BBC BLOGS - Ben Dirs
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Calzaghe has too much hustle

Ben Dirs | 22:42 UK time, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Don't mention Joe Calzaghe's 'legacy' to his trainer and father Enzo. The chances are he'll return fire with righteous anger, some very fruity language and the assertion that his son's legacy was assured many years ago.

Yet there are those who feel the outcome of Calzaghe's fight against Roy Jones Jr at Madison Square Garden in the early hours of Sunday morning will define how future generations view the Welshman's career.

It seems a strange thing to say about someone who is undefeated in 45 professional fights, a man who made 21 defences of his WBO super-middleweight crown, a man who some still believe to be top of the pound-for-pound tree. To Enzo, it's bordering on treasonous.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

But have no doubt, the sceptics are poised and waiting for Calzaghe to fail. Just so they can say: "Joe wasn't as good as some of you thought he was - and we told you so all along."

It was Joe Calzaghe's misfortune to come along at a time when those marquee names of the British boxing scene in the 1990s had either just hung them up or were fading.

As Calzaghe puts it, "it wasn't my fault that I couldn't fight guys like Nigel Benn, they were just before my time."

As to why Calzaghe never got round to fighting Jones earlier, or Bernard Hopkins, or the dangerous German Dariusz Michalczewski, or indeed his overrated compatriot Sven Ottke, we may never know.

But it is boxing's scandal - not Calzaghe's - that five world title holders in and around the same weight class were able to go fight after fight undefeated without ever stepping in the ring to face each other.

jones_calzaghe446.jpg

Interestingly, Jones' long-term trainer gave a tacit admission on Thursday that his man, too, may never know how good he really was.

"The Ring Magazine once said that Roy Jones is too good for his own good," said Alton Merkerson, who has been in Jones' corner for 16 years.

"Back in the 80s, there was Hagler, Hearns, Leonard and Duran and they could all fight each other. Roy just came along at the wrong time, and he was so much better than everyone else."

Jones, however, can point to defining victories over Hopkins, who shortly after would begin a 10-year reign of the terror in the middleweight division, and over James Toney, when Jones made a defensive genius look like a 10-fight rookie.

And just when some were questioning his greatness, accusing him of dribbling his talent away in meaningless mandatory defences of his various titles, he beat John Ruiz to become the first former middleweight champion since Britain's Bob Fitzsimmons in 1897 to claim a world heavyweight crown.

As Jones puts it, "if I lose, who cares? I'm already satisfied with my achievements. If he loses, his streak is ended. So who's the pressure on?"

Calzaghe's match with Jones is a desperately risky one for the former, with the Newbridge southpaw pretty much in a no-win situation.

Defeat Jones and there will be those who say he beat a 39-year-old has-been. Lose, and the told-you-so brigade will be out in force, telling anyone who's prepared to listen that Calzaghe was always an overrated, protected fighter who hoodwinked the British public into believing he was one of the greats for the best part of 12 years.

The more level-headed among you will agree that - win or lose - Calzaghe is up there with the best Britain has produced since the war, despite the frustrating lack of defining fights on his resume.

Of course, Saturday's encounter would have been more relevant five or more years ago, and there is no getting away from the fact that it has the feel of a 'pension' fight, a business transaction - two old pros putting on their own show and halving the proceeds before shuffling into retirement.

But, as Merkerson quite rightly points out, "out of all the other fighters out there now, which one could beat either one of them?"

Of the two protagonists, time has been kinder to the 36-year-old Calzaghe, who in turn admitted he thought Jones was "washed-up" after defeats to Antonio Tarver (twice) and Glen Johnson between 2004 and 2005.

At his peak, Jones was a marvel, with hands and feet as fast as a peak Muhammad Ali, concussive punching power and the reflexes of a cat.

Between his pro debut and his first knockout defeat at the hands of Tarver, nobody really knew how solid his chin was because few had managed to pierce Jones' defences and land a significant blow.

But in his last three fights, Jones, who had always dangled his left hand down by his knee, has adopted a noticeably higher guard, an admission that those reflexes aren't quite what they used to be.

And against shopworn Puerto Rican great Felix Trinidad in his last fight in January, Jones got plenty of use out of his jab, a weapon he had often left in the locker in his salad days.

In that match against Trinidad and his previous two fights, all of which he won by unanimous decision, his flashing left-hook counters and right-hand leads were still in evidence.

But the opposition was mediocre and it is the three successive defeats to Tarver and Johnson that linger more vividly in the memory.

