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He’s Ready to Throw His Weight Around

Times Staff Writer

It doesn’t seem to bother James Toney that he is considerably smaller than Hasim Rahman, his opponent in a heavyweight title fight Saturday night at Atlantic City, N.J..

Toney, who is 5 feet 9 1/2 , is confident he can beat the 6-2 1/2 Rahman.

“You want to know why I have the edge?” Toney said at a workout in Sherman Oaks last week. “I’m short, fat, bald and old.”

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Trivia time: Toney, who’s nearly seven months past his 37th birthday, has a chance to become the oldest first-time heavyweight champion. Who has that distinction now?

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Lots of meat: Of the size difference, Toney said, “I love to fight big heavyweights. It’s like going to a buffet.”

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Timing’s a bit off: David Thomas of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, noting that quarterback Daunte Culpepper wants the Minnesota Vikings to trade or release him, wrote:

“Let’s see, Culpepper is coming off major knee surgery, he had 12 interceptions compared to six touchdown passes before his injury last season, and he has a court date looming from the team’s sex-party boat scandal. That doesn’t sound like the best time to become demanding.”

Added Thomas: “I would say it sounds as if old Daunte missed the boat, but I think court records will show that’s not the case.”

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Ugly is as ugly does: Chris Lowery, coach of Southern Illinois’ NCAA tournament-bound Salukis, bristles when he hears talk that his team plays low-scoring, defensive, boring basketball.

“You’re only ugly in the eyes of the beholder,” the second-year coach told the Associated Press on Monday. “We guard. If you ask anybody who plays us, we keep you honest. And when you’re patient and make people be honest, I guess that’s ugly.”

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Too many directions: Looking for a cinch bet during the first round of the NCAA tournament? It might be Iowa over Northwestern State on Friday in the Atlanta Regional.

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Veteran bracket watchers claim you never pick a “directional” school to win a game. A directional school is one with two directions in its name.

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Another view: Mike Downey of the Chicago Tribune, on No. 3-seeded Iowa: “When a team has lost to Northern Iowa, 67-63; Iowa State, 72-60, and Northwestern, 51-48, it has plenty of other things to worry about. For starters, Northwestern State.”

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Looking back: On this day in 1976, Bill Shoemaker won aboard Royal Derby II at Santa Anita for his 7,000th victory.

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Trivia answer: Jersey Joe Walcott, who was 37 and 5 1/2 months old when he defeated Ezzard Charles in 1951.

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And finally: “I count Billy Packer among the smartest college basketball analysts around,” wrote Ron Rapoport of the Chicago Sun-Times, “but his belief that the number of teams a conference qualifies for the NCAA tournament should in some way be based on how that conference has done in previous tournaments can’t be right, can it?”

Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com.


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