Saturday, March 18, 2006

Rahman rules over Toney but gains only a draw in AC

By JE Grant

ATLANTIC CITY --- Hasim Rahman, 41-5-2 (33 KOs), Baltimore, 238, clearly out worked and out punched perennial boxing master James Toney, 69-4-3, 1 NC (43 KOs), Los Angeles, 237, only to see the bout end in a controversial 12-round draw allowing him to retain one version of the heavyweight title.

From the opening bell, Rahman peppered the slow and lumbering Toney whether in the middle of the ring or along the ropes – his supposed domain.

Toney was able to land his sharp, countering right hand to the head of Rahman as the bigger man pressed forward but he never slowed the bigger and stronger titlist.

When not landing his jab, Rahman was satisfied with pounding through any opening Toney provided. Toney rolled and leaned away from Rahman negating some of the power of the big man but “Lights Out’s” vaunted counters were of the one-shot-at-a-time variety.

In no aspect of the fight did Toney dominate or even demonstrate an edge. His customary combinations were not in evidence.

Even by Atlantic City standards the scoring was strange to say the least. Tom Kaczmarek and Nobuaki Uratani scored the bout 114-114, while John Stewart had it 117-111 for Rahman.

JEBoxing scored the bout 117-111 for Rahman. HBO’s Harold Lederman scored it 116-112 for Rahman.

Without question a review of the scoring is in order.

Toney entered the ring Saturday a full 80 pounds more than he did when he knocked out Michael Nunn in 1991 to capture his first world crown. The 237-pound version of Toney was also 37 years old and exceeded in every way physically measurable against a real hitter in Rahman – height, wingspan, age, even weight.

Having achieved legendary status by going on to add super-middleweight and cruiserweight belts to his collection, Toney’s roller coaster career seemed at a pinnacle when he outfoxed John Ruiz to seemingly win a version of the heavyweight title.

Toney used all the acumen garnered in the 74 bouts that preceded his jump into the heavyweight ranks to overwhelm Ruiz. Unfortunately he also used steroids according to the New York State Athletic Commission and in a flash his title was stripped.

After a suspension he returned against formerly hot prospect Dominick Guinn last October, scoring a lopsided decision and vaulting himself back into contention.

At least in the eyes of the WBC that is.

The WBC somehow viewed the then-number five-ranked Toney as the next “mandatory” challenger to Rahman. You will recall that Rahman ascended to the throne with the retirement of titlist Vitali Klitschko.

Strangely, only one month after Toney beat Guinn, Oleg Maskaev, ranked number two, easily conquered the number one-ranked Sinan Samil Sam in a WBC eliminator --- ostensibly for the right to become that organization’s mandatory challenger.

While it is easy to deride the WBC for rating either Sam or Maskaev anywhere in the top ten, it is equally easy to see that even the organization itself does not take its rankings seriously.

Nonetheless, most boxing fans undoubtedly saw Toney as a more viable threat to the Rahman (and yes we’re all aware of Maskaev’s thorough whipping of Rahman in 1999 – the years have been kinder to Rahman’s body).

In fact, it was Rahman, the titlist, who entered the ring as the underdog.

Many cannot forget his flop against John Ruiz, his fat man draw with David Tua, or that he dropped a knot head technical decision to old man Evander Holyfield.

Indeed, his six-fight win streak has not included a host of major leaguers. Only Monte Barrett was deserving of a top ten rating. Kali Meehan was perhaps a fringe player. The others were clearly also-rans.

What was important, however, was that Rahman progressively improved his fitness and seemed to recover some of the natural skills that were occasionally in evidence earlier in his career.

The Sonny Liston-like left jab and the overall body strength that continues to have no equal helped him to impose his will over the hapless and the elite alike even when he was not at his best, as was the case against Barrett.

That jab appeared to give him a clear edge in Atlantic City. In this instance a strong titlist did what he needed to do against a crafty veteran.

Unfortunately the dubious decision represents one more black eye for boxing and for a heavyweight division, already derided for its muddled state.

Hasim Rahman can, however, hold his head high. He thoroughly beat a grizzled ex-champion --- and he should move on to the other belt holders.

James Toney’s day has come and is gone. He can win some more fights in the division, but his days as a force in the division are over.


Anonymous Big John said...

What a joke. Rahman really won but neither of them looked like champs.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Decisions like this make me want to shut boxing out of my life.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous TIMBO said...

BS decision. Toney should roll home and hang his head in shame.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Randy said...

Why didn't Rock keep jabbing like crazy? He almost never missed with the jab.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

I thought Rahman won 7 or 8 rounds,but I tend to agree with BigJohn folks.

11:36 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

I have said-in the past-that Toney coming in at the 230's,as opposed to the 2-teens or even 220's,could mean the difference between him WINNING a close fight...And LOSING one.

I thought that was clearly what happened here...:-(

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Timbo said...

Does anyone still believe Toney is grand master flash? Hahahahahah

7:09 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Cruiser -- I'm not sure the weight would have made the difference. Toney couldn't even slow down Rahman for a second. Every time he landed one of his counter rights he was thrown off balance because Rahman was walking right through the punch. A lighter Toney may have elected to engage more and may have ended up on the canvas by trading more. I think the added weight merely allowed him to survive.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Well,I tend to disagree JE.I don't think an extra 10,15,or 20 pounds of fat helped him in ANY fashion whatsover.Then again,the 37 didn't either.But still--I had JT winning 4 or 5 rounds of the fight JE.I thought it was a very winnable fight for him,had he been a little lighter.Credit to Rahman for a decent fight,but I think that finally came back to bite JT.Right on his fat-ass.

