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Toney Will Be a Heavier Hitter

October 04, 2003|Steve Springer | Times Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS — Freddie Roach was fighting for 205, James Toney for 212.

It was a fight Roach lost.

And then some.

When Toney stepped on the scales at Thursday's weigh-in for tonight's heavyweight nontitle bout against Evander Holyfield at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, the perception of the fight changed. Toney weighed 217, 27 pounds more than he weighed the last time he stepped in the ring. That was in April, when he beat Vassiliy Jirov to win the International Boxing Federation cruiserweight title.

"I'm not thrilled," said Roach, Toney's trainer, "but it is what it is."

This is not the old, irresponsible Toney, who would eat and party himself out of fights, putting on fat and avoiding the gym. This is the new, disciplined Toney, who wouldn't stay out of the gym, hitting the weights to bulk up against the former four-time heavyweight champion.

"He wanted weight," said Roach. "I wanted speed."

Roach felt 205 pounds would be adequate against Holyfield, who weighed in at 219. Toney had promised Roach he wouldn't go over 212.

The added weight has added uncertainty to Toney's chances. Holyfield (38-6-2, 25 knockouts) is a 7-5 favorite over Toney (66-4-2, 42) in the 12-round main event.

It could be a huge night for the winner.

By beating a name opponent in his return to the heavyweight ranks, Toney might retire Holyfield and earn a rematch against Roy Jones, who beat him nine years ago, or a shot at anybody from Mike Tyson to Chris Byrd. By beating Toney, Holyfield, who will be 41 in 15 days, could keep alive his dream of unifying the heavyweight title.

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The best fight of the night could occur before Holyfield and Toney make it into the ring.

In a battle of former champions, Diego Corrales (37-1, 31) goes up against Joel Casamayor (29-1, 18), a transplanted Cuban living in Florida, in a 12-round elimination match for the IBF junior-lightweight title.

Both men have lost only to world-class fighters. Corrales has won four in a row since being beaten on a 10th-round TKO by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a World Boxing Council super-featherweight title fight in January 2001. Corrales didn't fight in 2002, when he was serving a person term for felony spousal abuse. Casamayor has won three straight since losing a decision to Acelino Freitas in a World Boxing Assn. super-featherweight title match in January 2002.

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The Facts

The scheduled fights tonight at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The undercard begins at 5 p.m.

TV: Pay-per-view.

* Evander Holyfield, Atlanta, vs. James Toney, Sherman Oaks, 12 rounds, heavyweights

* Diego Corrales, Miami, vs. Joel Casamayor, Sacramento, 12 rounds, junior lightweights

* Cruz Carbajal, Mexico, vs. Gerardo Espinoza, Mexico, 12 rounds, for Carbajal's WBO bantamweight title.

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