Sharkie’s Machine: Joe Calzaghe Defeats Roy Jones Jr

Joe CalzagheBy Frank Gonzalez Jr. - November 9th, 2008 - Saturday night in NYC’s Madison Square Garden, former Light Heavyweight King Roy Jones Jr. (52-5, 38 KO’s) faced LHW/Super Middleweight King, Joe Calzaghe (46-0, 32 KO’s) in a 12 round contest that saw Calzaghe go down in the first round from a lightning fast Jones’ right that he didn’t even see. Calzaghe looked hurt but got up and upped his output until the bell ended the round. It was high drama as the faded former super star looked like a possible legend killer spiller.

In the next round, Calzaghe continuously pressured Jones and landed more often but got caught by a few clean shots compliments of Roy. Calzaghe out-hustled Roy and even out scored him but because Roy landed the cleaner shots that had more oomph on them, decent arguments can be made that Jones won the second round too.

But from the third round on, it was all Joe Calzaghe, dominating the action with pressure and constant barrages of punches that didn’t have a big bite but nibbled away at Jones confidence and stamina as the fight wore on..

Calzaghe dictated the terms of the fight, as Jones constantly found him self against the ropes, covering up more than throwing anything back. Round after round, Calzaghe took everything away from Jones and rendered him a defensive fighter, always too busy trying to block to get any consistent offense going. Calzaghe also got into Jones head by mimicking Jones’ little stutter steps and dropping his hands in showboating fashion. Calzaghe taunted Jones continuously by coming in with hands down and his head sticking out, inviting Jones to take a swipe.

By the seventh round, Jones left eye was cut and starting to swell. His corner had trouble controlling the cut but Jones fought on, losing every round since the second. Calzaghe’s taunting took Jones out of his game, as his output got smaller and smaller; always finding himself up against the ropes, with Calzaghe punching from various angles, with little regard for anything Jones might throw back. Calzaghe toying with Jones made me wonder how this fight would have been if it took place ten years ago, when both were unbeaten and in their primes.

Though Jones started out well, Calzaghe stole the show and in the late rounds, made beating up on Roy Jones look easy—as this fight turned out pretty much the way I imagined it would.

Jones deserves a lot of credit for being so brave so late in his career. I hope his bravery continues and that he fights the very overdue rematch against Bernard Hopkins next.

Jones may not want to continue taking on top comp at this point in his career, considering he’s lost four of his last seven fights and of the three guys he did beat, they were either too green (Anthony Hanshaw), too past it (Trinidad) or a nobody (Prince Badi Ajamu). If Roy wants to continue making the big bucks, he needs to give something back to the fans after all the years that he fought second rate fighters and incredibly lame mandatory match ups. Win or lose, a rematch with Bernard Hopkins would do well to cap his career. But Jones is a safety first fighter and a fight with the Executioner is not a safe proposition. Unless Jones is certain he can beat Bernard, it’s unlikely he fights him again. Now that Hopkins has higher status than Jones, maybe Roy will accept a 50-50 purse split and fight Bernard.

I can’t imagine that Jones of 2008 can beat even a 43 year old Bernard Hopkins—who seems to have aged better, especially considering the beating he administered to top Middleweight Kelly Pavlik a couple of weeks ago but it’s a fight Jones owes the fans—big time!

Congratulations to Joe Calzaghe. He’s a class act. A modern day Gentleman Jim, like Errol Flynn played in the movies a long time ago. Calzaghe has walked the walk and not just talked the talk. Still undefeated, he could retire tomorrow in the knowledge that he’s proven himself to be the best in his league. It’s more likely that he keeps fighting though, since he’s still in great shape. I’d like to see him fight either Glen Johnson or IBF LHW titlist Chad Dawson next. Dawson is young, strong and has fast hands to compliment his ever refining skills. Maybe Calzaghe wants to fight at 168, where he could take on WBO titlist Denis Inkin, or IBF titlist Lucian Bute. Bute has a good style that is fast paced and slick but his stamina failed him in his last fight that would have seen him lose by TKO, if not for the incredible protective referee, who took too long to start his count when Bute was downed in the final moments of the last round by a man that Calzaghe beat with ease in Librado Andrade.

There are some good fights out there if Joe decides to keep fighting. He still has enough in him to seal the notion that he’s the best fighter from 168-175 pounds in all of boxing.

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Article posted on 09.11.2008

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