By James Slater
Legend and former multi-weight ruler James Toney says he “has the fire back,” ahead of his upcoming (April 28th) Australian adventure with unbeaten giant Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne. Toney is 44-years-old now, and he has not fought since stopping a tough but overmatched Bobby Gunn a year ago.
Yet despite this, and the despite fact that “Lights Out” has not beaten a ranked heavyweight since his 2008 points win over Fres Oquendo, Toney feels he is not only back to his best, but that he is the best heavyweight out there. A big win over 33-year-old Browne, 15-0(14) will, Toney insists, lead to a fight with either “one of the Bitschko Sisters, or David Gaye.”
“I was told about this fight [with Browne] three weeks ago, and I went into camp right away,” Toney, 74-7-3(45) told Fightnews. “I don’t know anything about him and I don’t want to know. I’m gonna knock his ass out. I’ve got the fire back and I feel great. I’m out to show the people that I’m still the best; that I always will be the best.”
Toney says he has been in with big guys who had power before (James mentioned his fights with Sam Peter, who he says, he “ruined”) and he is not concerned with the power former MMA fighter Browne carries: all 6’4″ and approx 250-plus-pounds of him.
“I’m excited and I’m ready to go. I’ll box this guy, then knock him out. I’m in tremendous shape. I plan on coming in at around 220 to 225. It don’t matter what this guy tries to do – whatever he does it won’t be enough. I’ve watched no tapes of him, I never watch tapes of my opponent before any of my fights, ‘cos they never fight me the way they usually fight anyway.”
Toney listed a few names that are on his radar for after he defeats Browne.
“A bigger fight will have to happen for me after I beat this guy, sooner or later. I want the sisters (the Klitschkos), Gaye (Haye) – although he won’t come to the U.S for an ass whupping, he’ll stay away from me – and maybe [Antonio] Tarver, if he’s still a viable name. And I’d drop down in weight for Bernard Hopkins or a rematch with [Denis] Lebedev. My injured leg beat me [in November of 2011], not Lebedev. With me only having one leg, he should’ve KO’d me if he was any good. And Hopkins, he looked great in his last fight (against Tavoris Cloud), I can’t knock him. But I’m old-school – he’s old fool!”
After such a long career, Toney’s critics say he was past his best, even finished, some time ago. “Lights Out” says no way.
“I feel the same way I did before my (2003) fight with Evander Holyfield. That means he’s [Browne] in trouble! Put it out there, I’m the real heavyweight champion and I’m the best heavyweight out there. It’s time to fight now. I leave for Australia on April 19th, and I can’t wait.”