Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Toney Gives Barber a Buzz Job

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Toney Gives Barber a Buzz Job

Article excerpt

James Toney said he never had laid eyes on Charles Oliver before last weekend.

Now the two-time former world champ knows a little about what Oliver and - and St. Louis boxers in general - are all about.

Toney, stalking a rematch with Roy Jones, belted Oliver, a full-time barber from Berkeley, for 10 rounds Tuesday night at Station Casino St. Charles.

In the end, despite a 10th-round knockdown that looked like a slip, Oliver was still standing, still mugging, still flailing away.

The crowd of 2,500, which filled a makeshift outdoor ring near the casino, rewarded Oliver throughout the fight and at the final bell with thunderous ovations.

Toney, who packed 183 pounds onto his 5-foot-9 frame, won a unanimous decision to improve to 52-2-2.

The 6-2 Oliver fell to 16-6-1. He weighed only 176, but his tummy was flabby and his wind deserted him early.

That's the word about St. Louis boxers. When they train at home, they are rarely in shape. But Oliver proved another truism: There's nothing wron g with their hearts.

What Toney's handlers faulted was the braintrust in Oliver's corner. "He has a brave corner," Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Toney's trainer, said sarcastically.

Muhammad, who lost his light-heavyweight title to former St. Louisan Michael Spinks, said the Oliver camp should have thrown in the towel.

"No question," Muhammad said. "He was thoroughly beat up."

Stan Hoffman, Toney's manager, was livid.

"It was unconscionable that they didn't stop him," Hoffman said, his voice rising in Toney's trailer. "All they did was encourage him and encourage him.

"He was done after the fifth round. It was almost a tragedy, and then we'd get blamed if he gets brain damage."

Oliver, bleeding from the mouth in the second round, wobbled through several rounds. At the end, he was knocked down once on what could have been ruled a slip by referee Marv Elam of St. …

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