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Toney vs. Lebedev signed for November 4th at 200 lbs

Denis Lebedev James ToneyBy Jason Kim: A fight between former three division world champion James Toney (73-6-3, 44 KO’s), now 43-years-old, and Russian cruiserweight contender Denis Lebedev (22-1, 17 KO’s) is reportedly good to go for November 4th at the Khodynka Ice Palace, Moscow, Russia.

Toney traveled to Moscow, Russia recently to sign the contract with Lebedev for their fight, which will take place at 200 lbs or less. Toney is on board with fighting at the cruiserweight limit without the assistance of a catchweight, although you have to wonder whether that’s a smart thing for Toney to do because he hasn’t fought at that weight since beating Vassily Jirov eight years ago in 2003.

Toney has packed on a lot of weight with much of it being fat in the last five years and it’s highly likely that Toney will be weakened at 200 lbs and not capable of beating the powerful Lebedev, who may be the biggest puncher in the cruiserweight division.

Toney’s adviser Ivaylo Gotzev said this to ESPN about Toney’s weight: “I’ve seen him as low as 212 with my own eyes, so there is nothing to worry about there.”

There’s little doubt that Toney can make the fight, but actually fighting and being strong enough to compete is the real question here. Gotzev may have seen Toney at 212, but he didn’t see Toney in the ring at that weight recently. I imagine Toney would be very weak at 212, and at 200, which is where he’ll be fighting Lebedev, it’s putting Toney in a dire situation where he’ll have little power. If he doesn’t have the power to slow Lebedev down then he’ll take a beating against him. I doubt that Lebedev will be able to knock Toney out because he has a great chin, but he will likely give him a real beating in this fight. Toney’s work rate will have to be high for him to be able to stand in there with Lebedev.


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