Against both men, Jones, who has never been entirely convincing with his back to the ropes, looked distinctly uncomfortable against rushing attacks allied with plenty of leather. And no-one throws more leather than Joe Calzaghe.

On the plus side for Jones, Calzaghe has never looked great against back-foot fighters - witness his ugly wins over Hopkins and David Starie. But on both occasions, Calzaghe's superior work-rate pulled him through. And that should be the case again on Saturday night.

Jones, who is perhaps the only man Calzaghe has fought blessed with quicker hands than himself, may have early success with the odd well-directed counter. But Calzaghe will not let up, will keep pressing to the final bell and bury Jones under an avalanche of punches.

joe_calzaghe446.jpg

Whether that is the last we'll see of Calzaghe is doubtful. In truth, the vibe surrounding this fight has been more low-key than many expected and New York's fight fans don't seem sold on the show.

Ticket sales have been sluggish and the financial crisis back in the UK has meant many Calzaghe fans have been unable to make the trip.

Calzaghe has also been all over the place on his retirement plans in various interviews, so it would be no surprise to see him one last time at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium next summer.

And just as he can be sure that victory over Jones will not erase the doubts of his harshest critics, he'll never be short of love from his adoring countrymen and women.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    The man is a boxing legend. No matter of the outcome against Jones Jr.

    It would have been a better fight a few years back but thats just won of those things.

    You can only beat what they put in front of you and Joe has always done that....

    Go on my son!

  • Comment number 2.

    Good article again Ben. I do think this will be a great fight and expect Joe to take a points win.

    Just thought I would bring this to your attention;

    Ben Dirs Appreciation Society is on facebook, I tried and failed to post a link, but I am sure you have seen it


    ps I, along with many others, envy your job!

  • Comment number 3.

    come on joe - i know you can do it.

    build your legacy even more mate.

    then ill come watch you in cardiff next year!

  • Comment number 4.

    Good article although I don't beleive it's a no win fight. People said that about the Hopkins fight but Hopkins has now proved once again he's one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world after destroying Kelly Pavlik. Also it's seen as the biggest fight in the year so far this year, which will improve Joes profile in the states even further. If Jones loses he could still quite easily come back and destroy an up and coming talent, just like Hopkins did.

  • Comment number 5.

    It's absolute rubbish to say it's a no-win fight. It's typical to of the British media to say that a guy can go from a great sportsman and boxer to a loser in the space of one fight, the 46th of his career.

    People said that Calzaghe should have fought Pavlik to prove his class, but Calzaghe fought Hopkins and won deservedly. Hopkins then went and completely dismantled Pavlik.

    It just seems like people don't want to recognise a great British sportsman, be it Beckham or Lewis Hamilton, a guy who has been successful and is respected has to have someone carping about his record or looking for flaws.

    If Calzaghe beats Roy Jones Jnr then he will have fought some excellent fighters- Eubank, Lacey, Kessler, Hopkins along with Jones - and beaten all of them.

  • Comment number 6.

    good stuff ben, hows that jet lag comin along!?! joe has a lot to gain from this fight really, i turely beleive this will be his last ever fight, and to retire with an unblehmished record mean a huge amount to him. obviously a very rare achievement and something he's mentioned on a few occasions! it is goin to be an ugly fight, but joe never gives anything less than 100% and that should see him thru!

  • Comment number 7.

    Chris Eubank was onece asked how Calzaghe would have faired against Benn, Collins and Eubank himself at his peak.

    Chris replied calmly that Joe would have beaten all of them.

    That was a big compliment from a very proud man.

  • Comment number 8.

    It's just, disappointingly, not a fight I can get enthused about.

    I can't help but feel it's more about the money than a sporting contest, and that there's been a lot of smoke and mirrors in RJJ's latest comeback. He still doesn't look like a shadow of his former self to me.

    As you say, Ben, I think Joe's always impressive punch output is going to be the difference here. I see Jones shucking, jiving, evading and offering the odd sweet counter shot, but mainly looking to avoid rather than hit as Joe pebbledashes his way to a wide points victory.

    Hope to be proven wrong of course. And indeed wish this had taken place a good ten to eight years ago, let alone five.

  • Comment number 9.

    Calzaghe's problem has been i think in the way he has been promoted. He was far too good for the so-called big names to risk fighting lest they lose but was not a big enough draw to garantee the million dollar purses which would have softened the blow.

    The british public will not appreciate how great joe is until after he has gone. The man is probably the best boxer this country has ever produced but like any great boxer you need that defining fight to cement your place in history and on Saturday I think that it will be calzaghe's.

