The Case for James Toney
By Ted Sares:thumbsup:
Hey, everybody seems to think James "Lights Out" Toney will have his lights dimmed on September 2, when he and Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter meet in a 12-round World Boxing Council (WBC) elimination bout at the Staples Center in LA, but I beg to differ. And no, I have not been smoking something whacky. Let me explain why I think Toney takes the young and slow Nigerian to school.
1) Experience: Like fine wine,Toney is an experienced and seasoned professional who is a former three-time world champion. And like an old school fighter, he has had 77 fights and his record stands at 69-4-3 (43 ko's). Peter has fought only 27 times and has won 26, 22 coming by ko. Clearly, Toney is the more experienced man with far, far more quality round under his ample belt.
2) Opposition: Toney's opposition has been far superior to that of Peter. "Light Out" has fought Roy Jones, a trilogy with Mike McCallum (2 wins and a draw), Vassiliy Jirov, Evander Holyfield, Hasim Rahman, Dominick Guinn, John Ruiz, Steve Little, Montell Griffin, Charles Williams, Iran Barkley, Reggie Johnson, Merqui Sosa, and, of course, Michael Nunn. The list reads like a "Whose Who" in tough opponents. Peter, on the other hand, has fought Wladimir Klitschko and then it gets a bit murky. Charles Shufford Jr, Taurus Sykes and Jeremy Williams have been decent opponents. Indeed, "The Nightmare"sent Williams to dreamland with a monster left hook but he also was extended to the round limit by Shufford and Robert Hawkins. During the amateurs, he won 18 of 20 fights. Simply no comparison here...whether in recent or not-so recent foes. Toney gets the big edge.
3) Boxing know how: Toney is the professor and Peter is the student. Toney knows every cute move in the book and Peter is an upstart who may not know where the book is. However, Samuel has power which is his only saving grace. And make no mistake, he packs a wallop. However, he throws wide and looping punches and his lack of fundamentals is manifest. Wladimir took him to school with his jab and the fact Samuel could not take him out given Wlad's suspicious chin speaks volumes. Toney fights with angles and uses his elbows and shoulders to great defensive advantage. He also can punch, particularly on the inside where he does his best work with short hooks and sharp uppercuts, but his power does not nearly match that of Peter.Some have even suggested he may be in the process of remaking himself into a new "Archie Moore." At any rate, Toney possesses incredible fistic talent and Peter possesses's devastating power.
4) Conditioning: Ah, a most important factor in this fight. If Toney comes into this fight like he has been lunching with Danny Williams, he stands a good chance of being embarrassed by the young African. Indeed, he should train so that he fights at the cruiserweight limit (where he would rule the roost), but he shows neither the desire nor inclination to do that. But wait, Peter is not exactly a poster child for great physiques and recently fought and beat Julius Long at the portly weight of 257 plus. Interestingly, if Toney is in shape and Peter comes in at around 260 or over, this issue could be a bit of a wash.
5) Chin: Peter's is untested. Toney's is rock solid but he has never been hit with someone who has the power of Peter.
6) Who wants it more? I say Toney but barely. Despite his pre-fight theatrics which are wearing thin, once he gets into the ring he is all business and he is smart enough to know what he is up against here. His ego, which is as large as his pre-fight hyperbole, will not allow him to be embarrassed. But Peter will not be as tentative as Rahman inexplicably was, so James needs to be extremely cautious here. And if he is lazy about his training, his risk vs his reward for taking this fight may be disproportionate.
7) Boxer's IQ: Toney's is high; Peter's is unknown but the case could be made that he is still too amateurish. In this regard, it is interesting to note the August 2006 edition of the Boxing Digest Magazine rates Samuel as one of the five most overrated fighters out there. I am definitely not going that far, but Toney has likely forgotten more than Peter knows about the fundamentals of offense and defense. But Peter's awesome power can make all of that academic with one hook Ala Jeremy Williams.
8) Wild card: Does Toney "grow old overnight?" If so, it is light out.
Summary, I see Toney getting inside "The Nightmare's" looping and wide shots, and connecting with short hooks, and counter uppercuts until one connects that momentarily stuns Samuel. At this point I see James quickly stepping back and unloading a strong overhand right that convinces Peter to become tentative. Toney, frequently fighting off the ropes which he does about as well as anyone, then begins to break the now discouraged bigger man down with crisp punches and combinations, while Peter throws one punch at a time.
I am feeling cocky (and maybe even foolhardy), but off my recent posted predictions of a draw between Taylor and Wright and a Baldomir win over Gatti by 9th round TKO, I'll go out on the limb and predict that Toney exposes Peter's lack of fundamentals and takes the crude but proud Nigerian to school. I see an semi-exhausted Toney winning by UD or MD.
“I like to beat up people and I have fun doing it. It is going to be a short fight, but the beating I give Peter will make the fight seem like a long one.' James Toney
“I do not do my fighting at a press conference. I do my fighting in the ring. Toney is Toney. He likes to talk a lot and act crazy. I am no Rahman or Ruiz. On Sept. 2, Toney will not survive in the ring. I will put 260 pounds on him. I will get rid of him within five rounds. I will make Toney regret that he took this fight.” Samuel Peter
Ted Sares is a syndicated writer who can be reached at [email protected]