James Toney vs. Evander Holyfield

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James Toney 217 lbs beat Evander Holyfield 219 lbs by TKO at 1:42 in round 9 of 12


  • Holyfield was an 8 to 5 favorite.
  • The fight was televised on pay-per-view and rebroadcast by Showtime.
  • Toney landed 217 of 418 punches (52%) and Holyfield landed 135 of 354 (38%).

Ungracefully, Holyfield Takes Beating From Toney
By Michael Katz, the New York Times, October 5, 2003

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 4— It was painful to watch one of boxing's great warriors, Evander Holyfield, grow older by the round Saturday night while getting beaten up by James Toney, a former middleweight champion.

Holyfield's trainer, Don Turner, sent an inspector into the ring with a towel at 1 minute 42 seconds of the ninth round at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. He knew there would be no fantastic finish, the way there had been when Holyfield was a cruiserweight fighting Dwight Muhammad Qawi, or in another memorable duel with Riddick Bowe, or in two startling stoppages of Mike Tyson.

This was just a hero being brutally outclassed and outpunched.

"I'm sorry I had to do that to him," Toney said. "He's a great fighter, and I have a lot of respect for him."

Holyfield would not say it was his last fight after suffering his seventh defeat against 38 victories and 2 draws. In his last eight bouts, Holyfield is 2-4-2.

"The easiest thing to do, when you don't have a good night, is to say, 'I quit, this is it,'" said Holyfield, who turns 41 in 15 days. "Right now, I have to make a decision. I'm not used to having nights like this. If I had my way, I would've liked to keep going. Toney did beat me up."

Holyfield said his left arm, on which he had shoulder surgery after his last fight, a loss to Chris Byrd in December, was fine. His legs were fine. "It was just a bad performance," Holyfield said.

It was a sad performance. Holyfield won two of the first three rounds on two cards, the first three on the other, and Toney was awarded the last five completed rounds by all three Las Vegas judges.

Toney, a pudgy 217 pounds after winning his first world title at 157 a dozen years ago, dominated Holyfield. He beat Holyfield to the punch with quicker hands, peppered him with combinations, took the occasional counterpunch without flinching and battered Holyfield, a four-time heavyweight champion, to the body.

Body punches finally put Holyfield down in the ninth round. A left hook to the side, a punch which made Holyfield double up in pain in the sixth round, hurt him in the ninth. Holyfield, a 1984 Olympian, stumbled away and Toney hit him with a lighter hook to the side. Holyfield collapsed. He beat the count of the referee, Jay Nady, but by this time Turner was following the inspector and towel into the ring.

"Don Turner said he did what he had to do," said Holyfield, who wanted to go on, of course. "He did what he felt was right."

Toney, who also was a supermiddleweight champion (168 pounds) and earlier this year took the International Boxing Federation cruiserweight (190 pounds) title, re-established himself as one of the best fighters at any weight and certainly a new major player in the heavyweight division.

Roy Jones Jr., who holds the World Boxing Association heavyweight title and whose 1994 victory over Toney at 168 pounds sent Toney into a long funk, immediately jumped in the ring and was seen talking with Dan Goossen, Toney's promoter.

Toney (67-4-2, 43 knockouts), the 35-year-old former linebacker for Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., did not run from his 219-pound foe. Most of the time, he advanced behind his jab and he was able to land combinations to the head easily. Holyfield may have won the first round, but he was breathing heavily on his stool afterward, and he slowly and surely was being broken down.

His eyes were beginning to puff and he was bleeding from the mouth at the end.

In a bloody and brutal bout on the undercard, Joel Casamayor stopped another former junior lightweight champion, Diego Corrales, after six rounds.

Dr. Margaret Goodman, the ringside physician, ruled Corrales was bleeding so badly from two severe lacerations in the mouth she could not even examine him to see if he had a fractured jaw.

Corrales, a former I.B.F. titleholder at 130 pounds, and Casamayor, a former Olympic gold medalist for Cuba, were trying to become the I.B.F.'s No. 1 contender. [1]