James Toney Slams John Ruiz, NBC’s "The Contender" and Laila Ali on NY Radio Station

By Kirk Lang


James Toney Slams John Ruiz, NBC’s "The Contender" and Laila Ali on NY Radio Station

The morning show crew on New York radio station Hot 97 does not know much about boxing, but at least James "Lights Out" Toney gave them a colorful interview Thursday morning.

Miss Jones, the star of Miss Jones in the Morning, a day before the interview with Toney, was referring to the former middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight champion as James "Put the Lights Out" Toney, and during Thursday’s interview, she referred to Toney as the reigning WBA heavyweight champion, despite the fact that the station has been giving away tickets for the John Ruiz-James Toney title fight, and should have been informed Toney is heading into the bout as the challenger, not the champion.

Toney showed up for Thursday’s interview prior to the official weigh-in for the fight and not only trashed Ruiz, but also called NBC’s boxing show, The Contender, Oscar de la Hoya’s now off-the-air show, The Next Great Champ, and Laila Ali "garbage."

Toney told Ruiz, who is scheduled to appear on the show Friday morning: "If you hear this, I’m knocking your a*s out Saturday night. Your days are numbered."

He also criticized WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko for pulling out of his scheduled fight with Hasim Rahman due to an injury suffered during training. The Toney-Ruiz bout, which will be broadcast on HBO, fills in for the scrapped Klitschko-Rahman battle.

Toney doesn’t consider Klitschko a real champion. "He’s holding a belt," Toney told the morning crew, adding that "America wants a white heavyweight champion."

Toney said he usually trains for a fight for 11 weeks, but only trained for five weeks this time "because it was on short notice."

After the radio show, Toney weighed in for the fight at a career-high 233 pounds. Ruiz tipped the scales at 241.

When Toney was asked why Ruiz thinks he’s a chump, Toney responded, "He thinks I’m a small guy." Toney promised he would show Ruiz on Saturday that he’s a legitimate heavyweight when he knocks him out and takes his championship.

Prompted by questions from the morning show crew, Toney said former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield should probably retire, Mike Tyson can’t because "he’s everybody’s cash cow" and when asked about undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, Toney said: "He’s doing good. We’re friends. I was happy when he knocked out [Oscar] de la Hoya. I made a lot of money that night."

Asked about his loss to Roy Jones, Jr. in 1994, Toney blamed that defeat, and others, on lack of motivation and said Jones only won a decision because he "ran for 12 rounds."

"I didn’t get prepared for that fight," said Toney, adding, "Now where are we at? We’re in 2005."

Toney then said, to put it nicely, that Jones suffered two knockout defeats last year.

Asked about a confrontation at a recent press conference between Toney and Ruiz trainer/manager Norman "Stoney" Stone, Toney said Stone, as well as Don King, are just trying to hype their fighter up.

"Anything [they’re] doing is hyping him up for an a*s whupping," said Toney.

When asked by morning show host Miss Jones if he’s a millionaire, Toney said, "Very much so."

"I’ve got houses in L.A., Vegas and Michigan and they’re all paid for," he added.

As for why he feels NBC’s The Contender is "garbage," Toney said, "you don’t have your family in training camp with you" and they’re "not showing the infighting between the boxers."


Send questions and comments to: kirklang@yahoo.com