Boxing

'Call Em Out Fridays': Calzaghe-Jones - Two Countries, Two Men, One Legacy In The End!

calzaghe vs jones07.11.08 - By Vivek Wallace: As we stand less than 48 hours away from showtime, one could literally cut the tension surrounding this topic with a plastic butter knife. In this pending mega fight the sport intricately pairs arguably the two best fighters of this era from their respective countries, and coming on the heels of an unprecedented week that awarded the U.S. election to a minority for the first time, one can only imagine what other history is on the brink of being broken. Overall, there are many things about this fight that intrigue, and perhaps the only thing to be found humorous is the fact that initially, there was a large contingent that didn't support the fight happening. Considering the magnitude of the fight and the two superstars involved, how it's even remotely possible that a fight fan can fail to see the fireworks behind this marquee matchup is beyond me, but to put it all in perspective, today we'll take a look at all angles to narrow the scope. To keep it fair and balanced, like any other of my 'Call Em Out Friday' sessions, we'll view the 'Supportive' perspective, the 'Critics' perspective, and before turning it over to the readers for their feedback, we'll take a glimpse at a more 'Neutral' perspective as well. So with no further ado, our final journey before fight now takes flight..........

Jones/Calzaghe (Supportive Perspective): How anyone could fail to support this fight happening is incomprehensible. The ultimate destiny of these two men has carried them to a place they've belonged all along.....Which is square in front of one another. Two totally different paths, two totally different countries, but in the end, one paramount location awaits them both. Personal agendas of their former promoters kept them separate and when they finally decided to make it happen a hand injury divided them once again, but when the smoke cleared and the overflow of emotions boiled down, the two opposites yet again found a way to attract. This is a fight that was simply meant to be, and the right time is now. All the years of dominance between them, all the buildups; For Roy Jones Jr. even a few let downs. All of the trials and tribulations between both men have beautifully set the stage for a fight for the ages come Saturday night, literally. One can't help but notice the tremendous passion and pride these fighters carry for their countries, which in and of itself provides an adrenaline rush. To the people of Wales, Joe Calzaghe is to his homeland what Manny Pacquiao is to his, so there's no plausible excuse for walking out of the ring without his "O". For those who question Jones' allegiance to his country, the tears he shed in HBO's 24/7 series was the perfect instrument to measure the love in his heart for his core red, white, and blue support base. Sure, 10 years ago would have been nice, but when you consider the current timeline in America - (which the recent election made historical), the location of Madison Square Garden - (which is adequately historical), and the two fighters involved - (whom are just as historical), how could one not agree that there's truly no better time for this fight than the present? Everything about this fight says now, but maybe using hindsight will eventually help those who don't understand the magnitude of this defining moment to see that later.

Jones/Calzaghe (Critics Perspective): Despite all the great reasons to see this fight, there's still a huge contingent out there that doesn't see the upside in this proposed mega fight. When listening to the arguments of the critics, the most prominent one is that both men have admittedly slowed down, highly evidenced by the fact that one of them (Jones) has suffered back-to-back knockout losses. Critics of Calzaghe say that despite the steady workrate, his brittle hands have stripped him of the power he once had, requiring him to rely on speed and flurries to outpoint fighters that he would have potentially knocked out back in the day. For Jones, those criticisms continue to mount, as fight fans have been very open about the fact that he hasn't looked himself (in their minds) in quite a few years now. Whether they point to the significant drop in weight after he came down from the heavyweight ranks or not, it was clear that after that happened he appeared to be nothing more than a shell of himself. Roy-bashers have also made a big deal of the fact that he struggled in his initial two fights after the humbling KO losses, and his biggest accomplishment since then was a points victory over the barely active and semi-retired Felix Trinidad. From the critics perspective, it's hard to believe that a 'shell-framed' Roy Jones Jr. will have anything for a near prime Joe Calzaghe. Of all the critical perspectives out there, most lean towards Jones due to the fact that despite the alleged decline, Calzaghe has yet to come up short in battle. Calzaghe's recent victory over Hopkins wasn't as delightful as many would have desired, leading many to question whether or not he's truly still untouchable. It's impossible to please everyone, and despite the past greatness of these two perennial figures, they're no different. Guess we'll have to see whether the critics perspective carries any merits in the end.

Jones/Calzaghe (Neutral Perspective): When you analyze the pro's and con's of this fight, it's safe to say that there are facts and fallacies both ways. Sure, Jones hasn't looked like the purely dominating presence that stormed through the 90's in quite some time. On the flipside, Calzaghe's hand injuries are well documented and he's been hit with a few more flush shots than usual. All that being said, these two men are still two of the best talents to ever lace up a pair of gloves and when it all boils down, even the older age doesn't change that. With Jones, it's apparent that the biggest missing piece to his puzzle was simply confidence. The more we've seen him, the closer to regular he has appeared. Trinidad is no Calzaghe, but Roy - even at this age - brings things to the table that Hopkins couldn't either, and we all know how close his fight with Calzaghe was. For Calzaghe as previously noted, slippage or not, he still has yet to slip enough to the point where it came back to haunt in in the final analysis. So all in all, I don't think there's any reason for anyone to feel that we're getting any less of a fight. As a former U.S. Marine I can remember being told that the true mark of a champion was "a heart that never says die, a mind that never says quit, and an ego that doesn't take s**t"! Well, with real lives being lost in a senseless war this isn't exactly the time to promote combat but for the sake of making a point, this fight will all come down to the few and the proud......Because the man who shows fewer signs of age and decline will ultimately have his hand raised, and subsequently walk away from the ring with his head held high! After all the talk is done, you have two countries, two men, and one legacy standing in the end. Soon we'll all know which one that is.......

(Check out tomorrow's preview to the fight, as we talk strategy and keys to victory).

(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com and 954-292-7346, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonmyouslyinvolved)

Article posted on 08.11.2008



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