Calzaghe shuts out Lacy, A king is born
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.