Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Look Back: Joe Calzaghe vs. Roy Jones Jr.

November 2008: Two ring legends, Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jr. gave boxing fans a memory they wont soon forget. Although half of the fight was more like an exhibition bout and the fight itself took place about 8 years too late, it still was exciting to see both men share the ring together. And the fight let us piece the puzzle together on what (most likely) would have happened had these two fighters met in November of 2000.

I was expecting Joe Calzaghe to come into the fight and dominate. He did dominate, but not in the way I expected; I was thinking more along the lines of him knocking Roy Jones Jr. out early, or in the mid-rounds.

The first round was full of drama with Roy Jones Jr. showing superior speed in the center of the ring - he also had more snap on his punches. He knocked Joe Calzaghe down towards the end of the first. Definitely a surprise to me.

The second round saw Calzaghe fully recuperated from the first round knock down, but Roy Jones Jr. was still landing clean, crisp punches. In my view, Jones took the first 2 rounds.

The tide turned in the third round as Joe Calzaghe dominated Roy Jones against the ropes and in the center of the ring.

Round four was more of the same; Calzaghe throwing and landing more punches.

Round 5 was a close round to score and could have gone either way. Both men had moments. I personally scored it for Roy Jones Jr. on his cleaner, harder punches.

Round 6 was clearly Joe Calzaghe's round, even though he got hit with a monstrous uppercut at the tail end of the round. If Calzaghe didn't have such a good chin, I doubt he would have been standing after that punch.

Round 7 was an interesting round; Roy Jones Jr. started to jab Calzaghe. And he was troubling Calzaghe as he tried to get inside. Jones mixed it up - you could almost see the wheels turning inside Calzaghe's head. After Jones landed effective jabs to keep Joe at bay, Calzaghe landed a couple of straight left hands which opened a cut above Jones' left eye. After suffering the cut, it was all down hill for Roy.

The remainder of the fight was all Joe Calzaghe, as he cruised to a UD.

I take nothing away from Calzaghe. It was an impressive win for him - after all, he was 36 years old himself. But let's not lose sight of the fact that Jones was not being blown out of the water until AFTER he sustained that cut. I doubt Roy would have won had he not suffered the cut, but I believe the fight would have been much more competitive.

Roy Jones Jr., even at age 39 had the quicker single shots and the crisper, harder, cleaner punches on the night. Calzaghe was faster with flurries and foot work.

Which leads me to my conclusion: Prime for prime, Roy Jones Jr. wins by a wide UD. Roy Jones Jr. was simply too fast for Joe Calzaghe, at any time in his career (watch the first 7 rounds of Calzaghe-Jones to see what I'm talking about).

Whatever the case, both fighters gave us an opportunity to see their styles clash. At least they fought; better late than never.

Both fighters will undoubtedly be inducted into the boxing hall of fame.

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