Lebedev-Toney: This could end badly for Lights Out
By Dan Ambrose: James Toney (73-6-3, 44 KO’s) is taking his toughest fight in many years when he takes on Russian cruiserweight contender Denis Lebedev (22-1, 17 KO’s) next month on November 4th at the Khodynka Ice Palace, Moscow, Russia.
Toney, 43, isn’t the same fighter he was years ago and he hasn’t beaten what you would consider a quality top tier heavyweight since he defeated Dominic Guinn six years ago in 2005. Even that fight you really wasn’t a tough opponent for Toney, because Guinn was far from being the best fighter in the division back then.
Toney will be taking off a lot of weight to take on the 32-year-old Lebedev at 200 pounds, and this doesn’t seem like a very good idea on the surface. Lebedev is one of the best fighters in the cruiserweight division, whereas Toney isn’t even close to being one of the best heavyweights. He was a good fighter for a short time at heavyweight and was a good cruiserweight 10 years ago. That Toney doesn’t exist anymore. He’s not as fast as he was then, and his work rate isn’t as high. He’s taking on a one of the hardest punchers in the cruiserweight division in facing the southpaw Lebedev.
Toney may know more about boxing than Lebedev, but he doesn’t have the physical tools to capitalize on what he knows any longer. Lebedev is going to be coming out looking to take Toney’s head off in this fight, and he’s going to have a large Moscow crowd cheering him on to make things easier.
I think Toney will have his moments in this fight early on, but I think it’s going to end badly with Toney taking a great deal of punishment and possibly getting stopped. If he doesn’t get knocked out, he’s going to take a severe beating. This is a 12 round fight and unless Lebedev carries Toney and decides to take it easy on him due his age, Toney will likely take a beating. I just hope he doesn’t get too hurt in this fight because he’s done a lot for boxing during his career.