Sunday, November 18, 2007

Calzaghe: The man at the top

By JE Grant

If a boxing scribe has been harder on Joe Calzaghe than me, I’m not sure who it is. I’ve criticized his opponent selection and the fact that he never leaves home, blah, blah, blah.

But, whatever happens in his career from now on, it is clear that he is and likely always has been the real thing. Powerful, convincing wins over hard-hitting and undefeated titlists Jeff Lacy and Mikkel Kessler provide ample evidence that the promotional deficits in getting him into the ring with the likes of Bernard Hopkins, did not and do not tell his story.

Calzaghe’s chin is now proven without doubt. Although not a big hitter, he is fast enough and hits with enough authority to keep opponents honest. His consistent level of fitness demonstrates extraordinary dedication --- the kind found only in top champions.

I don’t know if he will get to face Hopkins, but at last I believe he really wants to. The truth is I have doubts as to whether Hopkins wants the match. Surely money is not the issue because it would generate a monster gate and huge pay-per-view results.

At age 35, he does not have a great deal of time. But, at 44-0, he probably doesn’t want much more of the sport.
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