12:30 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Cruiser -- One thing that I'm sure of is that I don't want to see a rematch. I would like to see Rahman take on the winner of Klitschko-Byrd and/or Brewster Lyakovich. I don't think we'll ever see anyone from that group go against Valuev. I anticipate that Nicolay's German handlers will keep him under wraps for as long as possible fighting "mandatories" against guys we've never heard of. I would love to be wrong.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Timbo said...

Toney is just a fat old has been. Why does everyone think he was so good?

3:48 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Definetly agreed on that JE.But my gut-feeling is that we WILL probably see it.I see it transpiring like this:Toney wins a close decision over Rahman,thereby setting-up a 'one for the ages' Holyfield-Ruiz hvy trilogy.Or,of course,it could very well end in another draw.(You get the picture folks.Not good.)

As for Valuev--agreed as well.Especially considering that King reportedly has a 50%(!) option on NV's next 3 or 4 fights.He has enough brains to know that he is 'sellable but vulnerable',and will likely match him accordingly.My only hope is that he doesn't go 50-0 (breaking Marciano's record) while feasting on inferior opposition.He is getting periously close.(That would really suck.)

On the bright side--we have a matchup between two good top hvy's in Byrd-Wlad coming up.I look for Wlad to win,and take another step towards being considered the best hvy on the planet.But then there's that Brewster guy.("Oh,no problem Cruiser,your scenario would leave those two to 'settle it all' obviously") Well...Hopefully,but not a sure thing.Among other things,I think Lyakovich could throw a 'monkey wrench' into this and everything else by beating Brewster! (Sorry,I think Sergei is a bit underrated,and I'm not completly sold on Brewster.But then again...I don't think Zig Ziggler could 'sell' me on any of these hvy's!) Ciao...

5:42 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Cruiser -- I also think Lyakovich may pull off the surprise. Brewster is exciting and is a good hitter, but he is very vulnerable in so many ways.

5:48 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Yep,agreed JE.At this very moment,I would reluctantly throw my hat in the ring and proclaim the flawed but formidimable,and still relatively young Wlad Klitschko as the best hvy on the planet.

But I'm only about 51% cetain of that.(lol)

P.S-While Rahman is certainly nothing special,he does KIND of have a 'Liston-type jab'.It's not that Rahman is BAD (I think he's a good solid B-level level hvy in most other era's) It's just,that well...I don't think he's THAT good! :-(

9:31 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Cruiser -- If you look at some of the Liston fights you'll see a jab that has an uncanny similarity to that of Rahman. I'm not really comparing the two overall because in most other ways they were very different. I think Sonny had a much better chin and had better overall skills.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

I know what your saying JE.No doubt there is a similarity there.

6:39 PM  
Blogger orltroy said...

Okay, I had the fight scored 116-113 myself, Toney did land the cleaner less effective counters. I disagree that Rahman looked bad against Tua. Valuev will lose before 50-0, much like Brian Nielsen. Look for the WBA to lose a little crdibility because of King, same with the WBO once agaion as soon as Brewster lose, and unfortunately I feel that he will lose within a year. Like I was telling cruiser, the two fights that Briggs and his people are looking closer at the offerss for the IBF and WBC title shots because of the absence of King.

3:36 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Oltroy -- Don't you think the WBC has also lost any shread of credibility??? They forced Toney (then ranked number 5) as the "mandatory" challenger. Their number one, Maskaev, is now waiting in the wings -- the WBC said previously that he MUST get the next shot. Don't count on it.

5:46 AM  
Blogger orltroy said...

YOur right JE WBC has lost some credibility, but I'll bet you Maskaev gets the next shot. I was shown a private e-mail from Bob Arum the other day stating that Maskaev will be Rahman's next defense. If Rahman wins that fight, then look for Rahman to defend late in the year against a former linear champion.

5:51 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I hope you're right. I don't think Maskaev is truly number one -- not by a long-shot -- but the organization should be made to live up to its word.

6:02 AM  
Blogger orltroy said...

I was pissed at the fact that Maskaev payed the sanctioning fee when fighting Sam, who is a better fighter than Guinn, and Toney who I still feel should be suspended for testing positive for steroids. Maskaev will get his shot again to land another one-two combo like he did the first time, and like Lewis put on Rahman in their rematch. Rahman was open for a counter all night against Toney. However, Rahman fights looser against feather-fisted opponents like Toney, Ruiz, and when he fought Holyfield. However, he boxes much better against heavier-handed fighters like when he was out-boxing Maskaev, and the two fights with Tua. We'll once again see which Rahman will show up.

6:06 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Oltroy -- I think Toney won't win a heavyweight belt. Will he come in at 247 next time? 257? I think the combination of age and weight has caught up with him.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Toney said...

Yall are punks. JAMES TONEY won that fight with Hasim Rahman just like he did against John Ruiz. Nobody wants to give him props because he don't look like a body-builder.

7:28 PM  
Blogger orltroy said...

No one wants to give Toney props because he lost the fight, not because he was fresh off his most recent commercial posing as the black Pillsbury dough boy. Now whoever you are keep your teeth together and just read and learn.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Hmm,that may have been him guys! (lol) BTW-I only had you losing 7 rounds JT.And I think you do a fine job on Fox,let's continue working on the enunciation perhaps though...:-)

11:25 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I think Toney is now out of the picture for all practical purposes. He will likely win a few meaningless fights and may even get a chance at one of the belts. He won't win the big ones.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Toney said...

Why all yall JT haters? This man won middle, super middle, and cruiser WORLD championships. Everyone saw him punk out Ruiz too.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Big John said...

Mr. Toney,

Who the heck are you?

6:17 PM  

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