10 November, 2008 by Frances Martel


Photo: Rafael Martel
New York, NY- In the spirit of understatement, it was a pretty joyous week for our side of the Pond. We weren’t the only ones with reason to celebrate, though. The pride of Wales and undisputable pound-for-pound king reasserted his crown, to paraphrase Joe Calzaghe (46-0, 32 KOs), in fairy tale fashion. His victory may bring alight a world a world of sheep and dragons that has traditionally not held its own too strongly against boxing powerhouses like Eastern Europe and the US, but the place in history he has now reserved belongs not to Wales, nor to the division, or to the sport itself. Calzaghe’s success is all his own.


Calzaghe has defeated a great number of his opponents, especially in more recent months, away from his home turf. Yet last night there were no indications that the fight was taking place even a mile away from Newbridge. The Welsh dragon lined the seating areas and wrapped his scaly tail snugly around the contours of every fluorescently pale tourist roaming the venue. The arena overflowed with a chemical euphoria exacerbated by the geist that only a celebratory New York high on its own Saturday night fumes could summon. The crowd composed one unified understanding of emotion, and the strings controlling it were puppeteered gingerly by the hand of their pagan deity with winks and smiles from (literally) above. The “home” crowd, on the other hand, exhibited an apathy (mostly a product of sheer number, not individual energy level) comparable only to Roy Jones, Jr.’s (52-5, 38 KOs) excitement levels in pre-fight interviews, but with the anticipation building from watching Calzaghe appear for seconds at a time with the enthusiasm for boxing of a 8-year-old that just had his first viewing of “Rocky, ”the lack of interest from the other side did little to damper the mood of the night.


From the sound of the first bell, the fight was Calzaghe’s to lose. His punches were cleaner, his moves faster and sounder than the attempts by Jones to accurately land and intimidate Calzaghe. In my preview I had anticipated Calzaghe to win soundly save for a surprise knockdown from a once-magnificent champion, but I must admit I did not anticipate both. But then Calzaghe found it pertinent to fall questionably, giving Jones the very early advantage but declaring after the fight that it was his boots that made him slip— the same ones he had worn against Bernard Hopkins (49-5-1, 32 KOs). With the crowd’s breath on hold and the naysayers up and ready to close the curtain on Calzaghe’s career, he took his sweet time after Round 1 to dismantle Jones piece by piece. Jones could barely get a punch in, and when he did he was greeted with quick and merciless barrages that made even trying to land a worthless strategy. By the seventh round, where Jones’face had been obscured in a curtain of his own blood and his spirit appeared even weaker than his body, Calzaghe gave up on defense altogether, dropping his hands and toying around with Jones with mid-round dancing breaks. For every round after this the crowd anticipated a stoppage, and Jones too appeared concerned with even trying to steal a round from under Calzaghe. Yet he came out and took the punishment like the great champion he is, even if it did appear that he had given up halfway through the battle.

Super fighter Joe Calzaghe and his father Enzo to the right of the picture at the post-fight press conference at the Garden. Photo: Rafael Martel. Madison Square Garden, NY. 8 November, 2008.
Read full story at Ringtalk.com.

Also read Joe Calzaghe’s BBC interview HERE.


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