James Toney is a three-weight world champion whose professional campaign lasted just shy of three decades, but it appears, for one reason or another, he’s not done with boxing just yet.
92 fights, 77 wins, 47 knockouts, ten losses but none coming via stoppage – ‘Lights Out’ Toney is held in high regard amongst boxing fans as a quick, tough and watchable fighter with an impressive defence and some thudding power when he needed it.
He earned a spot in the Hall of Fame for his efforts, hanging up the gloves in 2017 – twelve years on from a failed doping test reversing his win for a heavyweight title – with a sixth round stoppage of Mike Sheppard.
Despite concerns for his health even before he had retired, Toney, 55, has been announced as one half of an upcoming exhibition fight in Kingston, Jamaica.
Triller Fight Club – famous for putting on Evander Holyfield’s 2021 bout in which he was knocked out immediately by MMA fighter Vitor Belfort – will broadcast the event that features Donovan ‘Razor’ Ruddock, 59, in the other corner, best known for twice fighting Mike Tyson in 1991.
Donovan stoped boxing in 2001 but returned 14 years later. He was knocked out by Dillon Carman in his third fight back, and his final one as a professional.
The event, set for November 11, will be broadcast on FITE TV and will feature a musical performance by Beenie Man.
— Triller Fight Club (@trillerfight) October 11, 2023
In response to the announcement, fans and pundits all asked the same question – why?
Not only do many believe it will not be worth it financially, all say that it’s an unnecessary danger to the health of the two fighters, who have a combined age of 114 and gave a lot to the sport as active, younger men.
It’s an appropriate and common response to fighters continuing into their later years after sustaining damage, exhibition or otherwise.