Magic Man Shows Boxing Skills; Toney’s Decline Continues

By Tom Donelson
Updated: June 17, 2007

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Last month, Cory Spinks showed ineffectual boxing at its worse. While he rarely got hit with anything solid when he fought Jermaine Taylor, he did very little in return.

Yes, he threw more punches but incredibility, he landed less punches than Taylor and his connect rate was 15%. He ran and ran but rarely countered effectively to win many rounds.

Last Saturday, Paul Malignaggi showed what great boxing can look like. He moved but on occasion, he stood his ground to unleash four or five punch combination before moving out of harms’ way.

He nailed Lovemore N’dou with combinations repeatedly and connected on nearly half of his punches. Malignaggi showed defensive skills and never was in serious trouble.

Many times, he was like a ghost and N’dou often hit nothing but air. His jab was more than a range founder; it was an accurate hammer that often nailed its target.

On occasion, he nailed the South African with upper cuts, left hooks, and sharp short right hands that followed his jab.

In the eighth, Malihnaggi sent N’dou down with a quick right that stunned him. Malignaggi is now the IBF junior welterweight and is in line to fight the winner of the Hatton-Castillo bout for the right to be the true undisputed junior welterweight.

Malignaggi is still missing a knockout punch, and N’dou is lucky that the Magic man has very little pop in his punches or he would have seen stars earlier.

Malignaggi is one of those fighters who can put fans in the stands with his flamboyant style along with flashing personality.

His style doesn’t feature knockouts, but he does flurry with flair.Personality and skills are a good combination. The problem with the “Magic Man” is that he doesn’t have the power to scare the bigger punchers and Miguel Cotto has already exposed this weakness.

Meanwhile, James Toney’s career is slowly descending downward into boxing’s hell. His most recent victory over Danny Batchelder is an example of a great fighter declining skills.

Even two years ago, he would have mopped the ring with Mr. Batchelder but now he struggles to beat the fighters of Batchelder’s caliber and worse, he got caught for the second time in his career with steroids.

Interesting, his opponent also got caught with steroids, so Toney’s victory still stands but it does put Toney’s past fight with John Ruiz in a much, different light.

Toney is close to 40 and while his quick hands and defensive skills were his biggest advantage but those skills are now declining. His last lost to Peter showed that his best days were behind him but Toney, like other fighters, feels that there is one more fight.

Toney should simply put in a tape of his victory over Evander Holyfield, who suffered from the same Hubris as Toney. Holyfield thought that he could make one more comeback but Toney exposed Holyfield as an old fighter past his prime.

Toney’s fate will only match Holyfield in which some future contender will use him as name for his boxing resume and Toney will be merely joining Holyfield on the tour of second tier pugilistic brawlers.

Which now brings us to another issue; the issue of steroids in boxing. Steroids are involved in every major sports and boxing is no difference. Toney has been caught twice now and he is not the only fighter caught.

A few years back, another boxing writer told me that steroids were more prevalent and that many of the better fighters were using them. So far, boxing has been spared a major scandal but it could be only a matter of time and the last thing that boxing needs is a major scandal involving steroids.

Vigilance is needed to avoid trouble.