Tuesday’s Boxing News & Notes

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 9, 2008

Joe Calzaghe attempts to trap Roy Jones, Jr. against the ropes. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

Joe Calzaghe attempts to trap Roy Jones, Jr. against the ropes. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

NEW YORK — In 2008, Joe Calzaghe has cemented his legacy as a great fighter by defeating the most recognized light heavyweights in the world. Seven months after a 12-round split decision against Bernard Hopkins, Calzaghe returned to the United States to dominate perhaps the best boxer in the last 15 years.

In front of 14,192 spectators at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, Calzaghe (46-0, 32 KOs) survived a first-round knockdown to abuse a bloody and battered Roy Jones, Jr. (52-5, 38 KOs) through 12 rounds to win a unanimous decision.

There were many questions as to whether Calzaghe could handle Jones’ strength and whether he would be able to get his rapid combinations off effectively. Also, could Jones turn back the clock and display some of the dazzling skills that led him to four-division world titles including a world heavyweight championship.

It appeared as though Jones, at 39, would defy father time. Jones was aggressive, flashy, and in control. Calzaghe didn’t respond well to Jones’ straight rights and combinations which led to a knockdown.

“He caught me with a good shot,” Calzaghe said. “I got off the ground and came back stronger. To be honest, I didn’t see the punch coming.”

Roy Jones, Jr. may not have been able to figure out Joe Calzaghe's style, but the Welshman knew to attack aggressively if Jones was trapped against the ropes. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

Roy Jones, Jr. may not have been able to figure out Joe Calzaghe's style, but the Welshman knew to attack aggressively if Jones was trapped against the ropes. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

Jones would continue to beat Calzaghe to the punch in the second round, but after that it was all Calzaghe.

The fight would have been easy for Jones had he kept his punch volume ands effectiveness at peak level away from the ropes. However, in the third round, Jones started to lean comfortably against the ropes and Calzaghe took full advantage.

Calzaghe, similar to when he was knocked down in the first round of his U.S. debut in April against Bernard Hopkins, fought his way back. Calzaghe threw five-six punch combinations and did not allow Jones to move forward. Calzaghe outpunched and at times mocked Jones with his showboating taunts.

Calzaghe even had to nerve to stand in front of Jones with his hands on his side while sticking his tongue out. “That’s my style,” Calzaghe added. “I felt more relaxed with my hands down. It’s hard to fight my style. I have many styles.”

In the seventh, a cut above Jones’ left eye was caused by one of the many right hands Calzaghe threw. To make things worse, Jones’ corner couldn’t control the bleeding. For the remainder of the bout, ringside physicians had to investigate the severity of the cut between rounds.

Joe Calzaghe attacks Roy Jones, Jr. with a solid left hand between his gloves. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

Joe Calzaghe attacks Roy Jones, Jr. with a solid left hand between his gloves. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

Jones would ask for “one more round” and the medical staff of the New York State Athletic Commission allowed Jones to walk out of his corner with a trickle of blood oozing from his eye.

It was a disturbing scene to watch Jones, a fighter that hardly lost rounds in his professional career, bleed like a wounded animal and appear defenseless against a raging Welshman in Calzaghe.

Calzaghe was relentless in his attack and appeared to have had Jones on the verge of a stoppage in the tenth and eleventh rounds. But it was clear that Calzaghe didn’t want tom commit anymore damage that what was already done. Calzaghe too wanted to hear the sound of the final bell at the end of twelve rounds.

All three official ringside judges scored the bout 118-109 for Calzaghe.

Jones, Jr. successful comeback falls short

Joe Calzaghe outworked Jones and even did a little showboating. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

Joe Calzaghe outworked Jones and even did a little showboating. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

Jones was so confident of victory heading into the fight with Calzaghe. Jones also felt that the decision wins against Badi Amaju, Anthony Hanshaw, and an overweight Felix Trinidad had helped him regain the form he once had before suffering those three devastating losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson nearly five years ago.

Jones believed that he could beat the younger 36 year-old because, Calzaghe’s pitty-pat flurries wouldn’t hold off “RJJ.”

Even after an early knockdown and an early lead, Jones didn’t finish the job. Jones couldn’t solve the pity-pat puzzle that is Joe Calzaghe because, “those pitty-pat punches were a little harder than I thought. I couldn’t figure him out,” Jones said.

Statistics reflect Calzaghe’s dominance

According to CompuBox, Calzaghe threw 985 total punches to Jones’ 475. Calzaghe connected 344 to Jones 159 overall punches landed. Also, Calzaghe landed 108 more jabs than Jones (120-12) and connected more power punches (224-147).

The 344 punches landed by Calzaghe was the most punches any fighter connected against Jones.

Joe Calzaghe pummels Roy Jones, Jr. at will. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

Joe Calzaghe pummels Roy Jones, Jr. at will. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

The end of the road of Calzaghe?

Calzaghe said that his victory against Jones was perhaps the last of a remarkable career that didn’t see Calzaghe lose one professional contest.

“I have to sit down and think about it,” Calzaghe said. “This may have been my very last fight.”

Calzaghe is perhaps the greatest super middleweight champion in boxing history. He’s the only fighter at 168 pounds to win the WBO, WBA, WBC, and IBF super middleweight championships.

Calzaghe made 20 successful defenses of the world 168-pound championship. His two biggest wins at super middleweight were the first professional losses for Jeff Lacy (2005) Mikkel Kessler (2007).

Calzaghe moved up to 175 to beat two of the most dominant fighters of the last two decades – Jones and Calzaghe.

Joe Calzaghe sends a bloody Roy Jones, Jr. reeling against the ropes. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

Joe Calzaghe sends a bloody Roy Jones, Jr. reeling against the ropes. Photo Credit: Francis Walker

A job well done!

Judah victorious on MSG undercard

The televised co-featured attraction marked the return of former unified world welterweight champion Zab Judah (37-6, 25 KOs). The former two-division world champion survived two lacerations above his eyes caused by an accidental head butt to win a convincing 10-round decision against Ernest Johnson (18-3-1, 7 KOs).

In Judah’s last fight in July, he lost a technical decision to Joshua Clottey for the vacant IBF welterweight title.

Judah officially weighed in at 144 lbs. for his bout with Johnson and is apparently working his way toward a return to the junior welterweight division. Judah is still fast, but didn’t appear as strong or as sharp as we’ve accustomed to seeing him.

Is the end near for Judah as well?

In other undercard results: Undefeated junior welterweight Dimitry Salita (29-0-1, 16 KOs) won a terrible 12-round unanimous decision over Derrick Campos (17-6, 10 KOs).

The three judges scored the bout 120-108, 117-111, and 115-113.

Welterweight Frankie Figueroa (20-2, 13 KOs) defeated Emmanuel Augustus (38-30-6, 20 KOs), via split decision after eight rounds. The judges scored the bout 77-75 (twice) for Figueroa and 77-75 (Augustus).

Heavyweight Dominic Guinn (30-6, 20 KOs) continued his comeback with a decision win against Gabe Brown (18-9-4, 12 KOs) after eight rounds. Two weeks ago, Guinn knocked out Canadian prospect Jean-Francois Bergeron in his native Canada.

Super middleweight and unbeaten prospect Daniel Jacobs (12-0, 11 KOs) stopped Jimmy Campbell (11-3, 8 KOs) in the third round of a scheduled six-round bout.

Also, Joseph Judah (4-0, 1 KO) TKO’d Richard Heath (3-10, 2 KOs) in the second round.