James Toney was once one of my favourite fighters. His slick shoulder roles and crazy skills, allowed for his super middleweight body to be successful all the way up through to the heavyweight ranks. He was once a brash talking comedian during pre and post fight interviews. At the moment, he can barely talk. I write that with total and utter sadness. So what happened in the past week which makes things even worse?
James Toney completed an interview with Elle Sekbach. Toney has interviewed poorly over the past few years but this was easily the worst interview he has ever completed. Toney told Sekbach that he is cousins with another famous basketballer which made no sense what so ever and his speech was so bad it was hard to watch. It made me feel sick. The last interview I watched from Toney was in 2012 and comparing this interview to then, it's clear Toney has gotten a lot worse in the past 3 years. Now I’m not ripping on Toney, he gave fans and the sport everything he could and it's cost him his health. Instead of looking after him and saying enough is enough, the sport is allowing Toney to receive beatings which are (have) destroyed his mental health.
It gets worse. After Toney completed that scary interview, he fought a few days later in Saint Louis. Toney fought a 40 year old by the name of Charles Ellis, who was coming off two losses himself. Toney’s punches seemed so slow and he had no reactions at all. His performance was that bad, several connections I have spoken to said it actually made Ellis look a lot better than he is. Toney threw 10 punches per round in slow motion and he was a punching bag for 10 rounds, losing a wide decision.
Some betting agencies were giving Ellis the odds of 8-1. For my Australian readers this means $8 back for every $1 which was bet. A few boxing fans caught on, according to a few comments left on boxrec forum. Ellis was always going to win, pretty much any top 500 heavyweight boxer beats Toney at the moment.
Now the point of this article is to say a few things, Toney is sick. His brain damage is there for all to see. And most importantly he shouldn’t be sanctioned to fight. Shame on the Misouri division of professional registration (name for boxing commission in misouri) for allowing this bout to go ahead and for sanctioning Toney to fight. Boxing needs to step in and protect this guy. He obviously needs the money, that's why he’s still fighting. But every punch he takes is doing more and more damage and unfortunately it seems he may be past the point of no return.