    I expect a really close fight but I can see Jones getting stopped about 8 or 9.

    good Luck Joe!

  • Comment number 10.

    Another old man fight, dont think i'll stay up all night just to watch to old blokes having a scrap. Calzache has always fought guys who have been passed their prime.
    Carl Froch offered to fight him for 5 million but he turned that fight down because he knew he would get smashed.

    Fair enough he has a great record but who has he fought and look at the age of the fighters he fought.

  • Comment number 11.

    A rather tired old story this one, Jones is too old, Calzaghe has nothing to gain. Rubbish. Bernard Hopkins destruction of Kelly Pavlik last month speaks volumes about where Joe is at the moment, I thought that the talk that Calzaghe was dodging Pavlik was scandalous. The American while impressive had done nothing to indicate he was even in the same league as Calzaghe. This is the same kind of talk that plagued Calzaghe throughout his career, Ottke and Dariusz Michalczewski would not fight outside Germany where they received some very favourable decisions, infront of small audiences where is the appeal in that? Joe missed the boat with the likes of Jones and Toney all of whom may have fought him in their prime but as the years have progressed these so called great fighters have lost some of their sheen. Calzaghes star has grown brighter. Who else out there could Joe have fought? Who would have got him out of bed at 5 am? Jones is the man who excites him so who are we to say that he should be fighting someone else. Calzaghe's legacy is already written a great world champion, one of the best British fighters for generations and here's hoping he can see out the rest of his career in style starting on Saturday night.

  • Comment number 12.

    Calzaghe record is brilliant, no one can say otherwise. There will ALWAYS though be a question as to why he didn't fight against the best when they were in their prime. Some of this is not Calzaghe's fault but it will still be levelled against him.

  • Comment number 13.

    10. At 10:40am on 07 Nov 2008, andyjm1983 wrote:

    Fair enough he has a great record but who has he fought and look at the age of the fighters he fought

    --------------------------------------------------------

    Well, for one, he fought, and obviously beat, the 29 year old WBA and WBC title holder Kessler, in his prime, who has now gone on to win back the WBA title.

    And I thought Hopkins was a pointless fight at the time, but he's now gone and demolished Pavlik. You're right, he was well old, but now Hopkins has proved it was a worthwhile fight by beating Pavlik, the only other main fighter on the cards for Joe at the time.

    And I'm sure I remember Lacy being 'the next best thing'....

  • Comment number 14.

    Ben, your comment that Joe will "bury Jones under an avalanche of punches" smacks of exrteme naivete. Calzaghe is not going to be able to throws his flurries of slaps because Roy will do exactly what Hopkins did, which is pick Joe with some big counters. Roy carries significantly more power than Hopkins, so Joe will not take the risk of throwing those wide, soft punches that he does against lesser opponents. As Calzaghe says himself, he will have to sit down on his punches more and throw them with some intent. He will definitely outwork Jones, because Jones is shot, but not in the manner in which you imply. If the BBC can afford to pay Jonathan Ross £6m, why oh why can't they afford to get a real boxing commentator on board?

  • Comment number 15.

    "But it is boxing's scandal - not Calzaghe's - that five world title holders in and around the same weight class were able to go fight after fight undefeated without ever stepping in the ring to face each other."

    Boxing is a scandal. A totaly crooked sport based on the personal interests of shadowy promoters rather than those of the fans.

  • Comment number 16.

    Its a big fight, certainly by no means a 'no-win' fight for JC. It is however a 'no-lose' fight for RJJ. Pre-fight he's talked up JC as the best pfp in boxing right now. So if he loses he says he was beat by the best, if he wins... he's the man! Lets face it though, RJJ is way past his prime, remember he's been in the pro-fight game for 2 decades.. look at him in the mid-90's for his devastating best... JC wouldn't have beaten that RJJ. But I think he will beat the current one through pressure and his superior stamina. JC to control from round 6 onwards (a la Kessler), winning on points. Then please call it a day Joe for god's sake!!

  • Comment number 17.

    British before he starts, british when he wins.

    Lose, and you will be known as an average Welsh fighter lol

    Do it for the boys Joe

    Cymru Am Byth

  • Comment number 18.

    The guy doesnt like to be know as british so as far as im concered Wales & Italy can keep him.

  • Comment number 19.

    Everyone but the Brits know Calzaghe is another blown-up British fighter. He was schooled by Hopkins and he has cherry-picked throughout his entire career. Roy is an old man.

  • Comment number 20.

