James Toney has become a parody of himself
James "Lights Out" Toney is becoming a tragic figure in the annals of boxing history.
A once-great fighter in the lower weight divisions who finally ate his way into the heavyweight picture, Toney, 42, has now officially become a joke with his latest outing, a dull 10-round decision over journeyman "Dangerous" Damon Reed last night in California.
Toney was reportedly heavily booed at several points in the fight, as he waddled his way around the ring at a career-high 257 pounds, 20 pounds more than his previous highest weight, itself a sign of how seriously Toney takes himself and his boxing career—or what's left of it—at this point (insert fat jokes about James "Let's Eat" Toney setting up training camp at Burger King here).
About the only thing Toney does well anymore is run his mouth, although it's become difficult to understand the man due to his slurred and garbled speech—the result of too many wars in the ring.
And run his mouth Toney did in the lead-up to this fight, insulting the current heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko with his well-worn "Klitschko Sisters" line at every opportunity.
Toney insists to anyone still willing to listen—and the boxing media types who still enable him should be ashamed of themselves—that the Klitschkos are "running from him" and "scared of him."
Yet it seems that the biggest danger the Klitschkos face from James Toney is laughing themselves to death over his preposterous and deluded statements.
Toney is now like a "D-list" comedian standing woozily in the middle of the ring, mumbling punch lines that keep losing their punch.
The idea of this version of James Toney getting in a ring with either of the Klitschkos should be enough to send shivers up the spine of any boxing fan—not from anticipation of a great fight, but from fear of what would happen to Toney.
Toney's delusional desire to get in the ring for with either Klitschko (or for that matter, with WBA heavyweight champion David Haye, who he refers to as "David Gay") shows the man to be either broke or suicidal or both.
Rumors abound that Toney is bankrupt, which might explain his stooping to disgrace his own sport in a "Boxing vs MMA" farce last year in Boston, as well as this return to the ring in such abysmal condition.
Quite what the Klitschkos or Haye would have to gain from beating an obese, broken-down version of a once-great fighter, who now can't even stop a glass-jawed tomato can, is hard to imagine, making it seem unlikely that Toney will be able to trash talk his way into that one final mega-payday he craves so much.
In a better world, no state boxing commission would grant Toney a license to get in the ring and commit professional suicide from this point forward.
The lights are out, the show is over and everyone knows it but James Toney.
<Johnny Walker also writes for Boxinginsider.com>