Lights Out for James Toney
“All that remained in the body of James Toney today was craftiness and guts.”—Scott Christ
James “Lights Out” Toney (73-7-3) lost every round to Denis Lebedev (23-1) signaling what most of us already knew. He is totally done and is no longer a factor in any way whatsoever. He was shutout by scores of 120-108, 120-108, and 120-10 over 12 ugly and embarrassing rounds where he lacked balance and any semblance of his former self. Toney hurt his left leg early, but it didn’t really matter as his reflexes and power were totally gone. Buddy McGirt would have done well to throw in the towel around the ninth or 10th round, but Toney would have none of that. No one can ever deny Toney’s toughness. Lebedev, who was able to pop Toney almost at will and can counter well, went for the kill in the last round, but time ran out.
As I also suspected, though James looked good cosmetically, the massive weight loss drained him completely. Toney was a truly great fighter at one time and I don’t mean to come down overly hard on him, but let’s face it, he seemed to almost purposely give away his opportunities to capitalize on his greatness and went into a self-destruct mode. He really hasn’t looked good since his 2008 NC with Hasim Rahman.
As for Lebedev, he can lay claim to being the interim WBA cruiserweight titleholder as well as a “Legend Beater,” but if and when he fights slick and stylish Ismayl Sillakh (the Ukrainian-born, California-based light heavyweight) or rematches with heavy-handed Marco Huck, he will be exposed as nothing all that special. It was just that Toney and Jones were that bad.
Sillakh (17-0), by the way, won his fight over Ali Ismailov and remains my favorite young fighter.