    Boxing is a scandal. A totaly crooked sport based on the personal interests of shadowy promoters rather than those of the fans.
    ______________________

    Totally agree. The emergence of UFC however will hopefully get boxing honest again instead of having goodness knows how many pointless world champions and so many different weight classes separated by just a couple of pounds.

  • Comment number 21.

    andyjim you sound very bitter mate chill out.

    can you name a better fighter at joes weight than the 3 he has recently fought/fighting: kessler, hopkins, jones?

    oh and smashed by carl froch?

    nice one!

  • Comment number 22.

    If this match had been made 10 years ago I would been anticipating this fight like no other. Now it just seems like a 'testimonial' fight for 2 great boxers, although I am still looking forward to it.

    One thing that really annoys me about people claiming that Calzaghe fought a 'past it' Hopkins, is that BH is in his prime, as proven by his destruction of Pavlik, the next big thing. He's a one-off, a freak of nature that has peaked in his 40s, and anyone that seriously thinks that Joe didn't deserve the win on points didn't watch the fight, or just has a dislike for JC in general. I really have to laugh at the 'Calzaghe was schooled by Hopkins comment' . Schooled in what exactly? How to fake injury? How to keep the ref in your pocket? How to throw 1 punch per round and cover up/hug for the rest? I respect Hopkins for his achievements, especially at his age, but he is the most God-awful boxer to watch, and is well-known to be a spoiler of the opponents fight.

  • Comment number 23.

    Great article Ben, v. well balanced.

    Captures my sentiments exactly; Calzaghe will (whatever the outcome of the Jones Jr fight) go down as one of the greatest British boxers of all time but there's still something missing.

    He can't go back in time 10 years and mix it with the likes of Jopkins and Jones Jr (10 years younger) or even Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Jermaine Taylor - Even Felix Trinidad and De La Hoya might have been able to arrange a catchweight...

    If I was CAlzaghe I'd have done exactly the same: played it more safely, earned the cash and the legacy, kepy my looks (!) and then gone for a couple of big pay days at the end. So no disrespect to him.

    But in all seriousness, you've got to admit that Joe's does lack knock-out power and that had he fought these guys back in the 90's he wouldn't now be undefeated. I actually think Hopkins won their earlier bout.

    Thanks for summing it up so well Ben...

  • Comment number 24.

    I prefer UFC to boxing any day, so much better. Boxing used to be good but when you look around now there doesnt seem to be much contest.

  • Comment number 25.

    Just a load of old fighters carrying on for the money.

  • Comment number 26.

    David Haye looks good though, he gave that welsh guy a beating lol. The welsh fighter who they thought was the best in the world lol.

  • Comment number 27.

    It is not possible to criticize Joe, he has stood up to and offered every Challenge necessary. He is and always be a champion, he exudes determination and professionalism. It is rare that such individuals come around and I hope he is victorious, but won't think any less of him if he isn't.

  • Comment number 28.

    Again I'm with the 'should of happened 5 or more years ago' brigade. Jones put it very well when he said that certain fighters become very wealthy fighting people who are not up to standard or past their best. He wasn't angry or aggresive about, just said that's the way it is! And it is isn't it, the way Joe Calzaghe has always been.
    He's not the first though by a long way, the look on the faces of Benn and Eubank when when the best of their time (a Jones Jr in his prime or James Toney) were mentioned.. one of pure horror...no thank you we're doing just fine over here. It's a shame, as has been said here before, just a pay packet for a veterans match...what could been years ago!!!

  • Comment number 29.

    Tripple - the main difference between the Hopkins v Calzaghe fight and the Hopkins v Pavlik fight is that the ref bought everything Hopkins said or did in the Pavlik fight - it was like watching premiership football!

    I did watch the hopkins v calzaghe fight, I do like JC but I thought the knock-down swayed a close-ish fight in B-Hops favour...I pwersonally wouldn't have "scored" a lot of JC's shots as I think they didn't really affect B-Hop (not denying they'd have floored me straight away!).

    B-Hops style is very ugly but I believe top level sport is about results. I think JC's swashbuckling style can be attractive, but also a little bit messy.

  • Comment number 30.

    ref. andyjm 1985 you are a bit of a tit and a bit of a racist british british not eglish welsh scotish it is british, thats why we have gone throught 2.w.wars for .Now come on joe do it for briton if he is old you must be geting your pension............

  • Comment number 31.

    Come on Jones Junior :)

  • Comment number 32.

    Calzaghe fought everyone who challenged him. I don't that as him hiding. If he beats Jones (and I think he will) then he will take his place among the greats and rightfully so in my view

  • Comment number 33.

    Why wont Calzaghe fight Froch?

  • Comment number 34.

