Calzaghe Over Manfredo - A Sure Thing?

07.04.07 - By Bob Webb: Whatever the actual outcome of the fight tomorrow (Saturday the 7th) night at Cardiff’s impressive Millenium Stadium to which I am not yet privy, right now I can only see it one way and that’s a sure win for Joe Calzaghe over his over-matched challenger from the US, Peter Manfredo Jnr. That’s not to say that an upset is not on the cards. If there’s one thing certain in boxing, it’s that there are no dead certs. Just don’t bet your hard-earned spondulicks on Manfredo..

First, Manfredo was the runner up in the penultimate The Contender boxing series, and that after being eliminated in the first round by an enthusiastic Alfonso Gomez. Such was the shock at the result of the favourite going out so soon, and with the benefit of another contender dropping out, Sugar Ray and Stallone decided to invite him back in for another un-earned shot and, to his credit, Peter did make it to the final. I wasn’t impressed then and I’m less than impressed now.

Secondly, he is no great puncher. If you want to start rattling Joe Calzaghe, at least give yourself the chance of gaining his respect via your punching ability and power, ‘cos against the “Prince of Wales”, that’s about the only chance you’ve got: a puncher’s chance. However, even that crumb of comfort afforded Jeff Lacy no advantage as he was overwhelmed from the opening bell by Calzaghe’s hand-speed and aggression and, not least, his ring savvy. You don’t make 42 and 0 without learning a trick or two.

Thirdly, and poetically, there is the number Three. That is Peter Manfredo’s three losses, two in his last four fights. Joe, of course, is yet to taste defeat as a boxing pro but more to the point his last three opponents all shared a total of three losses between them! Against their 110 wins!

And finally, I don’t believe that Manfredo has a champion’s special spirit. Neither has he the talent. All the cards are in Joe Calzaghe’s fragile hands. And will they stand up on the night? It’s Manfredo’s only chance, I believe, but even were they to ‘go’, Joe could still lick Manfredo with his one good ‘un.

I shall be writing my report of the fight as it happens tomorrow night but I can see only one result: an embarrassing and painful night for The Contender – which is what he’ll remain under the closed roof of the Millenium in front of one of the largest European live boxing audiences in history.

A caveat: that Joe doesn’t grow suddenly older and slower in the ring. It has to happen sometime. I’d rather it happened in training, myself.

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Article posted on 06.04.2007

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