Will It Be A Good Time Or A Bad Time For "Big Time"?
27.12.03 - By Jim Amato: On February 7th of our coming New Year a fight that will have a major impact on the ever changing heavyweight scene will take place. The streaking and rejuvinated James Toney will give up considerable size and weight to a fading Jameel "Big Time" McCline. In plain reality this is a definite crossroads encounter for both. The winner puts himself right back in the thick of division. The loser will face trial horse status or even a possible retirement.
On paper every advantage goes to the physically intimidating McCline. He is huge even by todays super heavyweight status. I was not suprised when former middleweight and super middleweight king James Toney upset tough but limited Vassily Jirov for the cruiserweight crown. I was very surprised when he upset Evander Holyfield. I was even more shocked by how easily he handled Vander. Can he work the same magic against the stronger but less polished McCline ?
Jameel McCline seems like a nice man, maybe too nice. He cannot fight the way he did against Wladimir Klitschko. An old pro like Toney would have a good chance of stealing early rounds toward a decision victory. No, McCline must set and dictate the flow of the fight from the opening bell. He should not let Toney fight off the ropes or fight in spurts. When Toney wants to rest, pressure him. Work his body as often as possible. When Jameel's in the center of the ring he should attempt to set the tempo with his longer jab.
Toney is a crafty, cagey veteran who if given the chance will steal rounds and put them in the bank. If Toney wins, there has been rumors of possible match for James against Tyson or the long awaited rematch with Roy Jones Jr. We'll see.
In the meantime with Lennox Lewis in limbo, someone has to step up to fill the bill as the world's premier boxer. Will it be Vladimir Klitschko? Roy Jones Jr.? The revitalized John Ruiz? Will it be James Toney or willit be Jameel McCline?
February 7th will answer a lot of weighty questions !