    What I like about Froch is hes willing to fight anyone and he doesnt choose his fighters like Calzaghe always has.

  • Comment number 35.

    Joe's legacy is assured, whatever the outcome of Saturday's fight. Good luck to him.

  • Comment number 36.

    THE SAME REASON HE DIDNT FIGHT KELLY .........HE IS A NOBODY

  • Comment number 37.

    wow! good article.

    this is why boxing is on the way out - it's a bit late now for this fight

  • Comment number 38.

    Nobody? When Froch is rated no 3 in the world. Get your facts straight. Its because Froch is younger then him and he'd knock his face off.

  • Comment number 39.

    Much as I want Calzaghe to win, I don't think he will.

    Living in Canada I have only watched two of his fights -- the Hopkins and Bika fights -- and in both he looked unconvincing. He threw a lot of punches, true, but almost all of them were ineffective.

    I suspect that even at 39 years old, Jones will be far too slick for Calzaghe and will win by a street, possibly even by KO.

  • Comment number 40.

    People are missing the point here. If he does NOT fight Jones and he retires people will ALWAYS remember him as a racist. Win, lose or draw, this is the ONE thing he needs to do before he can hang up his gloves with pride. BRITISH pride.

    Julian Meteor, Plymouth

  • Comment number 41.

    Brandyrecovery ;

    u make a sensible point about the bhop calzaghe fight, and how one must respect bhps skills. My point, and im sure that of all the other people who think that JC was worthy of his victory, is that boxing the way bhop did, you simply do not deserve to win ANY fight.

    defensive skills are a part of boxing but lets be honest, boxing is about punching and beating up your opponent until he is either knocked out or until 12 rounds are up. If JC had not chased bhop all round the ring for 12 rounds, we would have had 12 rounds of the two men staring at eachother, Bhop was not there to box, purely to spoil.

    Its like a football team getting 11 men behind the ball never leaving their half, taking the 0 - 0 and chanceing it on penalties. Fortunately boxing has no penalty shootout, and the judges get to decide who deserves the win over 12 rounds, and Bhop got what he deserved for his display - nothing. props for his good defensive skills, but to win a prize fight, 'fighting' like that? Never.

    Im so glad bhop smashed pavilik, a big two fingers up to all the american posters who love to diss JC for the sake of it, it showed the merit in JC's win against an "ageing" "past it" bhop!

    he will take jones as well.

  • Comment number 42.

    andyjim ;

    are you froch's brother? boyfriend? father?

    "knock his face off" hahaahahahahahahahahaahahaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaahaha

    you're on another planet

  • Comment number 43.

    excumbrian, you admit to only having to have watched 2 of calzaghe's fights...yet you feel you know enough to have an opinion on his chances against Jones? you joker

    watch calzaghe v lacy or kessler and get back to us

  • Comment number 44.



  • Comment number 45.

    Tell me why Calzaghe wouldnt fight Froch, they offered Calzaghe £5 million. Anyway I hope Calzaghe loses, I might eveb watch it so I can see it happen.

  • Comment number 46.



    At this point what could calzaghe gain from smashing froch? who would care? hes spent his career knocking out all these rubbish contenders, in fact hes been criticised for it. Carl Froch at the nottingham evening arena... hahahahahaaha

    Let Froch chase up kessler, its a better use of his time, and believe me, kessler would SMASH him. that would be fun.

  • Comment number 47.

    froch is a great fighter, but JC is in a different class. anyone know the rough start time for the fight rather than the coverage start time?

  • Comment number 48.

    Your comment contains some HTML that has been mistyped.

    Data at the root level is invalid on line 1


  • Comment number 49.

    I think this fight is very unpredictable: Calzaghe isn't a really hard puncher and Jones is brittle but slick. The less than stellar performance against Hopkins coupled with Jones' defensive nous has me worried. Hopefully, Joe will nick another narrow decision but I am worried JC may join the long list of British fighters who have regretted crossing the pond for a big payday.

    Best of luck Joe!

  • Comment number 50.

    Listen Joe Calzaghe, has more than proved himself against every fighter in his path. Lacy and Kessler and MItchell and all the rest of his opponents and way back to even Eubank were all going to do this and that to him. Bash him up, take his crown, it was there time now, yawn yawn. And here we are all these years down the line and Big Joe Calzaghe is still standing undefeated and doing the business in the ring and outside the ring. You never read of him up to no good. He is a True proper professional and the best pfp boxer on the planet at any level. He will win by a huge margin on all 3 judges scorecards or even KO Jones. If people cant give Joe the credit he deserves for his Boxing achievents, then they are not true Boxing people. JC is a legend and his Dad is a one off to. If Nigel Benn and Steve Collins and Sugar Ray etc speak so highly of Joe then I think we should listen. Calzaghe is Number 1 plain and simple. Gary Davidson Stonehaven Scotland

  • Comment number 51.

    this fight would have been better a few years ago but he still beat hopkins and other fighters in their prime so he is still well gd.

