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Toney weighs 217.5 for bout tonight against Greer

By Jason Kim: Heavyweight James Toney (71-6-3, 43 KO’s) appears to be very serious about wanting to look good an impress tonight against heavyweight Matthew Greer (12-5, 11 KO’s) in a 10 round bout at the Pechange Resort & Casino, in Temecula, California. The 41-year-old Toney weighed in yesterday at 217.5, the lowest weight he’s been since he weighed 217 on the dot for a 9th round stoppage win over Evander Holyfield six long years ago in October 2003.

Toney has been growing outward since that fight, getting fatter and fatter and looking less impressive with almost every fight. In recent years, things have deteriorated to the point where Toney can barely get by B level fighters and in some cases for example, Toney’s last fight with Fres Oquendo, Toney is winning by questionable decisions.

Toney can’t afford to lose now at this juncture. He’s currently ranked number #11 in the World Boxing Council heavyweight division and he really needs this win to stay in hunt for a possible title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko.

As strange a thought at that fight might seem, it’s a very real possibility of happening in the future if Toney can keep winning, because the division has few notable stars and Toney, even being a faded fighter in many respects, is still one of the bigger names in the heavyweight division.

However, Toney has been struggling in his last six fights. He only has two wins during that time. The other fights have been a draw, no contest and a couple of defeats to Samuel Peter. In argument can be made that Toney was beaten in his last fight against Oquendo in December 2008.

Toney won the fight by a 12 round split decision. However, few boxing writers who saw the fight felt that Toney actually won the fight. Toney weighed 230 for that fight, which is heavy for him but not as bad as his all time high, 237 for his bout with Hasim Rahman in March 2006.

That fight ended in a 12 round draw, but Toney looked truly awful. He looked like a big bull frog with fat bulging out on the sides. He could barely move around the ring because he was like a big beach ball. At 230, Toney was still far too fat to fight well against Oquendo.

Ideally, the 5’9″ Toney needs to be fighting from 210 to 217 range. He’s still fat at that weight but he can at least move around the ring and punch without the fat slowing him down like it has in recent years. While 217.5 is an excellent number for Toney, it’s unclear whether Toney will be anywhere near as good as he was at that weight six years ago in 2003.

Toney is older now at 41, slower and looks to be slightly worn out from his many ring wars in the past. The two fights against Peter seemed to take a lot out of Toney, because he took a lot of hard clubbing shots in both of the fights. However, Toney’s age likely is just as much a factor as his ring wear and weight problems.

You can’t get around aging and 41 is old for any fighter. Toney doesn’t have the power of someone like George Foreman to bail him out in fights and has to basically grind out his victories over the long haul. Toney really doesn’t belong at heavyweight and should have stayed at cruiserweight or light heavyweight, because he would have had a much better chance to stay on top at those weights.

However, he wanted the money, so here he is still struggling against the bigger fighters. Hopefully, Toney can get by Greer tonight.

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