Lacy vs. Tarver? What About Calzaghe, aka ‘The English Patient’?
By Sergio Martinez (November 13, 2005)  
Joe Calzaghe
Following his victory this past Saturday night, Florida’s Jeff ‘Left Hook’ Lacy called out 175-pound kingpin, Antonio Tarver. Since then boxing sites and message boards have been buzzing with the possibility of this match-up. Lacy, who is huge for 168-pounds, could easily move up to 175-pounds and take on his fellow Floridian, Tarver, who is now well into his thirty-sixth birthday. Although Tarver is a solid southpaw fighter with good power in both fists, it is hard to fathom that he would be able to withstand the hard charging, heavy-handed, sturdy chinned twenty-seven-year-old challenger’s bulrush and last the distance. Besides, Left Hook’s business at 168-pounds is not finished yet.

Whether we like it or not (I’m in the ‘not’ category), there are still many in the sport, and boxing ‘aficionados’ all over the world who are not convinced that Jeff is the best super middleweight on the planet, arguing that a healthy Joe Calzaghe would box circles around the young American champion. The problem is that Joe Klitschko, sorry, I meant Calzaghe, always seems to get hurt before career defining fights.

Take his last title defense against Evans Ashira as a case in point. It is not a question of whether Calzaghe’s broken hand injury is legitimate, but the fact that he actually mentioned the possibility of it prior to the fight. Also, as soon as the contest ended, and without the benefit of an official diagnosis from a licensed physician, Calzaghe’s promoter Frank Warren was quick to say that the fight against Lacy would be postponed until further notice.

Lacy’s manager Gary Shaw was quick to criticize, firing harsh comments at the Welshman and his promoter. In a press release to the public by Sports Network, Calzaghe fired back saying, "I'm devastated with the injury but I've proved my heart and skill to everyone by fighting one handed for eight rounds. My victory was soured by the comments made by Shaw saying that I'm using this as an excuse to avoid fighting Lacy. Let's get one thing straight, there is no way I would use this injury as an excuse to avoid fighting Lacy who I know I can knock clean out. I'm the draw and the best in the division and Lacy knows it. That's why he needs me more than I need him. What is there to be scared of? Nothing. Shaw and Lacy will certainly not dictate to me where and when I fight that is down to Frank Warren and myself. Frank has offered them the chance to fight me before and they are the ones who have turned it down claiming that they are not ready to fight me yet. I don't know who's got the bigger mouth, Lacy or Shaw. I want to get it on so I can knock Lacy out once and for all."

No disrespect meant, but how pathetic and undeserving of a title shot must Evans Ashira have been for Calzaghe to have been able to completely dominate and outbox the ‘African Warrior’ for eight rounds using only one serviceable fist? Jesus ‘El Matador’ Chavez, is a world champion, was able to win a couple of rounds against Erik ‘El Terrible’ Morales, using only one appendage for nine rounds, which is a testament to his quality, but in the end he was clearly outmatched. Ashira is exactly the type of limited opposition that ‘The Pride of Wales’ continues to face, causing frustration from boxing fans and media alike to mount against the ‘Italian Dragon’.

Also, Calzaghe’s claim of proving his “heart and skill to everyone by fighting one handed for eight rounds” is a very self serving statement with not much in the way of substance behind it. There is a much easier way to prove your “heart and skill” Joe, just step into the ring and fight Jeff Lacy as soon as possible so that you can prove to the world what you and your promoter continue to claim; that you are the best 168-pounder in the world. Until that day happens, listen to your doctor, take your pain killers, and sleep safely in your home in Wales.
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