Super, Super Joe…Super Joe Calzaghe! - Boxing
By Danny Serratelli at ringside for Doghouse Boxing (Nov 10, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Bob Kolb)
The chants of “Super Joe Calzaghe” started early in the evening and never stopped. There would be no question that both fighters gave 100% at the final bell, it was just too little too late for Roy Jones Jr. Despite the fact that the fight took place in Madison Square Garden in New York City, USA, there seemed to be more Joe Calzaghe fans than Roy Jones fans. The atmosphere was very exciting and the chants were going all night, the most consistent…Super, Super Joe, Super Joe Calzaghe! The American fans answered back with USA, USA! This was answered back with Wales! Wales! There were a lot of Welsh flags and even a section of fans with big afro wigs that matched the Welsh flag.

I sat next to Tony from Wales who filled me in on how he felt about Joe and about boxing, and other sports
for that matter. By the end of the night Tony and his girlfriend promised me a place to stay in Cardiff should Joe decide to fight again in Wales whether it is a rematch with Bernard Hopkins, a unification bout with Chad Dawson, or anyone else. The passion of the Welsh fans was awesome, and something that seems to be lacking here in America for many reasons.

Despite the fact that the Welsh fans were annoying many of their American counterparts at times, the ones I spoke with were all very knowledgeable boxing fans and also respectful individuals who actually apologized for cheering like madmen. They had crossed the Atlantic to see Joe fight Roy Jones and it wasn’t the first time they had traveled to America for the fights. They admitted that they had great respect for Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins and were fans of many American fighters as well. Of course we agreed to disagree on how Roy Jones would have done in his prime against Joe or Nigel Benn. I argued that Roy probably would have had his way with both, much like he did with Bernard Hopkins and James Toney back in 1993 and 1994. They argued that both would have beaten Roy. They wanted to know, why should Joe have to come over here and why wouldn’t Roy ever come defend across the pond?

Eventually the main event started and the energy in Madison Square Garden was indescribable. I would compare it with some of the Felix Trinidad fights I have seen in Madison Square Garden and Arturo Gatti fights I had seen in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Not really like a heavyweight championship fight or an Oscar De La Hoya fight, which are often filled with people who aren’t hardcore boxing fans. There was more passion in the Garden for Calzaghe vs. Jones, more like that of the World Cup finals.

The first round started much like Calzaghe’s fight with Bernard Hopkins in that Joe was dropped with a clean punch that hurt him, but Joe recovered quickly and both Hopkins and Jones had too much respect for Joe to really follow up after the knockdown…when in retrospect they both probably should have. Joe would later say that he got caught in both fights early trying to keep his hands up and that he feels more comfortable and loose with his hands down. He also explained that many of his strange moves were habits he picks up in the gym when he finds his groove and gets in his zone having fun. He would go on to explain that his style is impossible to prepare for, a southpaw who is unorthodox, fast and awkward.

Jones to his credit kept trying to take shots, but admittedly could not touch Calzaghe and couldn’t seem to understand why. While Calzaghe often doesn’t look very impressive at first either defensively or offensively he is very busy, strong and slick defensively. He usually doesn’t look very slick, but he leaves top champions like Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones scratching their heads, so looks can be deceiving.

Roy Jones showed how bad he wanted this fight when he was cut bad and if he had any quit in him, the chance for the fight to be stopped was there. From ringside it appeared the fight would be stopped in between rounds several times. However to Roy’s credit, and despite what appeared to be either bad work from the corner or just an unmanageable cut, Roy knew he always had a chance to catch Calzaghe and hurt him and he kept trying up until the final bell.

Early on, it started to become clear that Roy couldn’t keep the pace that Joe set, but Roy did a good job of keeping his hands up and he adapted to what his body would give him at this point of his career. In the end all three judges gave Roy a 10-8 round for the knockdown in the 1st round, and gave Calzaghe a clean sweep on rounds 2 through 12. My card gave Jones one other round, but every time Jones did something to give him a chance to win a round, Calzaghe answered with a very high work rate that Roy couldn’t keep up with.

Another arguable point from ringside was what Roy has left at this point of his career. Roy was reminiscent of the great cornerback Dion Sanders late in his career. He was still a solid corner who could fake the flash, but he was no longer capable of the magic he created in his prime, when he was known as “Prime Time”. Roy was solid, he looked and moved like Roy Jones Jr, however many of Roy’s fighters from Pensacola Florida like Derrick “Smoke” Gainer and even Keieyon Bussy, a junior featherweight who won on the undercard of this fight move like Roy Jones Jr. The difference is looking and moving like Roy Jones Jr. does not mean you can pull the trigger and do all the special things that Jones was capable of in the past. Anyone can pretend to be Roy Jones Jr. in the ring, I have done it and have seen many others do it, and unfortunately Roy Jones was doing it last night. However, Roy is a true champion and true champions want to prove that they aren’t all flash but heart too, and Roy accomplished that in this fight with Calzaghe.

After the fight Joe was visibly excited and honored that he had the opportunity to come to America to fight and beat two great champions in Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. With a lot of pressure at the post fight press conference to announce his next move Joe explained that he is not a sadist. He said he wants to enjoy the victory for a minute. One member of the press who had his laptop told Joe that a press release was already sent out from Chad Dawson’s camp congratulating Joe and offering to go over to Wales to fight Joe and unify the titles. Calzaghe, who had helped promote this card, suggested Mikkel Kessler and Bernard Hopkins, who both attended the fight, should fight each other and he can promote it.

Roy Jones can walk with his head held high, he came to fight and it appeared his body just was lacking just a little bit, the tiny difference that separates a great fighter, which Roy always was, from a good fighter which Roy is now. This fight should dull the memories of the second two Tarver fights and especially the Glenn Johnson fight.

This would be a great note for Calzaghe to exit on; however considering this is the status he has dreamed of his whole career, it will be difficult to resist the temptation to get back in the ring. My guess is that we will see Super Joe Calzaghe back in the ring again soon!

Also See: Boxing Photo Gallery: Joe Calzaghe 's victory over Roy Jones Jr Bob Kolb

Danny writes for Doghouse as well as his own website at BrickCityBoxing.
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