A media teleconference was held on Wednesday, February 2, 2011, to discuss the return to boxing of former middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion James “Lights Out” Toney.
On Thursday, February 24, at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino in San Bernardino, California, The Empire Sports and Entertainment will proudly present the next installment of their “Fight Night in America” series, this time featuring Toney (72-6-3, 44 KOs) defending his IBA Heavyweight Championship against Topeka, Kansas, veteran “Dangerous” Damon Reed (45-14, 32 KOs) in the Fox Sports televised 12-round main event.
My name, James Toney, speaks for itself. I want to thank Damon Reed for stepping up to fight me. Everybody is scared to fight me. The media puts the emphasis on the Bitschko Sisters and David Haye, but I’m the top dog in the heavyweight division, no doubt about it.
At this stage in your life, why continue in boxing? What is left to do?
All the so-called boxing experts haven’t given me my respect yet. When I first turned pro at 157 lbs, I told everybody I would be heavyweight champion of the world one day. I’ve done that twice. I’m a heavyweight champion now, but I want to unify the division. I want the Klitschko sisters. I want David Haye. I want to be the man and then I’ll bow out gracefully. Until then I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. My skills keep getting better.
Everybody talks about the Klitschkos are great. People who know boxing for real know they’re garbage. David Haye is garbage. I’ve got the best skills in the game. Nobody can touch me. You know why the heavyweight division is so terrible? Because all these supposed world champions are cowards. They let these Klitschkos fight nobody over there. I’ve been chasing them for seven years. Even now they won’t fight me. I’m just going to keep defending my belt and knocking out everybody they put in front of me. Until these clowns fight someone like me they have no credibility.
What kind of fight are you expecting from Damon Reed?
I expect Damon to bring the fight to me and do what he does best. I don’t expect him to run or do anything different. Anybody fights James Toney is coming to win. I commend him for taking the fight and God bless him. Everybody come up to the San Manuel on February 24, have a good time, drink and gamble and watch somebody get knocked out… and it won’t be me.
You’ve spent a lot of time training in MMA. Is it hard to get back into boxing?
I’m still doing both. My mind hasn’t changed. I’m a warrior. What happened last August was a fluke. It’ll never happen again. Everybody knows I’m the best heavyweight in the world. I’m not worried about fighting the Klitschko sisters or David Haye. They know what I can do. Everybody knows I’m the purest, best fighter in the game.
Do you expect to fight a few more times this year?
I would like to fight like I used to six or seven times a year, but I hope I get can four fights in this year, realistically.
How along are you willing to wait for the Klitschkos or David Haye?
I’m not worried about it. I’m already heavyweight champion. When they retire from boxing, they will just be the first brothers to be world champions. James Toney will be known as a legend. I’m the first guy to go from middleweight to heavyweight and compete. I’ve fought the best fighters in the world. Look at my record. Nobody in the last twenty years has done with I’ve done.
Thank you Greg and James for giving me this opportunity. James is a future hall of famer, no doubt about it. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to fight him. After all the big names I have fought, I feel like this one is my opportunity. James Toney is a guy I think I can beat. I’m looking at this as a golden opportunity and I’m going to give it my best.
You say you can beat James Toney. What are your keys to victory?
I see myself being a lot busier. James, as a middleweight, was the best there was, but as a heavyweight he doesn’t throw enough punches. I will just be busier than him and outbox him. Not to take anything away from him but I’ve improved to the point that I can box for 12 rounds and outpoint the guy.
What do you think of the claims that the Klitschkos are ducking James?
I don’t doubt anything in this sport. James is a great fighter who is dangerous for anyone to fight. This is what boxing is about, giving people what they want. There is a world title at stake in this fight. Boxing isn’t getting the publicity that MMA is getting anymore, so fights like these are what keep the sport alive.
We’re thrilled to be working with the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino. They really could not be a classier organization. Together, we’re going to put on a tremendous event February 24 as part of our monthly Fight Night in America series on Fox Sports Net. The main event features the return of living legend and future hall of famer James Toney. James will be defending his IBA Heavyweight title against one of my favorite guys in the sport, the always dangerous Damon Reed.
What do you feel this fight will do for the heavyweight division?
Any time you have a living legend like James stepping into the ring, it’s terrific for the fans. I think James still has some things to prove and a lot left in the tank. I think he has some things he still wants to do in this sport. Anytime the fans get a chance to watch a fighter like James Toney in action, it’s great. The heavyweight division is very boring right now, especially in this country. James is a colorful personality inside and outside the ring. He’s one of the best to ever lace up the gloves and it’s going to be a treat for everyone.
You said the heavyweight division is boring in this country. Is it boring or are the fighters over here not getting the exposure because of everything moving overseas?
I think it’s a little bit of both. The bigger fights have been overseas of late, but all it takes is one exciting performance to turn that around, whether from a fighter who’s been around a long time like James or a young stud coming up. It’s not hard to captivate the public; you just have to put on a terrific performance. And in boxing we all know you’re only as good as your last fight.
What is Damon bringing to the fight that gives him a chance to win?
Damon is very durable a veteran. He knows how to fight. He’s coming to win. He really does think he can beat James Toney and this is the opportunity of a lifetime for him. He’s coming in shape, not going to be intimidated. He’ll give it his all. He’s looking to be the Cinderella story. He’s going in with the right attitude and it’ll be great for the fans.
Why San Manuel?
San Manuel is the prefect venue for this fight. James is local so he’s basically fighting in his backyard. It’s a great place to host a fight, a top-notch casino in California.