Boxing Commentary: Joe Calzaghe’s Shot at the P4P Title

By Christopher Roche, -- Boxing Questions (and answers): 1. If Calzaghe defeats Hopkins, does he deserve consideration for the top spot in the pound for pound rankings?

Joe Calzaghe’s numbers speak volumes. 44-0. 32 KO’s. 10 years with a world title belt. 22 title fights. 21 title defenses. Simply incredible. Two other numbers stand out for Calzaghe. Only 2 fights outside of the United Kingdom. 0 Fights in America..

The numbers tell a story that boxing fans argue about incessantly. One camp says Calzaghe is a great fighter, perhaps the best. The other side argues that he is protected and his success manufactured. That is what makes tonight’s bout with Hopkins so intriguing. Calzaghe’s legacy can suffer a huge setback with a loss, but it will achieve even greater heights with a win.

If Calzaghe defeats Hopkins, then he must be included at the top of the pound for pound discussion. Calzaghe has achieved everything possible inside of the ring. He wins, and he pleases his fans. With his convincing win over Mikkel Kessler, Calzaghe slammed the door on a good percentage of his naysayers, and tonight, he stands to silence the rest of them.

Currently, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is the only fighter who stands in Calzaghe’s way at the top of the pound for pound ratings. Despite his win over Ricky Hatton, and his most recent “victory” over “The Big Show”, Mayweather’s appeal is slipping, and his refusal to fight the top talent at 147lbs. leaves him vulnerable at the top. Calzaghe, on the other hand, is stepping up his opposition, and he is taking the biggest risks of his career. A convincing win over Hopkins will vault Calzaghe over Mayweather, and his legacy of greatness will be cemented forever.

While the top pound for pound title is mythical and somewhat meaningless, it is really one of the only things left for Calzaghe to shoot for. He already holds world titles, and he is recognized as the best in his division. The pound for pound title is now within spitting distance. I predict that Calzaghe will defeat Hopkins, by a wide margin, and his name will begin to appear at the top of the lists that circulate on websites like this one.

Calzaghe’s offense is simply too potent for Hopkins to handle, and Calzaghe is too experienced and athletic to fall for Hopkins’ roughhousing tricks. Calzaghe will not be physically outgunned like “Winky” Wright was, and he will not be out of shape like Antonio Tarver was. Calzaghe will be at the top of his game, and the “Pride of Wales” will return home to a massive victory celebration.

2) Is Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin the best fighter that we never see?

If I did not live in the New York City area, then I likely would never have seen any of “Kid Chocolate’s” fights. He is 18-0 but rarely on television. On Wednesday night I tuned in to ESPN, and his fight was pre-empted for a baseball game. “What a shame” I thought to myself, Quillin can fight, and he is a charismatic figure. He is a good guy to represent New York City, in a high profile division.

For those of you who have never seen Quillin fight, he is a tall middleweight who is shredded. He has long arms, and he is very powerful. I have seen his left hook absolutely devastate opponents. He is the type of fighter you have to watch closely, because if you get up to go to the fridge, the fight could be over before you get back. He generates that type of electricity.

I probably should have made the trip to the Grand Ballroom on Wednesday night, as Quillin faced one of his toughest challenges in Antwun Echols, and I was dismayed that the national TV date was not shown live. However, I have seen enough of Quillin’s fights to report that he is a budding star, and boxing fans should investigate his bandwagon for legroom. Quillin will be a well-known middleweight sooner rather than later, and while I am wary of anointing prospects too early, I feel safe in touting Quillin as a future star.

Quillin’s actions outside of the ring will also help his career. Quillin has a reverential nickname, that is of course very memorable, and after his fights, he showers the crowd with chocolates. He is a crowd pleaser.

Quillin is also involved in youth mentorship, and he has a group called “The Kid’s Kids”. He appears to have the total package. As long as he keeps winning, his future as an athlete and a personality will be limitless.

He just needs to get on TV.

Fight I Would like to See and Why

Dat Nguyen vs. Gary Stark, Jr.: This is a local/regional attraction here in the Northeastern United States, but for a throwback featherweight battle, there are few parallels. Nguyen and Stark both love to mix it up, and they are not afraid to risk it all in the ring. Both men are young, and they have tasted bitter defeat, so they are hungry.

