The fact James Toney returned to action on a Thursday night tells fans plenty about what the veteran fighter has left. Add the fact he chose a blown-up club fighter, Danny Batchelder, to comeback against suggests a steep decline in promoter confidence following his knockout defeat to Sam Peter. If also told you Toney could only eek out a split-decision win over ten, espite weighing in a breezy 229 pounds,you’d probably be eager to write off the former champion wouldn’t you?
Dylan Hernandez was ringside for the Inside Bay Area website, and is scathing in his review of Toney’s performance – his perspective is corroborated by trainer Freddie Roach who qualified any future involvement with Toney by stating; “He really needs to show me he wants to do this,” Roach said. “He’s not in fighting shape. If he doesn’t come in at 215 or lower next time, I’m going to call it a day. I don’t want to be any part of him being hurt.”
The prospect of James Toney ducking between the ropes south of 215 strikes me as a resignation speech from Roach, who must know that the 229 Toney weighed here was something a triumph for the 38 year old heavyweight. However, I also read that James’ wife Angie gave birth to their sixth child Jaden this week and as someone who is currently a little strung out from the birth of his second daughter I could offer some latitude for Toney’s lax performance.
Fans know the show is almost over, but perhaps Toney deserves one more swing of the bat before we write him off entirely. The baseball analogy has increasing resonance – as it is increasingly evident that the once elusive Middleweight technician is ‘catching’ more than ever.