  • Comment number 52.

    Record wide, of course Calzaghe is a great, but - before Lacy - his career was stuttering and impossible to like.

    With the Lacy demolition and - to my mind - the even more impressive display against Kessler, he has shown his true class. I can't see anyone beating him while he maintains his fitness and - in particular- astonishing hand-speed.

    The sad fact is - again - there's really no one out there to fight. The Hopkins fight was a shock - with it's 'tim-berrrr' moment, but JC ain't going to lose on points and the only person who thinks Hopkins won that fight is Hopkins.

    Now RJJ - who is a busted flush. Calzaghe beats him - so what. Calzaghe loses - why was he even in there in a fight ne couldn't motivate himself for?

    After this one, there's no one. Not Pavlik - oh puh-leeze - or, much as I like him, Carl Froch. Carl's defence is way too open. He will never get close enough to land a big blow and JC will pepper his face with jabs. Everybody who follows boxing - including Froch, I'd guess - knows that.

    Joe Calzaghe - great fighter, wrong time....

  • Comment number 53.

    So Hopkins was past his prime when he fought Calzaghe... Well, Calzaghe was (and is) also past his prime when he fought Hopkins. Neither was anywhere near what they had been at their peak.

    I believe Calzaghe used to have considerably more punching power than he has now. Of course they should have fought 5 years ago, when both were clearly at the top of their skills, and I really would not like to call the winner. Both are on the way down now... and they're still both better than any other contender out there. But a second fight between them would be as much "too late" as the first fight.

    And as for Ottke, it's a scandal that he ended with an unbeaten record. He was beaten fair and square by Hopkins and also by Robin Reid (himself a good fighter in his day), if the judging had been honest - sadly, it wasn't. And had Reid been given the decision, then a "Reid/Calzaghe 2" would have been a proper tear-up of a fight, albeit one which I think would have gone the way of their earlier fight - a close fight but ultimately a Calzaghe win. Calzaghe/Ottke would have been a knockout win for Calzaghe: if Reid could knock him down (which he did, fairly, no matter what the ref said), Calzaghe would have knocked him out. That's why Ottke never fought Calzaghe, and was only willing to fight Hopkins in Germany.

    Pavlik will learn from his defeat by Hopkins, and come back better: Kessler has already learned from his defeat by Calzaghe, and will also come back better. Kessler/Pavlik for the super-middleweight championship will be one to watch for the future (especially since neither has an unbeaten record to try and artificially protect). In time, both of them will be better fighters than Calzaghe and Hopkins are now. Whether either will become as good a fighter as Calzaghe or Hopkins at their respective peaks, we shall never know.

  • Comment number 54.

    Both men are boxing greats. All the criticts wouldn't be able to do any better with careers would they.

    It's very easy to criticise someone but to have watched their every step like some boxing fans have, takes a whole lot of commitment.

    It'g oign to be a great fight and i for one cannot wait. Would be nice to see Calzaghe win (yet again) and a KO isn't really on the cards so i'll go for a points win to Calzaghe.

    He is for me without a doubt the greatest boxer that has ever graced Wales, Great Britain and Europe.

    Good luck Joe.

  • Comment number 55.

    i do think it is a no win fight for calzaghe.

    the way i see it, while jones was fighting all the big names, putting on weight to fight at heavy weight (actively going out of his way to fight the big names), i have the perception that joe was just cruising along in a mediocre division.

    i feel joe has never taken the steps jones has to fight the big names.

    but sadly the weight draining has taken its toll on jones, and ultimately he has faded much more than calzaghe...

  • Comment number 56.

    whilst i dont want to waste much time commenting on the posts from andyjm1983 i do have to thank him for the best laugh in ages - froch to beat JC - brilliant. not in the same league i'm afraid. as for someone who believes the nonsense that froch offered JC 5 million for the fight, that says it all about your understanding of the fight game.

    do agree to a certain extent with you ben about it being no-win for Joe, but think if he wins in style it would secure the enhancement to his legacy he craves. who else is there to fight after all?

  • Comment number 57.

    Best of luck to you tomorrow evening Joe.

