his health might not have been worth whatever his purse was for this one-sided drubbing, as Lebedev connected with many hard blows. Lebedev was content to rack up rounds and pick his spots, cruising along as Toney simply could not mount any kind of attack, other than some sporadic right hands that did little damage to the Russian.
The 43-year-old American veteran provided plenty of his trademark trash talk in the lead up to this fight, promising to break Lebedev “physically and mentally,” but it was Toney who looked like a mere shell of his former self, a confused, broken man playing the role of a punching bag for one more big payday.
Much was made out of Toney losing 58 pounds to make the cruiserweight limit, but if anything, Toney looked even more awkward than he did when he weighed much more. His attempts to throw right hand power shots saw him repeatedly lose his balance. For anyone suffering from any remaining illusions about the decrepit state of James Toney’s career, this fight should have been the curative. It was ugly.
It should go without saying that Toney, whose deteriorating speech patterns indicate possible brain damage, should never be licensed to fight again. But unfortunately, as long as Toney insists on fighting, there will likely be someone, somewhere in the world, willing to pay him to do so. James Toney at this point in time is a boxing tragedy in progress.
But as for Toney’s stated desire to someday fight the Klitschko brothers, who he professes to loathe, that idea is now surely totally dead in the water. Toney is simply no longer able to fight on that kind of level.
As for Lebedev, it was an easy win, and here’s hoping he can now quit fighting faded American boxers, and secure a rematch with WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck – their first fight ended in a controversial split decision win for Huck.