Rahman-Toney Bout Ruled a No-decision
By Eric Thomas: In a bit of news that comes to no surprise to many boxing fans who saw the fight, the heavyweight bout between James Toney (70-6-3, 43 KOs) and Hasim Rahman (45-6-2, 36 KOs) has changed from a 3rd round TKO win for Toney to a “no-decision” by the California State Athletic Commission on Monday. The fight was stopped in the 3rd round after an accidental clash of heads caused a small cut over the left eye of Rahman, apparently affecting his vision. After the round was over, Rahman complained to the ringside doctor that he couldn’t see well out of his left eye due to the cut. The fight was then stopped. However, the fight never reached the 4th round, and for that reason it made it likely that the fight ruling would be overturned on appeal.
Although the decision must make Rahman happy, it still leaves him far from satisfied because he was doing well in the fight up until the point of the clash of heads in the third round. It’s difficult to say whether or not he could have continued with his momentum for the remainder of the bout, but he looked on his way to victory at that early stage of the fight. With this verdict overturned, Rahman is reportedly looking at other options of potential fights, such as a bout with David Haye, the former cruiserweight champion. Due to the star appeal of Haye, this would obviously be a much more intriguing fight than a third with Toney, which would probably interest few boxing fans at this point.
If a fight with Haye could be lined up, Rahman would likely be an underdog due to his age against the younger knockout puncher Haye. However, if Rahman could capture some of his power and excellence of earlier in his career, he might have a better than average chance of pulling off an upset if he could land one of his big rights on the chin of Haye. Rahman’s lack of hand speed and sometimes not so good chin could be a problem for him, however, which would leave him vulnerable at all times against the powerful and fast Haye. In his fight with Toney on July 16th, Rahman looked very slow, and appeared to have lost a little of the speed that he once had.
The news of the overturn of the win would seem to hurt Toney much worse, though. At 39 years-old, and about to turn 40 in August, he doesn’t have a lot of time left to make his mark in the heavyweight division. Given his advanced age, it would seem highly unlikely that he will ever get another shot at a heavyweight title. For that reason, his best bet would be to stick around for as long as he can, looking for the most popular fight he can get to make money.
He, too, would be an appealing opponent for Haye, but its doubtful Haye would be interested in a fight with him because of his lack of success in recent years. Up until the point of the clash of heads in the 3rd round against Rahman, Toney looked slow, badly out of shape, his work rate poor and his timing way off.
Hopefully, this was just a warming up period for him, and that was why he looked so bad. He’s a much better fighter when he’s active, throwing a lot of shots and countering well. Hopefully he can still fight at that level, but it’s unclear whether he can or not at this point.