James Toney is a retired American professional boxer who was born on August 24, 1968, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is considered to be one of the greatest boxers of his era and has won world championships in multiple weight classes. Toney is known for his exceptional defense, counterpunching ability, and his fluid, unpredictable style in the ring.
Toney began his professional boxing career in 1988 as a middleweight, winning his first 14 fights. In 1991, he moved up to the super-middleweight division and won the IBF world title by defeating Iran Barkley. He successfully defended his title four times before losing to Roy Jones Jr. in a unanimous decision in 1994.
In 1997, Toney moved up to the cruiserweight division and won the IBF and IBO world titles. He successfully defended these titles three times before moving up to the heavyweight division in 2003.
Toney's move to heavyweight was highly anticipated, and he quickly made a name for himself in the division. In his first fight as a heavyweight, he knocked out former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield in the ninth round. He followed that up with wins over Fres Oquendo and Rydell Booker before getting a shot at the WBA heavyweight title against John Ruiz in 2005.
In his fight against Ruiz, Toney put on a masterclass performance, showcasing his incredible defensive skills and counterpunching ability. He won the fight by unanimous decision, becoming a world champion in the heavyweight division.
Toney's time as a heavyweight champion was short-lived, however. In his first title defense, he lost to Samuel Peter by unanimous decision in 2006. He would go on to have a few more fights in the heavyweight division, but was never able to regain a world title.
Toney's professional boxing career spanned over three decades, and he retired with a record of 77 wins, 10 losses, and 3 draws. He won world titles in three different weight classes and is considered to be one of the greatest boxers of his era. Despite his many accomplishments in the sport, Toney has had his fair share of controversies, including failed drug tests and a suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Nevertheless, his legacy as one of the most skilled and elusive fighters in the history of the sport remains intact.