This is not the picture that I really wanted to use but okay. Last night I caught the reshowing of the Hasim Rahman/James Toney Heavyweight fight. Rounds 2 & 8 were the best rounds in the whole fight.
First I write the resumes on the fighters:
Hasim Rahman–Age: 32, Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, Record: (before fight) 41-5-1, 33 KOs. Currently the WBC Heavyweight Champion. His most notable fight was in April of 2001 where he KO’ed then WBC & IBF World Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis with a 1-punch KO but lost in a rematch against Lewis in November 2001. The loss to Lewis started a four-fight winless streak – 0-3-1 – in 2002 and 2003 that continued against Evander Holyfield, David Tua, and John Ruiz. After those disappointing losses he won the WBC interim heavyweight world title in his last fight on August 13, 2005, with a 12-round unanimous decision against Monte Barrett. After that he was scheduled to fight WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko on April 30 but that fight got postponed and rescheduled twice – on June 18 and July 23 – due to injuries sustained by Klitschko. Finally he was scheduled to fight Klitschko on November 12, but Klitschko was again injured in training and retired. And since the title had been vacated he was named WBC Heavyweight Champion.
Now for James Toney–Age: 37, Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Michigan, Record: (before fight) 69-4-2, 1 ND, 43 KOs. He is most notable for being stripped of the WBA Heavyweight title in 2005 after testing positive for the steroid nandrolone in the post-fight drug test against John Ruiz. James had tore his bicep and triceps muscles in in his left arm in a fight against Rydell Booker in September of 2003. He underwent surgery a couple of days after the injury and was prescribed medication right after surgery.
When asked about these accusations promoter Dan Goossen.
“James received medical treatment for recovery from his biceps and triceps surgery..”
He fought Evander Holyfield in October 2003 and won with a 9th round TKO and his arm was not 100% during the time of that fight. He then took time off for his arm to heal and beat Rydell Booker in a rematch in September 2004. Which the got him the fight against Ruiz in April of 2005.
He is known for being one of the best defensive Heavyweights in the division today. He does has exceptional skills…at his best, he stays in close range, frustrates his opponents with effective upper-body and head movement, and wears them down with sharp, accurate two-handed combinations to the head and body…has good punching power…an exceptional counterpuncher…physically strong and durable, has a solid chin…is very smart in the ring…and is experienced against top opposition.
That was shown last night but there were also a couple of noticeable things also. One of the biggest was his physique. Jim Lampley referred to Toney as a “Fat tub of goo” which was very unprofessional of him to do. Larry Merchant was also unprofessional in his take on Toney’s physique also. Personally he did not look toned for his size and weight. If I am not mistaken he came into the fight weighing 238. Big no doubt but also overlapping in the midsection. Nonetheless he was effective on the inside whenever Rahman came in. It looked as though he began to lose gass by the third round and was purely fighting on instinct. He never appeared to be hurt, just winded. That was clear when he began to miss his overhand rights that were thrown with much power and precision in round 2.
From at least rounds 3-7 Rahman was able to get off many body shots and combinations. He basically stalked Toney during those rounds. But in round 8 it seemed as though Toney got a second wind and came out throwing everything he had with so much clarity. He never hurt Rahman but the exchange had the crowd on their feet. From 9-12 it looked as though he was just trying to make it through the fight. Both fighters look very tired by the middle of round 10 but Rahman was able to still get off more punches. Personally I thought Rahman had won the fight but 2 of the judges had the fight at 114-114 and the last judge had the fight 111-117 Rahman. Thus making the decision a draw. What a disappointment.
Now it is bad enough that we have so many divisions and so many Heavyweight Champions but it is a shame when the top of the division…The Heavyweight Division has no true UNIFIED Champion. Is the Heavyweight Division a thing of the past? Are the best fights going to come from the Welterweight, Cruiserweight, Lightweight and other divisions outside of the Heavyweights? For me the Heavyweight division hasn’t really been interesting since Mike Tyson before he lost to Buster Douglas. I am not discounting Evander Holyfield (like most did) but he just didn’t have any real interesting fights for me after Tyson. I mean even though he shouldn’t have bit Holyfield on the ear nothing popped off after that fight.
Hopefully we will see a rematch of this fight and then some clarity on who is the true Heavyweight Champion. Toney you may want to tone up just a bit.