When Roy Jones Jr. defeated James Toney for the super middleweight championship in 1994, they were two of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
Eighteen years later, they’ll be enshrined into the International Boxing Hall of Fame together. Jones and Toney, along with Miguel Cotto, highlight the Boxing Hall’s Class of 2022, revealed on Tuesday.
They’re joined by female champions Holly Holm and Regina Hamlisch, alongside publicist Bill Caplan, journalist Ron Borges and historian/producer Bob Yalen.
When they’re all inducted on June 12 in Canastota, New York, the group will be accompanied by the previous two classes. Because of the pandemic, fighters from those classes — such as Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitschko — have yet to be enshrined.
Jones, one of the biggest stars in boxing at his peak, fought on well past his best days, extending the wait for his inevitable hall call. Jones won titles at 160 pounds, 168 and 175 before capturing a heavyweight title in 2003.
Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) will be best remembered for his sublime speed and reflexes and uncanny ability to deliver punches from all angles. Even during his lengthy reign as the pound-for-pound king, Jones was excelling as an analyst for HBO Boxing. The Pensacola, Florida, native enters the Hall in his first year of eligibility, but Toney and Cotto had to wait for their second appearance on the ballot.
Toney (77-10-3, 47 KOs), like Jones, continued to fight on well into his 40s. Known as Lights Out, he is considered one of the greatest defensive boxers of all time, a boxer whose inside game is unparalleled. He won titles at middleweight and super middleweight before he outlasted Vassiliy Jirov to capture a cruiserweight title. That bout earned recognition as the BWAA’s 2003 Fight of the Year.
Toney went on to score a TKO victory over Evander Holyfield at heavyweight and later defeated John Ruiz for a heavyweight title. That title victory was overturned after tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone.
Jones was also connected to PEDs; the testosterone precursor androstenedione was found in his system following a 2000 victory over Richard Hall.
Toney, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, owns victories over two Hall of Famers: Mike McCallum and Holyfield. He was named the boxing writers’ Fighter of the Year in 1991 and 2003. Jones never won the award but defeated five Hall of Famers: McCallum, Bernard Hopkins, Virgil Hill, Felix Trinidad and now Toney.
Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) retired at age 37 following an upset loss to Sadam Ali. One of the most accomplished boxers from Puerto Rico, Cotto routinely fought before sellout crowds at Madison Square Garden, thrilling the masses with his ferocious body punching.
Cotto won titles at 147 pounds and 154 before he upset Sergio Martinez for the middleweight championship. Cotto competed with three Hall of Famers during his career: a win over Shane Mosley and losses to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Cotto was also defeated by future Hall of Famer Canelo Alvarez.
Cotto’s loss to Antonio Margarito in 2008 is a welterweight classic. He later avenged the defeat.