Calzaghe Wins Big Over Jones

Joe Calzaghe09.11.08 - By Paul Strauss: Madison Square Garden fans were treated to a very exciting display of the many talents of Joe Calzaghe. He proved he can do just about anything he wants to in the ring and get away with it. He has great reflexes, toughness, speed, volume punching, and ability to read or sense what his opponent is going to do and then react accordingly.

Joe came into the ring looking very relaxed and resplendent in his sequined outfit. Roy looked equally at ease, acknowledging friendly faces in the audience. But, when the action started, it seemed like a replay of the first round in Calzaghe's fight with Hopkins. This time Joe seemed hurt, though. The knockdown occurred when Roy Jones, Jr. landed a stiff left jab, which concealed the big right to follow. Calzaghe didn't see the right, and as a result it sent him to the canvas and made for a 10-8 round for Jones. A slow motion replay of the knockdown showed the right was actually Jones' forearm that landed, and not the glove. Regardless, it caused the desired effect..

By the end of the first round, Calzaghe had recovered and was moving closer to Jones, and starting to flurry a bit. It was evident that he was no in danger, and was eager to set his pace.

In the second round, Calzaghe started to step things up another notch, flurrying at an even faster pace, and mixing in uppercuts as part of his attack. He did receive a mild caution for hitting behind the head. Calzaghe was already so confident Jones couldn't hit him, that he literally stuck his unguarded face right in front of Jones' face, taunting him and making faces, daring Jones to try and hit him. Jones couldn't land anything solid, and when he would make any contact at all, Calzaghe was right back at him with another flurry.

Between rounds, Alton Merkelson, Jones' trainer, cautioned Roy to "stay on Calzaghe's right shoulder" in hopes of neutralizing or nullifying Joe's left. However, Joe was as quick as Roy, or maybe quicker, and was dictating the angles at which the fight was going to be fought.

In the third round, Calzaghe continued to "showboat". He again would stick his face in between Jones' gloves in a peek a boo fashion. He was in and out, and bobbing up and down, doing his best imitation of a mongoose fighting a cobra. The difference was this cbra wasn't striking back. However, Roy did put on his own show with a demonstration of head slipping. When Roy got back to his corner Merkelson said, "You've got to land behind the @#*!"

In the fourth round, Roy continued to employ the peek a-boo or shell game, and was paying heavily for it with repeated unanswered flurries from Calzaghe. Joe's speed and ring generalship were obviously frustrating Roy. In the fifth, Enzo Calzaghe correctly described to Joe, "You're boxing his ears," which he was literally doing by throwing looping punches around Roy raised gloves. Roy was unable to get off with any kind of sustained retaliatory attack.

Roy displayed a momentary change in tactics by using much more head movement in round six, but Joe displayed excellent use of his footwork to dart in and out, which caused Roy to either be long or short with his counter left hooks to Joe's right jab. When Roy would throw the lead right, Joe was able to slip it. Roy did manage to land a very good right upper cut, but Joe immediately came back with a flurry of punches. Joe was definitely proving his toughness.

In the seventh round, Roy was jabbing better, but he also seemed to be showing the first signs of fatigue, as he was moving straight back, which enabled Joe to start throwing the long straight left. Joe landed two good ones, plus a right hook, and Roy came out of the exchange with a bad cut over his left eye. Calzaghe once again was taunting Roy.

In the eighth round, Roy came out fighting hard. According to Jim Lampley, Emanuel Steward and Max Kellerman, this was the first time they had ever seen Roy cut, and the wound seemed to ignite him a bit into renewed effort to change the way things were going. Calzaghe didn't seem concerned and continued to control the action with his flurries, feints, and taunting. He managed to land another big left (this time a thumb), followed by the head (unintentional), before the round ended.

