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James Toney: 'Pacquiao's the best pound-for-pound fighter in todayís game'
Geoffrey Ciani , 2/24/2011 12:54:13 AM

James Toney appeared on episode #113 of 'On the Ropes Boxing Radio'

(Interviewed by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís 113th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with former three-division champion James ďLights OutĒ Toney (72-6-3, 44 KOs) who is scheduled to make his return to the ring Thursday night against Damon Reed (45-14, 32 KOs) at the San Manuel Indian Casino in San Bernardino, California. Toney spoke about his upcoming fight and talked about his Hall of Fame career and other matters pertaining to the current boxing landscape. Here is what he had to say:

On how he feels about returning to the ring against Damon Reed on February 24:

ďDamon Reed, I think heís a good opponent. I hope he comes to fight. I hope he doesnít run. Iíve heard some of the comments that he made and I hope he has more guts than what heís talking about running. So Iím looking forward to it. Iím excited and I canít wait for the fans to see the real heavyweight champion in action, period!Ē

On whether he expects to experience any ring rust given the fact he has been out of the ring for fifteen months:

ďMaybe for the first round or so, but after that Iíll be ready. Iím brand new. Iím ready to go!Ē

Regarding his current goals in the heavyweight dividion:

ďThe goal is to get all the heavyweight titles. I want the WBO, I want the WBC, I want all the belts in the division. Thatís the most important thing right there. I want to fight the best opposition out there. I ainít never been one to duck nobody unlike most of these clowns out there are doing. I want to fight the best. If you think youíre better than me I want to fight. Letís make it happen. Chris Arreola, letís make it happen. Tomasz Adamek, letís make it happen. I would love to fight the Klitschko sisters but theyíre scared and want to stay over in their country. I ainít chasing them around no more. Iíve been chasing them for seven years.Ē

On whether he still considered himself to be an elite level fighter at age 42:

ďOh my goodness! Iím just getting started. Earlier in my career I was in my infant stage. Now Iím beginning my adult stage and Iím ready to fight now.Ē

Regarding a potential fight against one of the Klitschko brothers:

ďIíve been trying to fight these guys for seven years. These guys have no desire to fight me because they know what time it is. When I saw them last year at the Arreola fight, they deliberately walked the other way. They walked the other way when they saw me because they know. They were so God damned sacred of me they thought I was going to jump them right there. Everybody thinks Iím going to fight them on the spot. I ainít going to throw a punch at all, period! I want to get paid in the ring. I want to knock their asses out in the ring. To anybody who thinks the Klitschko sisters are the best, these guys are garbage. They stay in their country. Garbage!Ē

Regarding the upcoming fights for each of the Klitschko brothers:

ďI donít care who they fight. I donít care! Theyíre probably fighting garbage cans. I ainít never heard about them. I donít care about them. Iím not going to chase them because everybody knows there is only one heavyweight champion and thatís me. One thing thatís going to be impossible is to insist weíre going to fight. Iím going to worry about me. Iím not going to worry about what theyíre doing.Ē

On whether he believes Wladimir ducked him when he decided to face Hasim Rahman at the time when Toney had a TKO3 win over Rahman:

ďYeah, but everybody knows what it is. The guy slacked out. Hasim Rahman is supposed to be a tough guy. I beat him down. Heís pretty decent guy. What kind of fighter pulls shit like that? I fought whoever right here and was willing to go through hell. These guys pick fights like cowards. Theyíre nothing. Theyíre garbage.Ē

His views on WBA heavyweight champion David Haye:

ďI call him David Gay. Heís gay. You know what Iím saying? Heís gay. Itís the same old stuff. He ainít fighting nobody. I heard heís fighting Povetkin. Thatís what I heard of last night. Heís fighting Povetkin, somebody who nobody ever heard of, somebody whoís trained by the mouth of Teddy Atlas who canít explain nothing unless itís superficial. Iíll say it once again, theyíre nothing. Theyíre nothing. There is nothing there. If you want to fight me you got to come over here. Iím chasing these dead ends. Iím not chasing them. I refuse to chase these guys. Iím going to fight with my title over here. Iím not worried about them. Titles donít make James Toney. James Toney makes them. I won every belt there is so it doesnít matter. The heavyweight division is the worst of all time. The biggest fight in the division couldnít happen because they wonít step up.Ē

