James Toney is Freakin' Crazy, but How Crazy is He?

Jon LeeCorrespondent IAugust 19, 2010

HOLLYWOOD, FL - JANUARY 06: James 'Lights Out' Toney enters the ring during the bout against Samuel 'Nigerian Nightmare' Peter in a WBC heavyweight title eliminator fight at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino January 6, 2007 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

James Toney is clearly not a man in touch with reality.

This, combined with the fact that on every countdown clip they show, they have to use subtitles to explain what he's saying as if he's speaking another language, would be enough for a normal 42-year-old to decide they should get out of the fight game.

But James Toney is not a normal 42-year-old.

He's frickin' insane.

He's so insane, that I actually sat around for the last couple of days trying to figure out a Crazy Athlete Scale, just so I could fit James Toney in somewhere near the top.

Toney is taking on 47-year-old Randy Couture, and yeah, there's a puncher's chance that he will win this fight. But in reality, where James Toney doesn't live, he's going to get taken down and submitted by a guy who is old enough to have a kid fighting in Strikeforce.

So instead of actually predicting this fight, I present:

The Athlete Craziness Scale

This is a work in progress so feel free to add suggestions in the comments section.

Level 10: Chael Sonnen/Floyd Mayweather Crazy

This is the lowest level on the totem pole, comprised of two guys who seem to be otherwise rational individuals, who decided to play a character who says RIDICULOUS things in order to increase their fame and earning potential.

Disingenuous, maybe?

But it's definitely a little crazy to decide that I'm going to play a character ALL the time. In Sonnen's case, it worked out for him, and he should get a big payday if an Anderson Silva rematch happens.

For Mayweather, it's worked for about 10 years. Except now, people have all realized that despite him telling everyone he's the best, he ducks every dangerous fighter out there.

Level 9: Dennis Rodman Crazy

This level includes all outrageous attention-seeking behavior, from dying your hair, to pulling a sharpie out of your sock.

You can also be Dennis Rodman level crazy with a small substance abuse problem that doesn't hinder your career.

Level 8: Marvin "Bad News" Barnes Crazy

Here we're just gonna lump every athlete with any substance abuse/attitude problem that significantly alters their careers.

For instance, Latrell Sprewell resides on this level for that whole choking his coach thing. Even Brett Favre hangs out here due to that whole painkillers ordeal, and never retiring when he said he would.

You can also insert your David Thompsons and Doc Goodens here.

Level 7: Ben Rothlisberger Crazy

This type of crazy refers to any athlete who consistently gets in trouble for the same thing. For Big Ben, it's allegations of sexual assault from a bevvy of portly ladies.

For Leonard Little, it was drunk driving. For Pac-Man Jones, it was making it rain in strip clubs. No matter what, these guys can't stay out of trouble.

Level 6: Tiger Woods Crazy

This is a special level of crazy, reserved for a couple of my least favorite athletes.

This level of crazy only happens when an athlete has cultivated a specific image for a long period of time, almost to the point of living a secret life and a public life, only to have it effectively destroyed by their own actions.

Kobe Bryant is on this level because of the rape allegations (I lived in LA during this, it was a big deal), only somehow he managed to climb back on top. Tiger doesn't seem to be doing that too well.

Lebron recently put himself on this level with "The Decision."

Level 5: Michael Irvin Crazy

One of my favorite levels. Anyone who watched the criminally underrated show "4th and Long" has seen the good effects of that craziness, and anyone who has read Jeff Pearlman's great book Boys Will Be Boys has seen the bad side.

Michael Irvin level craziness is presented with a flamboyance of personality, complete disdain for the rules, and the idea that you're above the law.

It also doesn't hurt to throw in a side of homicidal rage and hookers with cocaine.

Level 4: Michael Jordan Crazy

MJ gets on this list for a craziness that was as helpful in his professional life as it has been hurtful in his personal life.

MJ's craziness included perceiving slights at every opportunity and even creating them when they didn't exist. Jordan's homicidal levels of competitiveness led to every great Jordan moment, a huge gambling problem, and his bizarre hall of fame speech, where it seemed like he still takes everything ever said about him as a slight.


Level 3: Ron Artest Crazy

Do I really need to explain this one? He took time out of his career in his prime to promote a rap CD.

He started the Malice At The Palace.

He shaves different weird things into his head at all times. And my personal favorite, he thanked his psychologist in his post-championship speech.

Level 2: James Toney crazy.

Now we get to James Toney level of crazy.


James Toney's level of crazy is easiest to notice because of the extreme separation from reality. Other boxers, like Bernard Hopkins, have recently said Toney is crazy to take on MMA in it's arena.

But Toney firmly believes that he's going to go out there and KO Randy Couture in about 20 seconds.

His craziness also obviously ignores mirrors as he looks more like Butterbean than a real professional fighter.

James Toney lives on planet James Toney and apparently he's the only inhabitant.

Level 1: Mike Tyson crazy

Could it have been anyone else?

Ear biting, sexual assault, a hysterical little girl voice. Mike Tyson brought everything you could possibly want to athlete craziness.

He even somehow found a way to work eating unborn children and praising Allah into the same sentence. I hate proclaiming anyone the best ever, but I believe Mike Tyson is the craziest athlete we will ever see.


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