Boxers Rahman-Toney Just Trade Insults
Boxers Rahman-Toney Just Trade Insults
By MELISSA MURPHY, AP Sports Writer Tue Jan 10, 8:02 PM ET
NEW YORK - Hasim Rahman and James Toney just traded insults this time.
Less than a month after scuffling on Toney's wedding day, the two showed up for a mostly calm news conference at a ritzy restaurant in Central Park on Tuesday to promote their bout for the WBC heavyweight championship.
The fight is scheduled for March 18 in Atlantic City, N.J., and will be shown live on HBO.
Rahman and Toney had to be separated after running into each other on Dec. 20 at a resort in Cancun, Mexico, where the WBC was holding an awards ceremony.
"He tried to slap me, but he missed and scratched me like a little woman," Toney said. "He's going to get his payback. It will go four to five rounds. I'm not going to play with him."
The fight will be Rahman's first title defense since being handed the WBC belt when former champion Vitali Klitschko retired in November with a knee injury.
Bob Arum, who is promoting Rahman with Top Rank, said his fighter will get approximately $2.5 million to $3 million, while Toney will earn $2 million.
"There's only one man in the heavyweight division that can bring the best out of me, and that's James Toney," Rahman said. "He's probably the slickest heavyweight out there. I will have a number of title defenses, it's just starting with James."
The only fireworks came when "Lights Out" Toney interrupted "The Rock."
"The worst thing you can do is stand in front of me," Rahman said, referring to the upcoming fight.
"I'm going to be in there all day," Toney said.
"You better run like pantyhose," Rahman said. "This is how stuff gets out of hand. Didn't I respect you when you talked?"
Six security guards in suits stood behind the fighters on the dais, but didn't budge. The chandeliers didn't even sway in the tony room while 12 cameras lined up in back captured the verbal jabs.
"We want to save the fight for the ring," said Toney's promoter, Dan Goossen.
The stout Toney said he recently weighed 240 pounds, but will be slimmer for the fight.
"I had to drop some weight in Cancun. I looked at myself in the mirror — 'Dang, who's having a baby?'" Toney said to laughs. "Even while I was big, I was still beautiful and still sexy. Somebody called me a Buddha last fight, but this Buddha will kick your (butt).
"Weight doesn't mean nothing — it's skills. You chip at the Rock long enough, the Rock falls apart."
In his last fight, Rahman (41-5-1 with 33 knockouts) won a unanimous decision over Monte Barrett on Aug. 13 in Chicago to become the WBC interim champion. He was supposed to fight Klitschko three months later, but the Ukrainian tore a knee ligament while training and retired a few days later.
Toney (69-4-2 with 43 knockouts) beat Dominick Guinn in a lopsided, 12-round decision on Oct. 1. He won the WBA title in a unanimous decision over John Ruiz in April. A former champion at three other weights, Toney became only the third one-time middleweight champion to win boxing's heavyweight crown.
His reign was short-lived. He was stripped of the title, fined $10,000 and suspended three months by New York boxing authorities after his post-fight test came back positive for steroids. Toney, who can't fight for the WBA title until 2007, attributed the positive nandrolone test to medication he was taking for injuries.
"I'm blessed to be in this spot," Toney said. "I still have the IBA championship, which you guys don't give me credit for. I just kept on chugging ahead."
The 37-year-old Toney, who played Joe Frazier in the movie "Ali," knocked out an aging Evander Holyfield in October 2003, then tore his Achilles' tendon three months later. He defeated Rydell Booker in September 2004.
The WBC recently selected Toney and Oleg Maskaev as official challengers to the 33-year-old Rahman, who briefly held the title after his one-punch knockout of Lennox Lewis in 1991. Lewis returned the favor in the rematch. Rahman later lost fights to Ruiz and Holyfield.
Toney, in a gray suit, handled a cigar while famed artist LeRoy Neiman sketched him. Toney's only complaint was that the fight is free on HBO.
"This should be on pay-per-view, not regular HBO," Toney said.
But promoters said they're trying to draw a larger television audience. Ringside seats will go for $500, while the cheapest ticket is $50.
Toney wins by decision. Hopefully an inspired, in-shape Rahman shows up. If not, he's in for a long night.
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