On whether he feels he needs to fight his way up the rankings to get a title shot with one of the champions:

ďYou donít understand what Iím saying. I donít care about that. I donít care about being ranked in the organizations. Iím only trying to defend my title. Thatís it. The only way itís going to happen is if the fans go out there and call for it and you in the media go out there and talk about it. Then maybe it would have hope. Thatís what itís going to take. This is not the 60s or 70s where real fighters fight any more. This is all put on by newspaper people like yourselves.Ē

On whether he ever considered hanging up the gloves given he has already had a Hall of Fame career and is now 42:

ďFor what? Iím not done yet. You know what Iím saying? I said my goal was to fight for the heavyweight titles. I keep telling everybody, the belts donít define James Toney. James Toney defines belts. If the belts are held by David Haye and the Klitschkos and nobody knew who they were before they even got the belts, and still when they do have them they donít mean anything because they arenít doing nothing with it.Ē

His views on Tomasz Adamekís transition into the heavyweight division and how it compares to his own transition:

ďI made a transition to fight a monster. He ainít done nothing! If you look at everybody he fought, they matched him very carefully. Like I said, this is not old school boxing. This is new wave BS. You know we take the least risk for the most money and thatís what heís doing right now. Whoís he fighting now? Heís fighting, I read it, oh! Kevin McBride! Come on! Are you kidding me? Please! See what you got to do? These guys get no-hopers and they knock them out. Arreola is the same way. They do what they got to do to protect their fighters and make money off them.Ē

On whether he believes he is more deserving of a shot at a Klitschko than Adamek:

ďI donít care about fighting Klitschkos! I keep telling you! Iíve tried for seven years! Iím done chasing these clowns! If I do get the chance to fight them I wonít fight them over there. He has to come over here. Iím not doing that. Iím James Toney. With my name alone the ticket will sell. These guys donít impress me. They impress all of you guys. They donít impress me. Iím not worried about the guys.Ē

His views on Bernard Hopkins and why a fight between him and Hopkins never went done:

ďThe reason why the fight never happened is because he backed out. You know Bernard, heís a good fighter. Heís not a great fighter. Heís not a Hall of Fame fighter. You know what Iím saying? A fighter like him, heíll run. These old school fighters never run in with their heads down and hit and hold. Thatís all Bernard does. He was supposed to fight me in í04 and he decided to fight De La Hoya because I would have beaten him. Even if he had fought me at cruiserweight, he would have went from the ring straight to the morgue.Ē

Regarding clarification on whether he really believes Bernard Hopkins is not a future Hall of Famer:

ďNo, I donít think heís a Hall of Famer but he is going to be in the Hall of Fame. Heís not a great fighter. The way he fights, he fights scared. If you ever watched an old school fighter in the 60s and 70s, did you ever see one running in with his head down and hitting and holding besides a bum? Come on man! Iím a fight historian. I watch fights. I see how old school fighters fight and Bernard Hopkins does not fight old school. He fights old scared.Ē

His views on Hopkins first fight with Jean Pascal and whether he believes Hopkins will become the oldest fighter to win a title in the ring when he has a rematch with Pascal this May:

ďWell he should be. Pascalís not a good fighter. So why not? I thought he won the first time. He made mistakes. He was an old guy. He got dropped and that saved Pascal.Ē

On his expectations when he decided to make the jump to heavyweight to face Evander Holyfield:

ďI wanted another belt. That was one of my goals. I have more skills than anyone in boxing. Iím like Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott, thatís my style. I have an old school style. I can dominate this game and itís not too late. Iím going to show you. Iím not just going to tell you.Ē

His views on his heavyweight title fight against John Ruiz which was later declared a no contest:

