IGNACIO, Colo. — Fans were unhappy with the decision, but 45-year-old legend James Toney was victorious in yet another boxing match Friday night.
Toney (75-8-3, 45 knockouts) defeated Denver's Kenny Lemos (12-8-2, eight knockouts) in a unanimous decision at the Sky Ute Casino Event Center.
The ring announcer originally announced Lemos the winner, delighting the fans at Sky Ute, but a correction was made and Toney was named the winner of a decision that red 77-75, 77-75 and 79-73 on the judge's scorecards.
"It was a good fight. I give myself a C-plus," Toney said after the match. "I should have finished it, but I am rusty and haven't fought enough. I will be back."
Lemos' brother began hurling insults at Toney and the Southern Ute Athletic Commission crew after the decision was reversed. Toney tried desperately to get out of the ring and confront the man, but was held back by trainers.
It may have been the most exciting aspect of the eight-round fight, but Lemos and Toney exchanged apologies after Lemos' brother was removed from the building.
Toney came out slow looking to feel out Lemos' style. Lemos looked to be in control in the fourth round, taking Toney's punches and answering with combinations of his own.
In the end, the judges gave the decision to Toney for his superior technique and power punches.
It was a much-needed win for Toney, who was coming off a loss on April 28 to Lucas Browne in Australia.
"Kenny was 100 times better fighter than (Browne). I will get sharper for the next fight, I promise you," Toney said.
Toney, 44, is a former 12-time world champion who has beat the likes of Evander Holyfield. He is looking at one last run at the biggest fights in the game.
"I want to fight anybody who wants to fight. Any body, any time, any where," Toney said.
Toney was pleased with his trip to Colorado after initial hesitation in taking the match.
"The fans here are lovely. I could train here and live here. It is quiet and nobody bothered me," Toney said. "Everyone was real friendly, unlike in Los Angeles."
Piedra Vista graduate Cris Leyva and Geraldo Quintana of Hobbs put on the fight of the night in the feature bout. The six-round contest went to the judge's scorecards. After some confusion with the score cards, the bout was determined to be a draw.
Leyva's record went 1-0-1 and Quintana moved to 3-0-1 with three knockouts.
In the final fight of the under card, Zamir Young of Cortez, Colo., went to work against Shiprock's Grant John, easily taking a unanimous decision victory and winning every round of the fight.
It was Young's first win as a professional, moving his record to 1-2-1. John dropped to 2-1.
Young took advantage when John stood in front of him with his hands down, allowing Young to rattle off multiple combinations to his head. Young knocked John down late in the fourth round, but John rose to his feet after a seven-count from the referee.
"(John) missed two weeks of camp and it showed," said John's trainer and manager Herman Buck Jr., of Punch's Boxing Club in Farmington.
Fruitland's Jazzma Hogue (3-5, one knockout) improved his professional record with a dominant performance against Denver's Raymond Nichol (3-2-1, two knockouts). Hogue kept a solid pace and controlled the ring throughout the fight, and his ability to get in close to Nichol frustrated the Denver fighter.
Buck, who is also Hogue's manager, knows Hogue has what it takes to shine despite his 3-5 record.
"People look at the record and look over us, but we have been in big fights with the toughest opponents," Buck said. "We have fought at the MGM on a Manny Pacquiao card and in California on the Top Rank card with Nonito Donaire. Jazzma told me he would give it two years and he wanted to fight the best guys to see if he belongs. I think he does."
It was a tough night for one Shiprock fighter as Steve Victor (1-3-1) fell in a close decision to Denver's Carlos Sanchez (6-4, one knockout). Two of the three judges had Victor winning two rounds, but Sanchez did enough to take the five-round fight in the eyes of the judges.
In the night's first fight, Fruitland's Shanatu Hogue (0-3) fell in a unanimous decision to Denver's Ronnie Reams (2-2) in a super featherweight fight.
Reams bloodied Hogue's nose in the first round and controlled the fight with stronger punches than Hogue as well as heavy body shots.
"He was pretty sloppy," Buck said of Hogue's performance.John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.