Denis Lebedev, THE RING’s No. 5-rated cruiserweight, added the name of another faded future hall of famer to his resume when he brutally dominated former three-dvision titleholder James Toney to a shutout decision in Moscow on Friday.
Lebedev (23-1, 17 knockouts) won by scores of 120-108 (twice) and 120-107. The 32-year-old Russian contender scored a 10th-round stoppage of Roy Jones Jr. in his previous fight in May. Lebedev’s only loss is a split decision to WBO beltholder Marco Huck, THE RING’s No. 1-rated cruiserweight, last December.
Toney (73-7-3, 44 KOs) was fighting at cruiserweight for the first time since 2003, when he won the IBF title from then-undefeated Vassiliy Jirov. The 43-year-old former middleweight and 168-pound titleholder moved to heavyweight to fight Evander Holyfield later that year. He beat Holyfield and earned THE RING’s Fighter of the Year award for ’03 (his second time winning the honor after nabbing it in 1991), but his form and health gradually deteriorated over the next seven years while campaigning at heavyweight.
Against Lebedev, Toney was literally a shell of his former self. The stubborn Michigan native should retire but most likely will not. Lebedev appears to be a very solid action boxer who now has a bit of name in the U.S. thanks to his victories against Toney and Jones.