Saturday, March 04, 2006

Calzaghe shuts out Lacy, A king is born

By JE Grant

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND --- In one sterling performance, Welshman Joe Calzaghe wiped away years of criticism and frustration by dominating virtually every minute of every round against Jeff Lacy to unify the super-middleweight world championship.

The bout, fought at 2:00 a.m. in the M.E.N. Arena, was to have been the defining fight that Calzaghe and Lacy sought – though both could have easily continued fighting WBO and IBF mandatories without ever crossing paths.

For Calzaghe, 41-0 (31 KOs), Wales, 168, finding definition was critical. He entered the boxing ring just shy of 34 years old, and with an avalanche of naysayers (this writer included) claiming that he had until this moment always found a way to avoid the big fights.

The younger, ostensibly stronger, Lacy, 21-1, 1 NC (17 KOs), St. Petersburg, Fla., 167, intended to use this fight as the cornerstone of what many (this writer included) thought would become a special career.

On this early English morning it was Calzaghe who solidified his stake, not only as the premiere super-middleweight but as a top pound-for-pound champion.

Early in round one Calzaghe set the tenor landing snapping straight right jabs from his southpaw stance; finding a home for strong left uppercuts; and consistently pulling “Left Hook” out of position.

Fighting from the outside Calzaghe landed with authority. Fighting from the inside, Calzaghe out-speeded and out fought the powerhouse Lacy.

Rounds 1 through 11 were almost Xerox copies. In every facet of the game, from boxing to power hitting, it was Calzaghe who came out on top of every encounter. He tied up Lacy when necessary – which was relatively rarely.

Importantly, Calzaghe never appeared to be simply the speedy boxer who avoided the puncher. He stood and fought at times of his choosing. He never ran.

On the contrary. Calzaghe pursued and threw the stronger and more telling blows in every round.

In round 12 Calzaghe elected to fight instead of trying to kill the clock. Showing a determination to end the fight if possible, he continued to rumble. He scored a knockdown that did not appear to be from a punch, nevertheless it had no effect on the outcome.

It was purely a Calzaghe fight. Period.

Lacy seemed to agree.

“He fought remarkable tonight,” said Lacy to Showtime’s Jim Gray in a post-fight interview. “He fought a perfect fight.”

Calzaghe appeared humble in his post-fight appearance, but nevertheless is looking to the future.

“I want in big fights,” he said.

Although commonly used as a platform for self-aggrandizement, Calzaghe’s post-fight interview was as perfectly gentlemanly as if he had just presented a paper at an academic convention.

“I’m over the moon,” he said softly to Gray without a hint of boastfulness.

Certainly the world will see Joe Calzaghe in a different light. The criticism will almost instantly melt away – and the talk of all-time greatness will emerge.

His chance for giant paydays is at hand.

As for Lacy, he is young and strong. Despite a thorough shellacking, he did not take a devastating beating. Working on boxing’s finer points could very well get him back into a title picture very soon.

Scoring of the bout by judges: Nelson Vazquez 119-105; Roy Francis and Adelaide Byrd 119-107. JEBoxing also scored the bout 119-107. Calzaghe had a point deducted in round 11 for holding.

Say hello to boxing’s “new” king, Joe Calzaghe. Long live the king.


Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Excellent article JE.Wow...Calzaghe was completely outboxing him,outfoxing him,and...There's just no other way to put it folks;he was just plain KICKING HIS ASS.And for 12 full rounds.

Wow.I knew Calzaghe was good,but I didn't know he was THAT good!

*Sidenote-I really thought the corner of Lacy should have thrown in the towel at some point in the latter stages of the fight.

5:13 AM  
Blogger Gary Digital Williams said...


The whooping that Calzaghe gave Lacy was so bad, one of my friends had to use the scientific term for ass-whupping:


That performance, in my opinion, ranks very close to what Bernard Hopkins did to Felix Trinidad in 2001. Calzaghe was absolutely superb!

5:23 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Totally agreed Gary.(Good to see you as well.) There is a definite sense of irony here.The 'new king',is the 'old king'.What an impressive performance by Calzaghe.Perhaps greatness has been right under our noses all along,huh?

1:26 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Future Calzaghe fights I wouldn't mind seeing? Here we go...

Calzaghe-Kessler at 168.
Calzaghe-Taylor at 168.(Should Taylor beat Winky of course.)
Calzaghe-Tarver at 175.(The best choice IMO.)

Calzaghe-Jones??? Perhaps 5 yrs. ago,but not now.Good lord.I can't believe that one is even being discussed.As for Calzaghe-Hopkins,basically the same (but not quite 5.yrs maybe.)

Hey,I would rather see Joe against Erdei,Adamak,Woods,or Johnson than those two at this point.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Also,I will go out on a limb here and say that with last nights performance-coupled with 18 title defenses-JC is right now (as we speak) a borderline Hall of Famer.A victory over Taylor,Kessler,or esp. Tarver--would make him an absolute slam-dunk shoo-in in my opinion.I believe JC has about two good years left in him,let's see what else he can do...

1:34 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Man...I just watched this fight again with a friend I recorded it for.Like Gary said--how many different ways can you say complete ASS-KICKING??? I mean,you could almost make a case for scoring all 12 rounds 10-8!Not only did Lacy not win a single minute of a round--I'm not certain if he even won a 10-second segment! I will say this about Lacy however: Yes,he was 'exposed' to a certain degree,but what a chin and determination.But I think-much like Sam Peter-he 'is-what-he-is'.In the most simplified of terms,good...But not great.Also,Lacy is not THAT young for a fighter at 28.I mean,if Lacy was about 20 or even 25,I would obviuosly give him more of a chance to better himself and evolve.But that being said,he still beats most all of the super middleweights.But I don't think he beats Kessler,or Taylor at 168.And he certainly won't beat Calzaghe.No way,no how.Jeff better hope ol' Joe moves up to 175!

6:21 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

BTW-You have to watch out for those 34-year old half-Italians folks.*Wink*


6:23 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I hope he moves on to Beyer or Kessler. Unifications seem to be the only way to credibility. Once a fighter unifies the belts lose their meaning -- ala Jermain Taylor. Everyone knows he is the real champion.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

So true JE...

11:13 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

In fact I would say that the sanctioning bodies have now realized that it is in their interest to keep the titles separate. Just think of the money one or more of the organizations would have been extorting from Antonio Tarver had he kept the belts.

5:49 AM  

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