Interview with James Toney


National Conference Call Transcript

IBF Cruiserweight Champion James Toney, Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Toney participated in a conference call to discuss his 12-round heavyweight showdown against four-time world champion Evander Holyfield on Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Highlighting the undercard will be a 12-round IBF title eliminator featuring two of boxing’s most talented fighters, former 130-pound world champions Joel Casamayor and Diego Corrales. Both fights will air live on pay per view beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Goossen Tutor Promotions will present the event, which will be distributed by SHOWTIME Pay Per View and carries a suggested retail price of $44.95. Tickets are priced at $650, $500, $300, $150 and $75, and are on sale now at the Mandalay Bay Box Office and all TicketMaster outlets. To order tickets by phone, call (702) 632-7580.

Question: Do you have any opening comments?

Toney: John Beyrooty, you keep on making mistakes. I am the eight-time world champion, not the three-time champion. You and Dan Goossen keep making the same mistake time and time again. Give me my respect. I am the greatest fighter of the millennium. I am fighting the greatest heavyweight of the millennium. It is going to be a great fight.

Question: How is training going?

Toney: My training is going good. We are less than 10 days away from Holyfield’s demise. I cannot wait. I am excited. I am ready to roll and ready to fight.

Question: What weight are you looking to come in at against Holyfield?

Toney: I will weigh between 205-210 pounds for this fight. I will be in pretty good shape.

Question: Are you really going to stand in front of Holyfied in this fight?

Toney: You must have never seen me fight before. I do not run from anybody. I am going to do what I say. I am going to be there for him. Why would I run from this guy? Why would I change the way I have fought my whole career? My thing is you have to bring it to get it. It is going to be a bloody night. He has not shown me any respect at all. It is time for him to go to sleep, and I am going to be the one to put him to sleep. He has never seen anybody like me. Nobody in boxing can do what I do. Nobody. Period. You have all these pretend fighters out there. I am real.

Question: Can you compare the Holyfield of the mid 1990s to Holyfield today?

Toney: Holyfield has changed for the worse because he is fighting me. I am going to give him his wish. I am going to retire him. He has never fought anyone with the skills I have. I am going to get him.

Question: Holyfield used to be more active. Do you think he will still throw flurries or one punch at a time?

Toney: You never know how Holyfield is going to fight. He changes fight by fight. You never know, so I am prepared for anything. Whatever he does, I am going to do better.

Question: What do you say to people who say you cannot handle the weight as a heavyweight?

Toney: I tell them to come by the fight or come down to the gym and get in the ring with me. I have great skills. I can fight anybody, anywhere, anytime. I have done it in the past. I am on a different level than everyone else in the game of boxing. Nobody taught me how to fight. I was born a fighter. Everybody else was taught. That is the difference. I would rather show them than talk about it.

Question: Are you worried about head butts in this fight?

Toney: I want him (Holyfield) to come in with his head down because he will get a bad case of the hiccups. Only crybabies cry about things like that. I am prepared for anything.

Question: Is it true you knocked out two sparring partners, and do you plan to KO Holyfield?

Toney: I will definitely KO Holyfield. I am the hardest punching boxer. I will hit him on that big ass chin of his. It was a massacre with my sparring partners. I carved those guys up like turkeys yesterday.

Question: Holyfield talked about being the bigger guy. Do you think he is overconfident?

Toney: He (Holyfield) has no respect for me at all. You know what? F— Evander. When the bell rings, we will see who is bigger. Holyfield is a great fighter, but he has met his match. He is overconfident.

Question: Can you talk about what motivates you to keep fighting?

Toney: What keeps me going? Beating up on Holyfield. I have goals to accomplish after this fight. I am going to make a mandatory defense to keep my cruiserweight title. Then, I will fight all of the heavyweights. I will fight every single one of them. The Klitschkos, they suck. Chris Byrd, I will put him to sleep. Chris Byrd is garbage. Fres Oquendo is garbage. Every heavyweight in the division is garbage.

Question: Have there been any changes in your conditioning or training as you have moved up to heavyweight?

Toney: I have done more weight training. I have done a lot of boxing with the big guys. I am at the right weight I should be at. Everything is going good. I have no complaints.

Question: Do you think your victory over Vassiliy Jirov was your defining victory?

Toney: I have a better victory coming up. It (defeating Jirov) was a good victory, but not my best so far.

Question: I thought cruiserweight was your right weight. What do you think?

Toney: I was at the right weight for that moment. But know, I am going on to bigger and better things. I still have the cruiserweight title, and I am going back down to make my mandatory defense, but heavyweight is my goal. I am not going anywhere. I do everything for a reason. We will sit down and hatch out where we are going to go.

Question: Do you see yourself as the guy who can get interest back in the heavyweight division?

Toney: I am the guy. You know that. They all know that. They hate to see me coming. I am going to fight everybody I have to fight.

Question: Do you think people in the division do not want you to move up?

Toney: They do not want me to move up because they know I can fight.

Question: Do you think writers see you as the old James Toney and think your weight is an issue?

Toney: A lot of writers do not give me any respect. I do not worry about what they say. I just do what I do best, which is put the hurt on people. You know what I can do. You have seen me.

Question: Holyfield has been known to save his punches for the last 30 seconds of each round. What do you plan to do?

Toney: I want him (Holyfield) to do that. If he does that, it is going to be a short night for him. I want him to open up. I am going to bust him up pretty good.

Question: What is your strategy going to be?

Toney: I am going to knock Holyfield out. It is as simple as that. I am going to use combination punching. It is going to be a good fight. He is going to get bloody. On Oct. 4, make sure you tell everybody to tune into this fight. I do not want people going over to their friend’s house, over to one house to watch the fight. I want everyone to watch it separately. This is going to be the best fight of the year. It is Holyfield’s retirement fight.

Question: Neither Roy Jones Jr. nor Lennox Lewis said they were interested in fighting you. What do you think of that?

Toney: That is fine. That shows you were their (Jones Jr. and Lewis) hearts are. Roy is not a bigger man than me. I am still bigger then Roy. The bottom line is, Roy is a f—ing coward. I am not worried about him. Lennox Lewis, him and his s—locks on his head. He can kiss my ass. Line ‘em up. I will be bigger than Lewis after this fight.

Question: Will you fight Roy Jones Jr. after you beat Holyfield?

Toney: Roy will not fight me. Why do you want to lie to yourself like that? You know Jones does not want to fight me. He got lucky the first time. He is down to fighting a little girl like Antonio Tarver to get an easy win. He will not defend his title against David Tua or (Hasim) Rahman because he does not have the balls.

Question: How do you expect the fight to go early on?

Toney: He (Holyfield) is going to come out quick and try to bum rush me against the ropes, and try to man handle me. However, I am ready for anything.

Question: Whom do you really want to fight after Holyfield?

Toney: I do not care who I fight. Line them up. I will let the fans pick. That is the way to do it because I am a fans’ fighter. I want to fight the people they want me to fight. I will fight Tyson, Lewis, Tua, Rahman, whoever. I am a real fighter. You do not see too many real fighters out there today. You have these patsy papier-mâché champions.

Question: Can you get a decision in Las Vegas?

Toney: Of course I can get a decision in Las Vegas. If you get the right judges, which I am sure they will. I rarely go the distance two fights in a row. I do not see Holyfield going the distance.

Question: Can you go the distance at this new weight?

Toney: Why not?

Question: Any final thoughts?

Toney: Thank you all for participating today. This is going to be a good show.

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