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James Toney
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    (August 24, 1968- )
    Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Professional Record (through 2015): 76 wins (46 by KO), 10 losses, 3 draws, 2 no contests
    Held the IBF titles at Middleweight (1991-93), Super Middleweight (1993-94) and Cruiserweight (April-September, 2003)
    Portrayed Joe Frazier in the movie ‘Ali’ (2001)
    Nicknamed ‘Lights Out’
    He was a crack dealer in his teens.
    He was offered football scholarships from Michigan and Western Michigan, but turned them doewn because ‘I wasn’t a team player and wasn’t good at taking orders.’
    His win by a split decision over Dave Tiberi to retain his IBF Middleweight title (February 8, 1992) was so controversial that it prompted Senator William Roth to call for a federal investigation into possible corruption in boxing.
    He defeated John Ruiz for the WBA Heavyweight title (April 30, 2005), but was immediately stripped of the title when he tested positive for steroids after the bout.
    He decided to join the UFC, lost his first fight to Randy Couture (August 28, 2010), then quit.
    He kept boxing well past his prime, with the low point (so far) being a loss by unanimous decision against Charles Ellis, a 40-year-old club boxer with nine career victories (August 8, 2015).
    He stopped dealing drugs after his mother warned him, ‘You got three choices: prison, rehab or a tombstone. You decide.’
    He said, ‘I’ve got only one idol: Mom. She taught me that if you want something you have to work hard.’
    His emphasis on defense on counterpunching gave him a reputation as a throwback to boxing’s golden age of the 1940s and 50s.
    He was a 20-1 underdog when he defeated Michael Nunn by TKO to win the IBF Middleweight title.
    He was twice named Fighter of the Year by both Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America (1991,2003)

Credit: C. Fishel

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