Boxing

Tuesday Night Fight Talk: After yet another ‘injury’, time for Calzaghe to put up or shut up

13.09.05 - By Barry Green: After reading Evans Ashira’s letter I felt compelled to write my own to Joe Calzaghe. I hope to finish but may get typer’s cramp before the end and have to cancel it.

Dear Joe,

Just what the hell is your problem? How sad and pathetic that in the week when Ricky Hatton parts company with your boss, you decide to criticise and belittle his achievements and yet again blow your own trumpet- probably because no one else will. You say you’re better than Hatton, at what exactly? Punching like a girl? Yep, I’ll give you that. Most fighters feel like they’ve been in with their estranged wife after going 12 rounds with you, as you slap them that often. Someone must be slipping some acid into your leek soup as your delusions of grandeur know no bounds..

You have held the weakest of the ‘four’ alphabet titles for eight long years, rarely risking it against any fighters of note. Hatton’s consistently on Pay-Per-View, while you’re not. We, the masses, love to watch Ricky fight and only switch channels to watch your fights if there‘s no synchronised swimming showing on BBC2. You went on to say: "I've defended my title for eight years, let's see if Ricky is still champion in four years.” I’m sure Hatton could defend against the kind of guys you fight for the next FORTY years. Ricky may or may not remain undefeated as long as you but we know that he’ll fight much better opposition. He fights in the best division in boxing- you fight in arguably the worst. Also, the majority of us boxing fans support all our home grown talent but your derogatory remarks could see fans of Ricky and yourself divided in their loyalties...and it’s you that will end up the loser when it comes to that particular contest.

You also said, I quote: "Let's not go over the top - Ricky had a good win over Kostya Tszyu, but he fought a guy who was at the tail-end of his career who had fought once in three years. So, what was Chris Eubank then? He hardly had anything left when you took his title and he was nowhere near the fighter Tszyu was in the first place. Tszyu looked scintillating when dispatching of Sharmba Mitchell in three rounds, while Eubank had lost his last two world title fights by the time you fought him.

So let’s take a quick look at your last opponent. Evans Ashira was iced by New Zealand middleweight Maselino Masoe, who himself was flattened by Santiago Samaniego, who was KO’d by Vernon Forrest at welterweight!!! Phew, there are no flies on you eh, Joe. What next? A guy that was knocked out by Charlie Magri in a sparring session last Thursday. By the way, I didn’t watch your last fight, as I haven’t watched a fight of yours for over three years. You’re acting like a phoney and a fraud and the sooner you’re beaten the better in my book.

Okay so you apparently have a ‘legitimate’ excuse this time, but what’s your next excuse going to be, nasty paper cut? Your cat stuck in the tree? I love the photograph where you are showing the world “Hey, look, the fight’s off now. Whoopee!“ Indeed, I read today that you have broken a bone in your hand, so you got your wish after all. It was a bit like the old World War II movies where the private has to have his arm broken by the corporal so he can feign injury in which to plot their eventual escape. Surely you can‘t blame the fans for being suspicious of your injury, not after you pre-empted it anyway. "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark," as Will Shakespeare once wrote and I’m sure he wasn’t referring to the contents of Mikkel Kessler’s jockstrap.

You seem to have a resignation that the fight is off, but why need it be? Tyson-Bruno was delayed as was Holmes-Cooney. The list is endless. If you want Lacy you’ll fight him. Nothing could be simpler. In actuality, I hope Jeff Lacy does an impression of Jack Johnson when Tommy Burns avoided him almost 100 years ago and calls you and hunts you down until you finally agree to a unification fight. If I were him I’d even vacate the IBF title and become your mandatory challenger- then you’ll have to fight. Maybe you are really injured, but one thing is certain you are definitely running scared.

You are basically just another Sven Ottke, who retired ‘undefeated’ last year. You can do the same if you want and become a legend...in your local pub. Maybe your fans will continue to watch meaningless title defences for many a year but I’ll be switching off- unless you fight Jeff Lacy. Personally, this is one fight where patriotism can go flying out the window.
I look forward to you fighting Jeff Lacy and look forward to being knocked out. I don't usually (if ever) root against a British fighter but in this case I'm making an exception. After all my dad wanted Muhammad Ali to beat Joe Bugner, so it has been done before. Or maybe that’s your plan, to give Lacy the impression you are running scared so he comes in over-confident? Not a strategy that one admires from their sporting heroes. But if it works that I’ll take my hat off to you and admit I was wrong. Fight Lacy. Fight Woods. Fight ANYONE of note, preferably your own weight- then talk about how good you are. Don’t ‘say’ you’ll fight them, actually go through with the contest. It’s a pity because you are a good fighter, just not a great one. You’ve proven that to me now.

The general consensus in boxing circles was that you were ‘The Man’ and Lacy had to beat you to prove otherwise. However, now it is YOU that have to beat him. Until you do, Jeff Lacy is ‘The Man’ in my eyes and you’re just like that song by the Sex Pistols that went: “Problem, the problem is you. So what you gonna do?” That’s my message to you. What ARE you going to do? I know you may not get to read this but if you do (and before you use it as toilet paper) it really is time to spit or get off the pot as they say, or go down in history as a fighter who loved to talk it but could never walk it.

Yours sincerely,

A genuine boxing fan


PS. Ricky Hatton (y’know that bloke you say you're ‘better’ than) yesterday announced a unification fight just three months after becoming champion- it’s taken you seven years...and counting.


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Talking of fights that never happened, I recently discovered that John Conteh almost fought the great Carlos Monzon if only a £10,000 fine for Monzon failing to take a urine test after his fight with Jose Napoles in Paris would have been lifted by the EBU in 1975. The fight would have been for Conteh's WBC Light Heavyweight Championship. Conteh, while not
quite in the class of Monzon, did campaign at heavyweight and would possibly have been just too strong for the legendary Argentine at 175 pounds. What a great fight it could have been though.

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On the Calzaghe undercard, Amir khan had his second fight under Frank Warren. Khan looks our best prospect since Nassem Hamed, maybe even better? But it will be sad if Warren has him fighting for the lesser trinkets like he seems to with all his fighters. Khan could probably be WBO/IBC/KFC champ for the next 20 years. Let’s hope the US catches on quickly and quality opponents (and titles) are on the horizon for this precocious talent that we have in our midst rather than 100 defences any old tin pot championship.

Article posted on 13.09.2005



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