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TEMECULA, Calif. -- It all started with a little kiss by Rydell Booker and ended with a ferocious 12-round beating by James Toney for the IBA heavyweight title.
Before a sold-out crowd at the Pechanga Resort and Casino last night, Booker paid the price for his mocking act with a possible broken nose and a frightful beating despite Toney suffering an injury to his left arm.
"I hurt my arm in the first round throwing a jab-hook," said Toney (68-4-2, 43 KOs), holding the arm gingerly after the fight. "I was too excited. I wanted to KO him."
Despite an 11-month layoff due to an Achilles tendon injury that occurred early in the year, Toney sought a competitive opponent and found one in Detroit's Booker (22-1, 12 KOs). But the layoff led to a layer of rust.
"I give myself a C-minus," said Toney, 37, currently ranked No. 1 by the WBC. "I came out of shape."