Two young, hungry featherweights, in a New York City main event would make for great entertainment and refreshing change. There is no “opponent” in a match-up like this; Nguyen and Stark, Jr. are two young fighters who are on the verge of advancing to the next level. A win for either man would be huge, and a loss could be devastating. With that much on the line, the fight would be worth the price of admission, and then some.

Quote of the Week

“Bernard had to go to prison to be hard. To me that’s a sign of weakness. I don’t have to go to prison to be hard. He’s been to prison, big deal. In the end you’re going to see a grown man cry.”-Joe Calzaghe (quote appeared on

Quote of the Week II

“The competition that American and British fighters face is night and day. They get the residue of U.S. fighters.

I’m up for this fight for a lot of personal reasons. For me it’s a cultural fight.”-Bernard Hopkins (quote appeared on

There is no doubt that a clash of cultures is about to happen on Saturday night. The ex-con vs. the distinguished Welshman…or perhaps the fighters are making too much of it in order to sell tickets? After all, it is just a fight and not Rocky IV. However, despite all of the trash talk, once Calzaghe’s arm is raised, the two men will go back to respecting each other.

Injustice of the Week

The injustice of the week was ESPN’s decision to pre-empt Peter Quillin’s fight to show baseball. In the New York area, I got ESPNnews HD. There is nothing less exciting than watching an over-made-up for HD sports anchor talk about how A-Rod is batting .091 with runners in scoring position. We all know the story about A-Rod and his failings in the clutch. Let’s move on to something new like Peter Quillin.

Non-Boxing Thoughts

The Pope made a visit to New York City yesterday. The security was intense. Believe it or not, New York is still a somewhat jittery city, and those of us who worked in the World Trade Center back in September of 2001 are well aware...of what could still happen here. I have been working in Jersey City a lot lately, but I still have those thoughts every morning when I leave for work.

And then I go past the security, get my morning coffee and go on with my day.

Reader Submissions

This reader submission came over in response to my commentary about Andy Lee’s bout with Brian Vera.

Robert writes:

Hey man, Manny Steward sure did push Andy Lee too hard, first he was the middleweight champion of the Kronk Gym, a prestigious accomplishment that seemed to surpass that of former Kronk fighter and former middleweight Champion of the World Jermain Taylor. Also I think that Manny’s talk caused Andy Lee to be overconfident to the point that both of them underestimated Vera. Also Vera changed up his training routine to that of a more professional/elite fighter. Throughout the history of boxing upsets have occurred for 2-reasons, overconfidence and over-training. From the beating that Andy Lee took IMO he will NEVER be the same fighter and may indeed wash out. At least John Duddy is in bloodbath wars every time he fights, not so with Andy Lee who has been somewhat protected!

I figured that Casamayor would up his game against Katsidis, he got a gift against Santa-Cruz and probably would have gotten a severe a$$ kicking if he wasn’t ready to fight Katsidis. Casamayor showed his metal Saturday nite! IMHO, Manny Pacquiao hasn’t improved that much since the first Marquez fight, he’s still a one-handed fighter looking to land the left hand to finish things, SO why would Manny deserve $10M to fight Marquez a 3rd time? If he DESTROYS David Diaz which IMO won’t happen then maybe he deserves $10M for the Marquez rubber match. Pacquiao has become like most well-paid athletes who figure the risk is way more than the reward so why let it all hang out and take a chance of get starched? I used to love Pacquiao when he was on a search-and-destroy mission, now he’s on a search-and-search again mission.


I will be taking reader submissions and answering them in this space. Please e-mail me at with questions and commentary, and we will include as many as we can. Please include your first name and hometown for publication and type the word “Column” in the subject line.

*This column is inspired by the premier novel of the twentieth century, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway spoke highly of the sport of boxing, and he participated as both a fighter and a referee. Every other week this column will humbly pay homage to the man who helped glorify the fight game back in its early stages. With a little hard work, the Sun Will Rise Again for Boxing, as together we can restore the sport to the top, one fan at a time. Thank You for reading the column.

Article posted on 19.04.2008

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