Joe Calzaghe agrees to fight Brian Magee

11.02.05 - By Steve Mckenna: BRITISH boxing fans are set for a boost with the news that Joe Calzaghe has agreed to take on Brian Magee. The Welshman is poised to defend his WBO super-middleweight title for the 16th time at Belfast’s King’s Hall on March 18. OK, so Calzaghe v Magee doesn't exactly set the pulse racing, but it's a damn sight more enticing than the champion's last two fights against Kabary Salem and Mger Mkrtchian.. And it's not often that two of Britain's best get it on in the ring, so we mustn't complain. Fighting in front of the challenger's home fans should ensure a cracking atmosphere – and that may lift Calzaghe, who has looked below-par in his last few mundane defences. Magee will also have to raise his game after a tough 12 months.

Once the bright young thing of Belfast boxing, he has struggled to impose himself on the 168lb division since being outpointed in a rough-and-tumble affair with former Calzaghe victim Robin Reid last June. He has fought just once since, stopping Neil Linford in seven rounds in November, but Calzaghe will be a huge step up in class for him – despite the champion's indifferent performances of late. This is certainly a make-or-break year for the Welshman who, at 32 this month, is in desperate need of a big fight.

Calzaghe has long talked about a move up to the light-heavyweight division and undisputed 175lb king Glen Johnson is surely not out of his reach. But he obviously cannot afford any slip-ups against Magee and, although the younger man is confident of an upset – on the outside at least – it is hard to see Calzaghe losing here. Both are quick-handed southpaws, but the champion has the edge in terms of power, chin and experience and Magee is prone to going into his shell during hard battles. Unless he's completely lost his touch, expect Joe to stop Magee in the later rounds. If not, a points win is the least he can expect.

Article posted on 11.02.2005

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