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James Toney loses to Charles Ellis

By Jim Dower: Former three division world champion James Toney (76-10-3, 46 KOs) suffered a 10 round unanimous decision loss to little known heavyweight Charles Ellis (10-3-1, 8 KOs) last Saturday night in a one-sided fight at the Chase Hotel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA. The final judges’ scores were 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93.

Ellis is a 40-year-old fighter who came into the bout with 2 losses in his last 3 fights. Toney likely figured that this was an easy mark for him after he took a look at Ellis’ resume, but surprisingly he wound up getting outworked by the American heavyweight.

Toney got off to a really slow start in getting dominated by Ellis in the first half of the fight. However, even though the 5’10” Toney looked better in the 2nd half of the fight, he was still getting outworked and out-landed by the 6’5” Ellis. One reason why Toney had so many problems against Ellis was the huge height advantage that he had over Toney. Ellis was seven inches taller than Toney.

When you’ve got that kind of size advantage over someone like Toney, you’re going to give him massive problems even if you don’t have the same skills as him.

Toney started his 27-year pro career out as a middleweight in 1988. He’s worked his way up to fighting in the heavyweight division, but he clearly doesn’t belong in this division. More than a few boxing fans can make an argument that Toney shouldn’t be fighting at all at this point in his long nearly 30-year pro career, but that’s up to Toney and whoever licensed him to fight. But Toney was a far better fighter at cruiserweight, light heavyweight and super middleweight than he’s been at heavyweight. Toney moved up in weight to the heavyweight division back in 2003 after his 12 round decision win over IBF cruiserweight champion Vassiliy Jirov.

In Toney’s first fight at heavyweight, he stopped Evander Holyfield in the 9th round in October 2003. Things quickly went downhill for Toney shortly after that when he fought to a no contest against John Ruiz in 2005, a 12 round draw against Hasim Rahman in 2006, and then suffered back to back losses to a prime Samuel Peter in 2006 and 2007. The fights against Samuel Peter were grueling ones for Toney, as he took a lot of hard head shots in both fights in losing 12 round decisions. After those two fights, Toney didn’t look like the same fighter he was going into them.

In recent years, Toney has been beaten by Denis Lebedev, Lucas Browne and Jason Gavern. The loss to Charles Ellis would appear to be a new low for Toney and a sign that he might need to think about retiring from the sport.


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