Lacy Finished as Super Middleweight Champion?

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 7, 2005

NEW YORK — Jeff Lacy retained the IBF super middleweight championship with a second-round stoppage of No. 5-ranked Scott Pemberton, at Lake Tahoe, NV on Saturday.

Pemberton could not escape the speed and furry of Lacy’s uppercuts, overhands, and hooks. The bout was stopped at the 2:59 mark by referee Vic Draculich.

Lacy is one of boxing’s fastest rising stars. He is young, undefeated, fast, and furious with knockout power in both hands. Lacy (21-0, 17 KOs) also has a record of 6-0 in super middleweight title fights. Pemberton (29-4-1, 24 KOs) was Lacy’s fifth consecutive successful defense.

Lacy’s tenure as a super middleweight could possibly be over, as the only meaningful fight for Lacy at 168 pounds appears highly unlikely that it will ever occur.

The only fighter who has a chance to beat Lacy is undefeated, but unrecognized WBO super middleweight champion, Joe Calzaghe (41-0, 31 KOs) of England. Both fighters have expressed their desire to fight one another.

However, according to Gary Shaw, Lacy’s promoter, it appears that Calzaghe, who has never fought in the United States, and his promoter Frank Warren, are not willing to accept an offer to fight Lacy.

“SHOWTIME had November 5 reserved, Jeff was ready to fight in Cardiff, London, or any other home court venue Team Calzaghe desired,” Shaw said. “Calzaghe’s promoter, I should have known he did not want Calzaghe to fight Jeff. Having Calzaghe take a meaningless fight against a meaningless opponent. Evans Ashira was the WBO’s No. 9-rated middleweight contender in its July 2005 ratings! Warren didn’t want rounds for Calzaghe, he wanted an escape hatch from fighting Jeff!”

In August Lacy successfully defeated former world 168-pound champion Robin Reid. Calzaghe, who defeated WBO No. 9-ranked, Evans Ashira, was supposed to have fought Lacy in a 168-pound unification match on Nov. 5. Calzaghe 5. Calzaghe reportedly broke his hand during his twelve-round victory.

Where does Lacy go since a unification bout with Calzaghe appears unlikely? Lacy could perhaps abandon the super middleweight class for Jones and Tarver in the light heavyweight division.

There is talk of Lacy abandoning the super middleweight division to pursue a bout against fellow-Florida native, Antonio Tarver or even challenge Roy Jones, Jr. in the light-heavyweight division.

When Tarver defeated Jones again in their highly anticipated rubber match on October, the fight drew a record-crowd 21,000 at St. Pete’s Times Forum in Tampa, FL. The previous venue record was Lacy’s August defense against former 168-pound champion, Robin Reid which drew 18,000.

Lacy, Tarver, and Jones were all born and raised in Florida. Any fight between Lacy against Tarver or Jones would generate a new found aura and excitement in boxing.

Lacy at 28, is boxing’s new rising star, as opposed to a 36-year-old Jones, who has won world championships in four different weight divisions, including a heavyweight title in March 2003 and Tarver, 36, who is just reaching the peak of his career.