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The best of James Toney

James Toney
Action Images/REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Sam Morris
James Toney, born on this day in 1968, discusses eight of his best performances

Michael Nunn (W RSF 11)
Davenport, IA (May 10, 1991)
I was losing to Nunn because I lost the focus of what I went in there for – to win the [IBF 160lb] world title – and was trying to knock him out with one shot. [Trainer] Bill [Miller] said: ‘We didn’t come up here for this. Do what we did in the training camp.’ Once I got back into my game plan, I started to bring him down. I knew after the 10th that in one more round he’d be gone.

Mike McCallum I (D PTS 12)
Atlantic City, NJ (Dec 13, 1991)

I won that fight. They just saved him for another one with the draw. He knows who won. Mike was the best fighter I ever fought. Before I fought him, I was not as cute as I was after we fought. Everything he did made me think and work.

Iran Barkley (W RTD 9)
Las Vegas, NV (Feb 13, 1993)

Iran did a lot of talking, trying to intimidate me, but you can’t intimidate the intimidator or bully the bully. I’m not a bully in the sense of trying to bully average people. I’m a bully for a living and I love it. I sent him home crying.

Tim Littles (W RSF 4)
Los Angeles, CA (Mar 5, 1994)

I didn’t know it was blood [from a cut to the left eye]. I just thought I was sweating too much, then saw it when I tried to wipe it off. I always said that if I see red then it means you’re dead, so I took him out. I’m a shark and you know what a shark does when he sees blood. Littles was the number one contender, he was also from Michigan, so I had to show him who was the best.

Evander Holyfield (W RSF 9)
Las Vegas, NV (Oct 4, 2003)
Holyfield was the best heavyweight out of him, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. Mike was great, but you can’t become a great fighter if you quit, and Mike quit. Mike was the man when he was in shape and ready to go, then time came on and you saw his heart leave him. When the heart leaves you, you quit. Holyfield was very strong mentally and physically, but I broke him. Boxing him was a great experience – I had fun beating him up. As I said after the fight: ‘I told you so.’

Charles Williams (W KO 12)
Las Vegas, NV (Jul 29, 1994)
WILLIAMS was a tough guy. I was getting headbutted a lot in that fight. My eye was swollen from him rubbing that Jheri curl juice in my face. Bill told me to stick to the game plan. I thought: ‘Nope, I’m going to get him.’ I saw the opening for that right hand and bang! – that was his ass.

Vassily Jirov (W PTS 12)
Mashantucket, CT (Apr 26, 2003)

They called him ‘The Tiger’, and people thought he was going to steamroll me. Everyone was scared of him, but I ain’t scared of nobody. I wouldn’t run from nobody – I’ve never done that in my whole life. I wanted to go mano-a-mano with him. When I fight you, I don’t like you even if you said something good about me the day before. We don’t have that today. Everyone is cool, they all hang out and go to concerts together. I didn’t want none of that.

Samuel Peter (L PTS 12 – x2)
Los Angeles, CA (Sep 2, 2006) & Hollywood, FL (Jan 6, 2007)

I fought a lot of guys who looked strong, like Holyfield and Peter, then once that bell rings they can’t touch me. I said: ‘I’m going to knock this motherf**ker out!’ I didn’t like him then and now. In the ring, he was used to people running from him – I went straight to him. The only time he hurt me was when he caught me to the back of the head, and I wasn’t about to let him know I was hurt. I was calm and collected, slipped and slid, and put it on him. I won those fights.

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