ďI made a flaw. I took the fight sooner than I should have because I was still in rehab for the muscle tear when I won the IBA heavyweight title one month prior. So I wanted to take the fight before he could get away instead of waiting and, boom! While I was in training I was taking medication and I tested positive for steroids.Ē

His views on why he has had so many ups and downs since the Ruiz fight:

ďBasically I was just being myself. There was nobody around me. I donít blame anybody. I wasnít getting myself in great shape, but that was in the past and Iím looking towards the future. I have no regrets over anything. Everybody who watched knows with Hasim Rahman I beat him. But still. Hey! It is what it is. It was a draw. Itís in the past. Now Iím looking forward to February 24.Ē

His views on the downfall of his former opponent Roy Jones Junior:

ďWell like I said, I donít worry about anybody else. I just worry about James Toney.Ē

His views on current Pound-for-Pound King Manny Pacquiao:

ďWe trained in the same gym. Iíve known him for fifteen years. He was a little dude and now Pacquiaoís the best pound-for-pound fighter in todayís game. He goes to work hard in training. Thatís how he finds that. The kid works hard and he does what he needs to do to be on top.Ē

On how he felt to finally get into the ring with Vassiliy Jirov considering all of the postponements and problems in the lead-up to finally putting that fight together.

ďIt was unbelievable! So when we finally got in the ring I said, ďYeah, now itís time to beat that assĒ. Now I love it. You know what Iím saying? When that bell rang in that first round, I came out and I knew it was just a matter of time before I would break him. I know I would break him. Every young fighter who got in the ring with me, if he doesnít have a lot of years, he ainít never been the same after fighting me. Iíve warned everybody.Ē

On which performance(s) from his career he views as his best complete efforts:

ďIíll give you two of them: Iran Barkley and Evander Holyfield.Ē

His views on comments made by Montell Griffin on a previous episode where he said ďwatch the fights without the sound on and youíll know who the real winner wasĒ regarding their two fights together:

ďYeah he won the fights, and heís right! If you turn the sound off everybody will see I won the fights. You know what Iím saying? I didnít care about any of that business. You see where he is now? You see where Iím at. So I donít worry about it. Things happen for a certain reason. God must have had a reason and here we are. Iím still doing my thing.Ē

His views on Montell Giffinís career and accomplishments:

ďWhat did he achieve? He could have done more than he did. I canít speak for anybody who I donít know that well. From what Iíve seen when we fought, he was a decent boxer and as far as punching power he was a skinny dude.Ē

On how he would ultimately like to be remembered by the fans:

ďI want to be known as one of the greatest fighters of all time, period! You know I fought any and everybody. I one of the toughest and most skilled, just look at my record. Iíve fought the best in every division Iíve been in. I never ducked anybody and Iím still the only heavyweight champion of the world, period!Ē

On whether he views Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather as the Pound-for-Pound King in boxing:

ďI canít tell you until they fight. Thatís the only way. Some people go with Mayweather now. Iíve known Manny for the last fifteen years. Iíd say itís a tossup. All I can tell you is James Toney is the best fighter overall now, period! Nobody has more skills than me. Everybody wants to be like me, but they arenít like mine.Ē

On how often he plans to fight following his upcoming fight given his recent inactivity:

ďI would love to fight. If I could have I would have fought ten more times, but itís not my fault. Everybody is ducking me and dodging me and refusing. Iím only in it to give the fans the best fights. If they canít have that, then hey I give it a try. I want to fight at least seven or eight more times before I retire and hopefully most of them will be big fights.Ē

On whether he regrets having a fight in MMA:

ďI donít regret nothing I did in life, period. It wasnít my day. Iím going to do it again. Iím not done with it. Iíll be back in the cage probably in April or June. Thatís not the last of it.Ē

His official prediction against Damon Reed:

ďIím knocking him out.Ē

For those interested in listening to the James Toney interview in its entirety, it begins approximately one hour and six minutes (1:06:04) into the program.



This article also appears on East Side Boxing

Contact the author at .

About the author: Geoffrey Salvatore Ciani shall someday name his first-born son ďSantinoĒ because he fancies the name ďSantino CianiĒ.

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