Is Calzaghe really the greatest Super Middleweight ever?

calzaghe04.11.07 – By Adrian Saba, Photo by Sumio Yamada - Yesterday, Joe Calzaghe probably won his most important fight, the fight that will identify him in the future. His bout against Kessler was the true definition of a career defining fight: a fight for all the belts, against the toughest undefeated opponent, at the right time of his boxing career. Let’s remember that Calzaghe is 35, not old and past his prime, but he’s not a young fighter with many promising years left.

The fight against Kessler happened exactly at the right time. The Dragon must now climb in the P4P rankings, where he was rated at the bottom –now I would rate him in the Top5–. He has more than 20 title defences, he has defeated Chris Eubank, Charles Brewer, Byron Mitchell, Jeff Lacy, Mikkel Kessler, etc. He has dominated for 10 years and could break Joe Louis’ record, and also Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record. Calzaghe is currently 44-0.

Is he the greatest 168 pounds’ fighter in history? He doesn’t have wins over other great fighters, but his longevity and dominance must be taken in consideration and, in my opinion, have a huge value. Steve Collins, for example, has wins over a prime Chris Eubank –Calzaghe doesn’t– but he never dominated for a decade, and he has three losses. Nigel Benn is another Super Middleweight all time great, and could be put above Calzaghe. James Toney only spent two years in the Super Middleweight division and beat Iran Barkley and Tony Thornton, but he lost the most relevant fight against Roy Jones. Roy Jones…could he be the greatest fighter at 168 pounds? Face-to-face, he is definitely the number 1, the greatest Super Middleweight fighter to ever step into the ring; he had the speed, the power, the agility, reflexes, athleticism, everything. He also had the experience that he did not have at Middleweight. However, like James Toney, he didn’t spend much time at 168, only a couple of years and six fights against ranked contenders, and non of them were undefeated and so experienced as Kessler –except James Toney–. It’s hard to compare someone who subjugated a division for such a short time, but dominated spectacularly, like Jones, against a man that has dominated for a decade and beat so many ranked fighters. I’d say Calzaghe has, evidently, more achievements and accomplishments at 168, but Jones is much better toe-to-toe. Overall, considering all aspects, I’d say Calzaghe is greater. He is the greatest Super Middleweight ever. And Jones is the second one, though much better in All Time P4P rankings.

It will be interesting to see what Calzaghe will do in the following months: who is next? He could migrate to Light Heavyweight and fight Chad Dawson or Clinton Woods, or, if he wants a fight to increase his legacy, he could challenge Bernard Hopkins. It would be boring, a chess match, but would involve two great fighters, and that is always attractive, what else can a boxing fan ask for. Joe could also fight Kelly Pavlik. I believe that fight will happen later, but not now. Pavlik is rematching Taylor, so that will maintain him occupied and unavailable. An option that I would not like, but that may happen, is Calzaghe against the winner of Jones-Trinidad. My advice for Calzaghe would be to stay in his division and continue dominating; I really want to see him breaking the records of Louis and Marciano.

Article posted on 05.11.2007

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