    I've seen around 10 of your fights live (including Hopkins, Kessler & Lacy). You've given me many great fight nights and your legacy as the best British boxer ever is assured.

    I hope that there's possibly one more fight - a coming home fight at the Millennium Stadium in front of a full house and then retire with pride and hopefully your unbeaten record in tact.

    There will always be wasters and to****s like andyjim 1983 around who either have a huge chip on their shoulder, are anti Welsh (or British in the case of the Yanks) or just don't understand anything about boxing (like andyjim 1983's pathetic comments) but all true boxing fans realise that this will be a special fight tomorrow evening and we're all behind you.

    Come on JC you're the best!!!

  • Comment number 58.

    Can't wait for the fight tomorrow. Never been to a live fight before so not sure what to expect, other than I will sing my heart out for Joe.

  • Comment number 59.

    I am a lightweight aged 55. I doubt if Roy Jones would beat me.

    Seven years ago when they were both champions, he would have slaughtered Joe. Today he is turning up for a paycheck.

    Mind you there is a return bout clause so.........

  • Comment number 60.

    Much as I love Joe - I first saw him fight at York Town Hall about 12 years ago and he was great then - I think the problem the British fans have with him is he doesn't "punch". His handspeed and accuracy are outstanding - he just doesn't K.O. like Benn, or Lennox Lewis, ..sadly it's those fighters that inspire and excite fans, not the prospect of another 12 round fight where he patiently disects his opponent - excellent ability and talent though that is. Sad but true. Still in my eyes a real GREAT of British boxing and one to be proud of - Go On Joe ! Put another US Legend on his bum !

  • Comment number 61.

    "At his peak, Jones was a marvel, with hands and feet as fast as a peak Muhammad Ali."

    Ben, did you ever actually SEE the peak Ali? That's the man before his argument with the US government. In those days there was plenty of boxing on TV, and extended highlights of many of Ali's fights were shown on, I think, the Wednesday BBC "Sportsnight". If an opponent managed to land one punch on Ali it was an event.

  • Comment number 62.

    Went to school with Joe. Very quiet boy then, with 2 very attractive sisters (hello sonja and melissa!), but according to my then girlfirend very easy to look at! Joe has ALWAYS been underrated as a boxer, but look what he has achieved! His opposition has been chosen for him, up until, what he himself admits, is the twilight of his career.

    Other fighters dodged him, mainly by putting unrealistic prices on themselves. If they TRULY wanted to prove themselves they would have boxed him whatever the price!

    What else does he need to do to prove himself to his knockers?!?!

    He is undefeated in all his professional fights.

    By his fellow professionals, JRJ included, he is the rated best PFP fighter in the world.

    He is the most successful welsh or british (and italian, I think) boxer ever!

    And so what if the fight tomorrow is a pension fixer. We will see the 2 best fighters currently in world boxing against each other. Good on them for feathering their own nests whilst putting on a treat for us! I am sure both of them are not not going to go easy on the other, as they both have something to prove.

    Come on Joe!

  • Comment number 63.

    Ok... let's clear up this Carl Froch idea...

    After JC's fight against Evans Ashira the "Cobra" put out the signals he wanted Calzaghe because the Welshman did not look that great.

    When Calzaghe demolished Lacy the Cobra suddenly went quiet...

    After a dirty fight against Bika... Froch offers the fight again...

    Then Kessler came along (after the farcical Manfredo) and when Calzaghe obliterated his talents Froch suddenly went quiet again.

    A poor but deserved performance against Hopkins and when already signed to fight Jones Jnr. the Cobra pipes up again.

    The man is pathetic... he knows he couldn't beat Calzaghe at his best...

    What Froch wants is a Calzaghe on the slide because he has no chance any other time.

  • Comment number 64.

    #43 Tenipurist:

    They WERE two of his most recent fights, you know. So yes I do feel able to offer an opinion.

    Hopkins was slow and way past his best, and even at his best he wasn't that great (I remember watching him in lots of his early fights on US TV). Bika was close to beating Calzaghe.

    British boxing fans always get caught up in the hype. Why? Because British boxers are over-protected and rarely get to fight top contenders. Almost without fail, British boxers get found wanting when up against top US, Mexican, South American or African boxers. Sure there are exceptions, but I could name 30 or 40 British disappointments off the top of my head. There's a reason why British fighters are rarely highly rated in the US, you know...

  • Comment number 65.

    For gods sake there is only three years between them anyone would think jones was fighting a twenty one year old

  • Comment number 66.

    Excumbrian - Hopkins was so past his best that he went on to destroy Pavlik - a fighter 17 years younger than him and working his way towards a title shot/showdown with Calzaghe.

