Hyping fights is part of the game. We all get that. But pure delusion is another matter altogether.
No offense, Lucas Browne.
Browne (15-0, 14 KOs), for those who don't know who he is -- and that's probably most of you -- he's a 34-year-old Australian heavyweight who turned pro in 2009. Nicknamed "Big Daddy," Browne, who is promoted by Ricky Hatton, has a perfect record but has never faced anyone of remote consequence.
On Sunday (Saturday in Australia), Browne will face James Toney (74-7-3, 45 KOs), in name only, in Melbourne, Australia. Toney, 44, is a completely shot, once-great former three-division champion who hasn't been a factor since 2007 when he took a massive beating in a heavyweight rematch against Samuel Peter. Yet, Toney has trudged on. He's fought four times since 2009, beating lesser opponents but getting pummeled in a sad display against Denis Lebedev in an interim cruiserweight title fight that went the distance. (As much as Toney's skills have eroded, he still has one of the all-time great chins.)
The point is, Toney, a future Hall of Famer, is way beyond his expiration date. So when Browne declared this week that a win would "announce" his "presence on the world stage" if he beat Toney, it was hard not to snicker. The only thing it will announce is that he can beat a guy who should no longer be fighting.
"A win here against Toney would get my name out there like I want and need it to be if I'm to continue to be successful," Browne said.
I suppose it might get his name out there a bit. I have, after all, written this blog about Browne.
Browne added, "Regardless of his age and who he has lost to, he's a very crafty fighter and he knows all the tricks. This is the hardest fighter I've faced so far so there's no taking him lightly in any regards."
Fair enough with that comment.
But Matt Clark, Browne's manager and trainer, is even more delusional than Browne in believing that a win over Toney at this stage will mean much.
"I truly believe that Lucas can establish himself as a contender for the world title with a win over James Toney," Clark said.
Beating Toney in 2013 will not establish anyone as a heavyweight contender. All it will establish is that Browne, if he wins, can beat a guy who was done six years ago.