An Ann Arbor, Michigan legend, James ‘Lights Out’ Toney (77-10-3, 47KO) was one of the greatest defensive fighters of all time, who mastered the shoulder-roll, and put it to full use by becoming one of boxing’s most effective all-time counter-punchers and pairing it all together, making him virtually impossible to deal with in middle distance.
James was slick, flashy, damn good, and made sure you knew it, as he was one of boxing’s most outspoken characters without filter. He was also well known for being leagues ahead of most his opponents cerebrally, and using it to his advantage, setting traps and getting fighters to do what he wanted to do.
His Championship experience started with him knocking out one of the most naturally gifted fighters of the last 40 years in Michael Nunn, to become the LINEAL Middleweight World Champion. He eventually moved up and dominated warrior Iran Barkley to become the new Champion at Super-Middleweight, enduring a lengthy run against great competition before it ended at the hands of legend Roy Jones Jr.
After a period of inconsistent outings at Light-Heavyweight, he fully bounced back on the scene when he moved up in weight to beat undefeated Gold-Medalist Vassiliy Jirov in legendary fashion to become Cruiserweight Champion. James soon took his career up to Heavyweight, where he systematically took apart a fighter he greatly admired in Evander Holyfield en route to a TKO victory, becoming only the 2nd man to stop Evander. Staying at Heavyweight, he found quality success, giving many bigger fighters a boxing lesson. Here are a list of his accomplishments.
– 1X Lineal Champion (160)
– 3X World Champion
– 3-Division Champion (160, 168, 190)
– 14 Wins in World Title Fights (IBF, LINEAL)
– Defeated 10 Fighters Whom Were Champions
– Defeated 5 Undefeated Boxers
– Ring-Magazine 1991 Fighter of the Year
– Ring-Magazine 2003 Fighter of the Year
– Ring-Magazine 2003 Comeback Fighter of the Year
STANDOUT MOMENT – Arguably his explosion against Vassiliy Jirov in the 12th round. Other close candidates is his knockout of Michael Nunn to lift his Middleweight crown, or when he dominated Iran Barkley to take his Super-Middleweight title.
NOTABLE WINS – Michael Nunn, Mike McCallum, Vassiliy Jirov, Evander Holyfield, Iran Barkley, Prince Charles Williams, Doug DeWitt, Reggie Johnson, Tim Littles…..two highly disputed losses to Montell Griffin