Rummy's 50: James Toney vs. Vassily Jirov (Fight #49)
Updated: Apr 25, 2021
Fight #49: James Toney vs. Vassily Jirov on April 26, 2003 at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT.
I'd never heard of this fight before. Toney had a strange career in boxing, dominating at times and then disappearing for long periods of time. He jumped up and down in weight a lot, and was caught using steroids later in his career. He probably belongs in the HOF but hasn't gotten there yet because of the negative stuff in his career.
Anyway, this fight was at cruiserweight, for Jirov's title. Jirov applied relentless pressure throughout the fight, with Toney mostly fighting and counterpunching on the back foot. Toney was a lot more accurate, Jirov was a lot more active. Watching the fight, it was funny how both corners kept telling their guy that the other guy was about to go, that they just needed to apply a little bit more pressure and he'd be out of there. I scored the fight even through 11 rounds, as Jirov was deducted a point for low blows. In the 11th round, Jirov had Toney seriously hurt but couldn't follow up. He just looked exhausted after throwing close to 1,000 punches. Then in the 12th, Toney got a last bit of energy and battered Jirov across the ring, finally knocking him down with 15 seconds left to go in the fight. Jirov got back to his feet, survived the round, but lost the title with a unanimous decision. With the 12th round knockdown, I also had Toney winning 114-112.
On to #48! Here's the video of Toney vs. Jirov: