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20 years ago

James Toney vs Evander Holyfield

James Toney vs Evander Holyfield

Date: 4th October 2003

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Title: 12 Round Heavyweight Bout

Promoter: Dan Goossen

Tv: Showtime

James Toney
( 66 - 4 - 2 )
Weight: 217 lbs

Evander Holyfield
( 38 - 6 - 2 )
Weight: 219 lbs

On October 4, 2003, James Toney and Evander Holyfield faced off in a heavyweight clash at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight, televised on pay-per-view and later rebroadcast by Showtime, saw Toney, a former middleweight champion, dominate Holyfield, one of boxing's most celebrated warriors, before the bout was stopped in the ninth round.

Despite entering the fight as an 8-to-5 favourite, the 40-year-old Holyfield appeared to age rapidly as the rounds progressed. Toney, who weighed in at 217 pounds, showcased his superior hand speed and combination punching, consistently beating Holyfield to the punch and landing powerful shots to both the head and body.

The telling blow came in the sixth round when a left hook to the body caused Holyfield to double over in pain. Toney continued to apply pressure, and in the ninth round, another left hook to the body sent Holyfield stumbling across the ring. A follow-up hook dropped Holyfield to the canvas, and although he managed to beat the count, his trainer, Don Turner, had seen enough. Turner sent an inspector into the ring with a towel at 1:42 of the ninth round, signalling the end of the fight.

CompuBox statistics revealed the one-sided nature of the bout, with Toney landing 217 of 418 punches (52%) compared to Holyfield's 135 of 354 (38%). The judges' scorecards at the stoppage were also heavily in Toney's favour, with scores of 77-75, 78-74, and 78-74.

After the fight, Holyfield, who suffered his seventh defeat in 47 bouts, refused to announce his retirement despite winning only two of his last eight contests. On the other hand, Toney re-established himself as a significant force in the heavyweight division. He attracted the attention of WBA heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr., who defeated Toney at 168 pounds in 1994.

The Toney-Holyfield fight poignantly reminded us of the sport's unforgiving nature. A skilled and determined opponent systematically broke down a once-great champion.

James Toney vs Evander Holyfield on YouTube

James Toney vs Evander Holyfield

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