Feature | Premium | Feb 13 2020

My Night: James Toney reveals his finest ever performance

'I ruined Iran Barkley that night, no doubt,' snarls James Toney
James Toney vs Iran Barkley  |  Holly Stein /Allsport

MY greatest night, I had a whole lot of great nights; at middleweight all the way up to heavyweight. I have a few fights from my career I wanna list: my ass-whupping of Iran Barkley, the night I knocked out Evander Holyfield, when I beat up Tim Littles, and the beatdown I gave Vassiliy Jirov. No one has done what I’ve done in boxing; those wins were from super-middleweight on up, all the way to cruiserweight.

And I whupped some ass at heavyweight, too! But if you want one choice, I’ve got to say the beating I gave that trash-talking Iran Barkley. I was super-motivated. He talked so much s*** going into that fight. That was his downfall. He started the talking but I finished it with the fight. The fool really thought he’d be able to beat me! He’d gotten lucky when he beat my man, Tommy Hearns (in 1988) and I had to make sure I got him back for Tommy, my idol. I owed him and payback is a son of a bitch and he [Barkley] got it bad that night.

I beat him up something terrible. Barkley was a strong, tough guy, but he talked tougher [than he was]. He called himself “The Blade” and he even brought a big machete to the press conference before the fight. They said that was just part of the show, the promotion, but I wasn’t playing around at all. And there was no way he could ever intimidate me if that was what he was trying to do. As soon as he put his name on that contract, I knew he was mine.