By Jake Donovan
Faded former three-division champion James “Lights Out” Toney picked up his first win in more than a year with a 5th round stoppage over Bobby Gunn in their heavyweight bout Saturday evening at the Landers Center in Southhaven, Mississippi.
Toney managed to gain nearly 50 lb. in the five months since his lopsided points loss to current cruiserweight titlist Denis Lebedev last November. The extra poundage hardly mattered against Gunn, who came in at a career-heaviest 210 lb as he was coming up in weight.
The fight ended at the end of the fifth, when Gunn’s corner waved off the fight after informing the ringside physician that the journeyman suffered a broken hand.
It’s a long way from grace for Toney, who was once regarded as pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world. Those days are long gone, though he’s still managed to forge out a Hall-of-Fame level career. The win advances his mark to 74-7-3 (45KO), scoring his first stoppage in nearly three years.
Gunn loses his second straight, falling to 21-5-1 (18KO). The bout marked his first sanctioned boxing match in nearly three years.
During his absence from the sport, Gunn returned to the world of bareknuckle boxing, where he claimed its heavyweight title, or so suggested a flood of press releases from his army of spammers. A foray into the underground world is also responsible for the huge gap in time on the earlier portion of his resume.
Toney has won world titles at middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight, but weight and steroid issues have plagued what should otherwise be a slam-dunk Hall of Fame-eligible run in nearly 25 years in service.
At 43 years old and having long ago appeared to be a shell of his former self, it’s doubtful that the once slick boxer-puncher does anything more to add to his credential. Still, it stands to reason that boxing is stuck with James Toney for a little while longer – although the fact that Saturday’s bout was not televised suggests that maybe the TV-viewing public has seen the last of him.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com