    Calzaghe has fought everyone who has challenged him and beat them. He will do the same to Jones

  • Comment number 67.

    Calzaghe should have fought the likes of RJK, Hopkins, Tarver, Johnson etc. in his Prime.

    Fighting RJJ now is pointless.

    RJJ was KO'd by both Johnson and Tarver.
    RJJ is a legend, but a washed-up fighter.

    Calzaghe needs to have a rematch with Hopkins

  • Comment number 68.

    "Calzaghe has fought everyone who has challenged him and beat them"

    Now let's see -- quality opponents on Calzaghe's record:
    Eubank (33 yrs old) 1997. Eubank had 2 weeks' notice of the fight, his last at super-middleweight. 12 round decision
    Next name opponent: Charles Brewer, 12 round decision in Cardiff
    Jimenez: 12 round decision, Cardiff
    Lacy (33 years old); 12 round decision, Manchester
    Kessler: 12 round decision, Cardiff
    Hopkins (age 43): 12 round split decision, Las Vegas, knocked down in 1st round

    ...er, that's it.

    And this is the man who tells us he's going to knock out Roy Jones? I doubt it.


  • Comment number 69.

    Apologies, I've been having touble with my internet access...

    Subterranean - I don't think anyone's saying he'll have gone from "great fighter to loser" if he loses this. Just that some - and I stress "some" - people will feel a loss will affect how they view Calzaghe in the future.

    We all follow united - "Calzaghe's record is brilliant and no-one can say otherwise". That's the whole point - they can, and they do.

    As for Froch, I think he's a pretty decent fighter and I hope he wins Joe's old title on 6 December. But I'm not sure he'd be a match for Calzaghe... saying that, British boxing needs him because there's not much around once Hatton and Calzaghe decide to hang 'em up...



  • Comment number 70.

    Would just like to remind people who are making something of this fight that RJJ was recently KO'd by a passed it Tarver and Glen Johnson.

    Calzaghe should have faced Pavlik or the best.

    But, as with his tradition, he prefers the 2nd best.

  • Comment number 71.

    Belmons - Sorry, forgot to answer your point. Yes, of course you're right, no-one ever managed to land a punch on his at his peak... hang on a second, did someone mention Henry Cooper?

  • Comment number 72.

    Whilst I respect Joe I really cannot understand this "legend" talk and it shows how little people really know about boxing. How can a man who held the WBO title for so long be considered a legend in boxing? Do we (The English) consider ex Wolves striker Steve Bull one of our greatest ever strikers? No we don't. The reason being he never scored enough goals in the top flight of football. Which top ranked boxers has Joe fought in their prime? Kessler (from that great boxing nation of.....Denmark) is an average fighter at best. Lacy is nothing more than a blown up light middleweight, Eubank was over the hill, Brewer the same. The Hopkins win was just a case of quantity beating quality (in terms of punches...or in Joe's case slaps). Americans are not interested in the WBO when they're at their peak. The look at that title as one more decent pay-day on the way down.

    A true legend is "Hitman" Hatton. He discarded his WBO title(s) at the earliest opportunity and stepped up to the plate to fight the best IN THEIR PRIME. He didn't wait for boxing to fall into the doldrums and then clean up.And before people respond with the old excuse of "people didn't want to fight Joe" what stopped him from heading for any of the big 3 titles as opposed for the WBO?

  • Comment number 73.

    Sorry one more comment. Please don't hate. I'm just stating facts.

    I wish Joe all the best for this morning and wish him a safe return to these shores. To fight a true legend like RJJ is a great way to finish off your career. Forget Pavlik. He needs to cement his own place in the annuls of boxing and shouldn't be using you (at this stage of your career) to try and get there.

    Peace.

  • Comment number 74.

    Dont you get sick of reading the shite that the british press put out or hope to put out. They all spout out about "has-beens" and "he fought nobodies" not realising how easy it is to say all this from behind a desk. I am English and therefore British and I love my country but if anyone ever asks me what I hate about my country then the "press" are right up there near the top of the pile". They all seem to know more and know better than anyone else and yet hardly any of them have any physical experience in their own fields.
    Stick one of them in the ring with the worst fighter Calzaghe has faced and lets see who fairs best!!!
    Come on Joe, by FAR the best pound for pound fighter i have ever seen!!!

  • Comment number 75.

    Well now cowboys, what does humble pie taste like? I hear it is a bit hard to digest, what do you say "andyjim"? Oh sorry, you can't really talk with yer mouth full, can you cowboy?

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.