James Toney did almost as he promised, outpointing but not knocking out John Ruiz to win the WBA heavyweight title Saturday night.
Toney, a former champion at three other weights, scored a unanimous decision that wasn't particularly close. It was just the third heavyweight bout for the 36-year-old Toney, who has been fighting since 1992. He became the fourth-oldest heavyweight champ and only the third one-time middleweight champion to take boxing's top crown.
One of the other middleweight-turned-heavyweight winners was Roy Jones, who also beat Ruiz. Jones was at ringside broadcasting the fight, in which Toney looked fearsome -- and flabby.
While the extra weight didn't look good on Toney, he never lost the swagger he carried into the Madison Square Garden ring. And as the fight swung his way, he grimaced in mock pain at Ruiz and even did a little shuffle after the eighth round.
At 233 pounds, he was outweighed by eight pounds, and the weight looked better on Ruiz. Not that it mattered as Toney wore down the natural heavyweight to win by 116-111 on two cards, 115-112 on the other.
"I didn't expect much from John, because he is an average fighter. John Ruiz is stupid, he can't change his style, he only knows how to fight one way," Toney said.
Ruiz, 33, landed only 28 percent of his power punches to 57 percent for Toney, and it naturally made a difference. Yet it was not a hard punch that sent Ruiz to the canvas early in the seventh round, but a right-left combination. Ruiz claimed he slipped, but replays showed Toney connected just before Ruiz went down.
"He's a tough guy to fight, he moves around a lot," Ruiz said. "I connected a lot, I finished stronger and I won the fight."
Well, no, John, Toney got the nod for finishing better. And now he has his sights on the other heavyweight champions: Vitaly Klitschko, Chris Byrd and Lamon Brewster.
"I want to flight Klitschko next. . . . I am ready to fight anybody," Toney said.
Toney won the IBF middleweight title on May 10, 1991, over Michael Nunn. Toney defended it six times, then moved up a class to super middleweight and won the IBF crown over Iran Barkley on Feb. 13, 1993. Toney defended four times, then lost to Jones on a decision on Nov. 18, 1994.
Nearly nine years later, he won the IBF cruiserweight title over Vassiliy Jirov. And now he has a share of the heavyweight crown.
On the undercard, Vicente Mosquera won the WBA super featherweight title with a flurry of rights that handed Yodsanan Nanthachai his first loss in nearly 11 years.
Mosquera scored a unanimous 12-round decision over Nanthachai of Thailand, knocking down the champion three times. Nanthachai showed little defense against the sharp right hands from the Panamanian.
In his first title fight, Mosquera won his 10th straight bout, improving to 21-1-1. Nanthachai, who held the crown for more than three years, fell to 44-3-1.
THOMPSON, HOLMES WIN
SYRACUSE -- Buffalo fighters Lionell Thompson and Excell Holmes both advanced to the national Golden Gloves tournament, May 15-21 at Little Rock, Ark., thanks to winning championships in the state tournament.
Thompson (22-3), a senior at Burgard, scored a second-round technical knockout over Rochester's Bryant Stone and a 5-0 decision over Frank Lagna of Syracuse. Holmes defeated James Jackson, 5-0, and Terry Carter of Niagara Falls, 3-2.