Off the canvas, again!

By Madra Uladh - For the second time in a row, Joe Calzaghe left the comfort of his native Wales to fight an American legend in America. And for the second consecutive fight, Calzaghe was knocked down with a minute left in round one. And for the second straight fight, the Welshman got quickly back up and went on to victory. An oversimplification, perhaps, of Calzaghe's first defence of his RING MAGAZINE light-heavyweight title, as the similarities end there.

Calzaghe began aggressively and carried the fight to Jones for the first two minutes, when Jones blinded him with a left jab and followed up with an uppercut that resulted in his forearm smashing into the champion's face and dropping him to the canvas..

Unlike the flash knockdown of the Hopkins fight, this seemed to rock Calzaghe somewhat. He was up at the count of four, but the count continued to eight. However, upon resumption of the action, Calzaghe took the fight to Jones, as both men flurried and each landed some good shots to finish out the round.

In the second, Roy continued to perform with confidence and precision. Joe's punch volume ensured that he wasn't dominated, however.

The first part of round three was the challenger's last seriously competitive showing. Midway through the round, Calzaghe's work rate and connection percentage took over and he won the round decisively. And from that point on, the fight was rather one-sided.

Joe opened a nasty cut over Roy's left eye, a first for Roy, that eventually blinded him on one side. Each round took on certain sameness with Joe out-throwing and out-landing the challenger.

Curiously, Joe left his hands dangling by his sides and stuck his face towards Roy on numerous occasions, showboating and inviting Roy to throw.

This Roy was less and less able to do as the fight wore on. It almost seemed as though the champion was too close to the challenger for Roy to tee off.

The ring doctor made a couple of inspections of the cut (which Jones' corner seemed powerless to cauterize) but ruled that the fight could continue.

After the second round, Calzaghe ceased to exercise much caution, giving Jones a clear target many times. From round six on, the main question was whether Jones would survive twelve rounds.

He did, and to little surprise, the judges were in unanimous agreement with scores of 118-109.

Roy was gracious in the post fight interview, and non-committal about his future.

Joe had mentioned retirement going into the fight, but after the victory, seemed to leave the door open to another outing. If he is to fight again, the most likely opponent would be the undefeated and much younger Chad Dawson, who is the other main claimant of status in the light-heavyweight division. A rematch with Bernard Hopkins is also possible, but seems less likely.

While Jones was clearly past his best, he looked better and sharper tonight than at any time since his third bout with Tarver. Calzaghe appeared to be near the top of his game also. At this point, he has options, more so than Jones. Roy should perhaps retire rather than risk serious injury. That might also be the most prudent course for Joe.

Article posted on 09.11.2008

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