Calzaghe has too much hustle
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.