Between rounds Roy could be overheard to say, "Can't get him!" In the ninth, Calzaghe continued to control the action, and Roy was unable to keep Joe from pushing him and punching him into the ropes, where he could further unload with more flurries. Roy's cut man Dr. Richard Lucey couldn't get the cut to stop bleeding, and it was obviously bothering Roy. By this time, Harold Lederman's unofficial scorecard read 87-83 for Calzaghe.

In the tenth round, both fighters were taunting each other, hands down, trying to solicit a lead to counter. Neither fighter was buying the other's offer. Still, it was an incredible display of the tremendous physical skills of these two greats. The majority of most fighters who would try such tactics would find themselves on the seat of their pants dusting off the canvas.

In the eleventh and twelve, Roy's cut continued to bleed profusely, but he fought on. Calzaghe was a bit more cautious as the fight approached its end, but it was obvious he still was showing no respect for Roy's ability to mount an attack. His hands were once again down and he was mugging to the fans.

When the final bell rang, the punch totals, number of punches, number of punches landed, power punches thrown and landed, and so forth were all heavily in favor of Joe. The judges agreed with the computer, and awarded Joe a unanimous decision. The three judges: Julie Lederman, Terry O'Connor, and Jerry Roth scored the fight identically......118-109.

Joe Calzaghe was a gracious winner in the post-fight interview with Max Kellerman. He thanked Roy Jones, Jr. for agreeing to the fight, and called him a great fighter. Max asked him why he would risk getting hurt by continually dropping his hands, and Joe smiled and explained that that was his style. It helps him to relax and he said he doesn't feel in danger, because he can read his opponents so well and has great reflexes. He definitely proved that Saturday night at MSG. Max said, "Were you beating Jones with Jones style?" Joe said that he wasn't, adding that he had a lot of styles. Kellerman then tried to bait Joe into agreeing to fight Chad Dawson, but Joe said he needed to take sufficient time to relax before making a decision about continuing to fight or opting for retirement. Lampley, Steward and Kellerman were in agreement that Calzaghe would stay in boxing in some capacity, possibly as a promoter or trainer. Let's hope so, as he is a great asset to boxing.

In an earlier fight, Zab Judah managed to gain a unanimous decision over Ernest Johnson, Jr., but not before he sustained cuts to both eyes. Zab weighed in at 144 ˝ and Johnson weighed 144. The fight started out with both fighters overly cautious, which continued into the second round. By then Zab already had a trickle of blood over the right eye, due to an unintentional head butt.

In the third round, Zab got another cut. This cut was also due to an unintentional head butt; although, referee Steve Smoger warned Johnson about leaning in with his head. Johnson, a young fighter, seemed to remain calm with the stepped up attack of Zab, which included plenty of rough tactics. At the end of the round, Zab seemed upset with his corner, and refused to sit down, or to listen to any advice from his father.

By the fifth round, both fighters were still rushing in with heads down, risking further clashes of their noggins. At this time, Harold Lederman's unofficial score- card had the fight as a shut-out for Zab Judah. Even so, Johnson was making it interesting. Referee Steve Smoger added a bit to the entertainment side as well when he addressed the fighters as Zabby and Ernie. (Where's Bert?). Zabby was also employing a yelling tactic at Johnson, and the sixth round was probably his best round up to that point. He was proving to be the quicker and stronger man. He was landing lots of right jabs and right hooks, mixing in an occasional uppercut.

In the eighth round, Johnson made a quick, but futile attempt to fight from the southpaw stance, but he quickly got tagged, so he abandoned that idea. The ninth round was very physical, with lots of rough housing. Zab was winning in all areas, but Johnson surprisingly remained calm and was weathering the storm. In the tenth round, Johnson's corner man told him he didn't want to see him get hurt, but he also wanted him to be willing to go out on his shield. It was obviously his way of saying, "Give it everything you've got and knock this guy out." But, it wasn't to be. Zab continued to control things. In fact, he controlled it so much so that he felt compelled to start a premature victory party and greet someone in the crowd. The score cards were one-sided in Zab's favor: George Degabriel and Tony Paolillo both scored it 98-92; while Don Trella scored it 99-91.

