Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Brief Comments -- James Toney Stripped of WBA Title

By JE Grant

Today it is being reported that James Toney was stripped of his recently acquired WBA heavyweight championship, fined, and suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission for having an illegal substance in his system as detected by a post-fight test.

I'm sure in the coming days there will be hearings and lots of arguments put forth by a battery of attorneys on both sides. Nonetheless, damage has already been done to Toney's reputation and boxing is now going to be linked to baseball and football as being tainted.

Though quick resolution is possible, this will likely drag on for a few months. In the meantime, boxing's heavyweights need to quickly unify the remaining titles and allow the division to assume its traditional role as the bell-weather of the sport. Boxing is poised to make a comeback and this setback, though serious, can be a mere bump in the road if the powers controlling the division work diligently to create one champion.


Blogger Mac said...

This is unfortunate for the heavyweight division at this time. With Toney winning it looked like it would set up some interesting matches (Toney/Bird for one), but now Toney will probably be out of the title picture (the WBA title certainly for 2 years) for some time and we will have to watch Ruiz clinch his way to another win or loss against someone who we probably don't care to see fight either. Bring on Winky/Tito.

2:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still don't get why the heavyweight division must be the bellwether of the sport. Boxing gets so little press, and when it does so much ink is spilled bemoaning the state of the heavyweight division, all while some truly classic battles are being fought almost every other week now in the lighter divisions. I'd much rather see boxing showcase its truly exciting fighters than insult our intelligence by trying to convince us that this dull group of heavyweight "champions" is in any way interesting to watch. The heavyweights will have their day again. In the meantime, as eastcoast says, bring on Winky/Tito.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Mac said...

To follow up the comment by "anonymous," we as consumers have the right not to spend our dollars on subpar matchups. That's one reason why HBO wasn't able to sell Toney/Ruiz on PPV. It is embarassing to the sport that a heavyweight championship bout does not draw interest. The good news is that there are some interesting newcomers (i.e. Sam Peter) who may be worthy down the road of our PPV dollars.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's embarrassing to the sport, and I would certainly love to see a great heavyweight division as much as anyone else. Hopefully guys like Sam Peter can start to make that happen. But I just wonder if undue importance is placed on the heavyweight ranks, at the expense of some truly great fighters in other divisions. Can we realistically expect every division to have the kind of depth of talent we now have at, say, jr. lightweight? You'd have to think that at any given time, one or two divisions are always going to be pretty fallow. Right now it's the heavyweights. And personally, it doesn't bother me too much, because there are so many other great fights to see. I actually think it's a pretty great time to be a boxing fan.

What I don't understand is most sportswriters' blinkered and disproportionate focus on the state of the heavyweight division. I feel like they're missing the big picture, and failing to highlight was is truly exciting in the sport. I mean, having seen him fight, I understand why John Ruiz is not a household name. But why isn't Kostya Tszyu?

Sorry to be long-winded, but you got me thinking. I really appreciate your insight.

1:42 PM  

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