(“Prince” Charles Williams, left, goes lateral courtesy of James Toney; via)
By 1994, the world had already known a few different versions of James Toney: the young prospect under crack-dealing manager Johnny Ace; the thoughtful lamb who would buy newer manager Jackie Kallen sweaters and diamond rings; the ultra-competitive lusus who would arbitrarily kick spectators and patrons alike out of the gym if someone looked at him cross-eyed.
L.A. Times writer Chris Dufresne said a few months after the Charles Williams bout, “So far… rage has paid Toney nice dividends. There is time later for therapy to purge his demons, to psychoanalyze how a man’s father might come to shoot his mother six times while cradling a baby–James–in her arms.”
“Prince” Charles made good on his pre-fight promise to suffocate James Toney, 43-0-2 (28 KO), nimming the oxygen between the two and replacing it with uppercuts. Williams’ trainer Marty Feldman also handled Dave Tiberi, who overwhelmed Toney en route to a controversial decision loss a few years earlier, but Charles Williams was executing said plan with greater effect through round 4.
Williams, 36-5-2 (27 KO) and on a comeback after having lost his IBF light heavyweight belt to Henry Maske the year before, had not been stopped in a fight since 1983, and had only lost once in 10 years. And he fought that way, consuming Toney’s hammering counters and wresting some momentum when Toney’s left eye began looking like a blow up raft at the end of round 6. Williams benefited once more when a punch after the bell had Toney losing a point, despite landing some incredible punches at the end of round 8.
Both men were landing their shots — mostly power punches, and by a lot — nearing a 50 percent clip, but Toney’s output actually went up, while Williams began to appear weary from the pace and punishment. The door was officially opened for James Toney to chip away at his man over the last couple of rounds.
The finishing touch was almost something that Toney only could have learned in the Outlaw Gym, owned by actor Mickey Rourke and managed by Freddie Roach. But in reality, Toney probably mastered his craft under the wing of legendary Kronk Gym trainer Bill Miller. Whatever the source, the result was a gem: a jab, right hand combination that nearly had Williams doing a cartwheel before being counted out 15 seconds before the final bell.
Toney’s rage, this time, was perhaps called upon due to his extreme displeasure at how the fight card was promoted. In the televised co-feature, Oscar De La Hoya locked horns with Jorge Paez, and Toney felt that fight was featured too prominently by the casino on t-shirts, posters and fight programs. He said the week of the fight, “The [MGM Grand] disrespected me. And they put me up in a suite that’s half a suite… They owe me an apology. I’ll never fight here again.”
Never mind that Toney was gobbling up a payday of over $1 million, and that he’d go on to drop an embarrassing decision to Roy Jones, Jr. at that very same MGM Grand less than four months later.
“Prince” Charles Williams went on to fight thrice more, going 1-1-1 before retiring in 1996.