Former undefeated boxing champion Joe Calzaghe - now 37 years of age - had an amazing professional boxing career. Filled with highs and lows, it is the opinion of this writer that the highs of his career blot out the lows:

Joe Calzaghe started boxing at the age of nine. This Welshman won a total of four ABA titles (British Championships) with having more than one hundred and twenty amateur fights before turning pro. His most notable amateur win was beating former heavyweight champion, Chris Byrd. Joe was highly-touted from the very beginning.

Calzaghe turned pro in 1993, fighting opponents well below his skill level, until facing off against British legend and ex champion, Chris Eubank. Calzaghe, up to this point was untested as a boxer, with no equal to test his in-ring ability. That would all change in October 1997. The two super middleweights fought a high paced twelve round bout. The Welshman knocked Chris Eubank down in the first round with a powerful straight left hand. Eubank recovered, got up, and as Calzaghe now recalls, "he smilled at me, and gave me the toughest fight of my career." Before facing Chris Eubank, Calzaghe had never went the full twelve rounds. He was forced to fight the whole match this time, because Eubank had a great chin, and was tough as nails. After beating the veteran, there was no denying Calzaghe's skill, or his desire to win. "The Pride Of Wales" was a force to be reckoned with.

Joe Calzaghe might have proven he was a legitimate force inside the ring, but that didn't mean his promoter at the time (Frank Warren) was going to give Calzaghe the big fights he wanted. No, instead Frank Warren was going to use the Welshman as a cash cow. Rather than living up to his potential, Calzaghe was forced to defend his new WBO belt against the likes of David Starie, Omar Sheika and Tocker Pudwill. If there was a low point in Calzaghe's career, besides his all too often injured left hand, this was it. Joe Calzaghe, in the prime of his career was forced to neglect his natural athletic ability for his promoter's greed. Stardom had not yet arrived, but it would.

Joe Calzaghe's spot in the limelight came in March 2006, when Jeff Lacy, at the time labeled "The next Mike Tyson" traveled to Wales by way of America to challenge Joe Calzaghe for his WBO belt. "The Pride Of Wales" showed why he was the pride of Wales. He systematically battered the young Jeff Lacy over the course of twelve rounds to win by unanimous decision on all three judges score cards. Joe Calzaghe was now undoubtedly the best super middleweight in the world, and he had Jeff Lacy's IBF belt to go along with the respect he had craved for so long.

Joe Calzaghe went on to unify the super middleweight division before moving up in weight to fight Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. to end his Cinderella-like career. He finished with a perfect 46-0 record. Not since the late Rocky Marciano has a high-profile boxing champion retire undefeated. Calzaghe announced he was done with boxing in February 2009.

While Calzaghe did not benefit fully from his ability and got off to a slow start after beating Chris Eubank, he made up for his promoter's greed at the tail end of his career. He did not fight the biggest names in their prime, but he beat everyone put in front of him. Blessed with speed, superb movement and an innate desire to win, Joe Calzaghe "The Pride Of Wales" was truly great.

This writer feels that Joe Calzaghe will go down in history as one of the best to ever to lace them up from the British Isles. Even after his retirement, Joe Calzaghe continues to be underrated by boxing fans.