There is no doubt that James Toney (76-10-2, 46 KOs) will one day be in the Boxing Hall of Fame. He has amassed and incredible 76 victories, but at 47 years old James Toney’s best days are long behind him. James Toney has an upcoming fight against unheralded Eric Martel Bahoeli (11-5, 4 KOs), but at this point I’m not sure that James Toney should be allowed to step inside the ring.
James Toney has led an incredible life in the sport of boxing. He started his professional career in 1988 as a middleweight and has fought as a heavyweight for the last 12 years. He has held major titles in the middleweight, super-middleweight, and cruiserweight divisions, but those times are far behind him.
Toney has lost three out of his last six fights, and his losses have come against garbage opposition. It’s not Toney’s age that worries me. Numerous fighters, including George Foreman and Bernard Hopkins, have fought well into their 40’s and secured impressive victories. Bernard Hopkins in particular has defied the laws of nature by being an elite boxer at the age of 50.
The problem is that James Toney looks every bit of his age in the ring. He has a granite chin, so he is able to take punishment. He has never been knocked out in a fight, but I think his durability in the ring is turning into a Pyrrhic victory.
James Toney is displaying signs of brain damage. His slurred speech is very alarming. In the linked interview above from May, you can tell that Toney’s speech is impaired most likely due to the punishment he’s endured in the ring. I think that fighters deserve the right to walk away from the sport on their own terms if they aren’t putting their lives in an unreasonable amount of danger.
I don’t know how a doctor can listen to James Toney speak and sign off on his physical. I think that’s criminal and that somebody needs to save James Toney from himself before it’s too late.