Prior to Zab's big victory, the "Drunken Master" seemed to get stiffed again in an eight round Jr. Welterweight contest against southpaw Frankie Figueroa. The Master of course is none other than Emanuel Augustus. In the early part of the fight, Augustus seemed to be successfully setting the distance. He also quickly demonstrated his penchant for the unusual when he did an weird little dance step after missing a left. It's a tactic that is entertaining in an odd sort of way, but doesn't endear him to the judges.

In the second round, he continued to apply pressure on his young opponent. He remained calm, but seemed to be upsetting his opponent, as Frankie seemed off balance several times when trying to avoid Augustus' punches. In the third round, Augustus seemed to back off a bit, at least in the early part of the round. The fourth round was close, but nothing dramatic from either fighter. The fifth round appeared to be somewhat of a dance contest, and then Augustus was warned for low blows. Neither fighter was doing much in the way of affective punching. Through the sixth neither fighter seemed like he wanted to take enough of a risk to win the fight. The punch totals were about the same. At the end of the seventh of this eight round fight, Augustus's corner told him he needed a knock out. He came out for the eighth trying to oblige. There was a high volume of punches, but neither fighter hurt the other one. All three judges scored the fight 77-75, but two were for Figueroa, so he came away with the win, and once again it appear Augustus might have been the victim of a bad decision?

The first fight was also a Jr. Welterweight twelve round fight between Dimitriy Salita and Derrick Campos. Salita enjoyed a four inch height advantage, of which he made good use on most occasions by trying to stay at long range, using his good jab. Salita is a light puncher though, which allowed Campos to take risks. Salita landed the best punch of the first round, which was a right hand. In the second round, Campos was rushing him and pressuring him a bit more, and even had Salita sitting on the second strand of rope while trying to weather Campos' attack. There wasn't any warning from referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. Salita was obviously bending in too much when the action got close, but he still won the round with his jab. He also landed a good left uppercut.

In the third round, Campos landed two hard straight lefts, followed by a right, and appeared to win the round. The referee told Salita to stop talking (complaining about low blows) and to fight. At one point in the round, Salita made an almost genuflection type move, which just barely kept his knee off the canvas. Harold Lederman was unofficially scoring the fight a shut out for Salita up to this point.

In the fourth round, both fighters were warned for low blows. By this time, Campos appeared frustrated, and was leading in with his head, and received a warning because of it. Campos also appeared tired. This was another Salita round. Campos continued to try to nullify the height and reach disadvantage Salita enjoyed, but he was rushing in too far, and smothering his own ability to punch. In the six, Campos attempted to turn the fight into a brawl, but Salita remained an elusive target. Salita also was employing a good body attack, which was something Campos should have been doing.

Campos' corner said, "You're in shape, but acting tired. Get your head straight!" In the seventh, Campos unleashed a vicious flurry of punches, and once again had Salita sitting on the 2nd strand of rope. However, Campos was continually squaring himself up in front of Salita, which provided an inviting target. It also adversely affected his balance. Salita sat on the ropes once more in round ten, when Campos fired off another flurry. Darned if he didn't do it again in the eleventh round, and finally Max Kellerman mentioned it. Generally a referee will allow a fighter to back into and even lean on the ropes……i.e. rope a dope. However, a referee will caution a fighter if he puts a glove on the rope to either rest or use it as a spring board to launch a punch. But, Mercante didn’t appear to issue a warning for "rope sitting" to Salita. The twelfth included an exciting exchange of punches. Campos landed a wild left, and Salita a big right. Both fighters finished throwing a lot of leather. The scores were as follows: Robin Taylor 120-108; Matt Ruggero 117-111; and Dan Ackerman 115-113, all for Salita.

Article posted on 09.11.2008

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