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18 DECEMBER 2014

 

Joe Calzaghe Faces His Final Frontier


Undisputed - Joe Calzaghe: HoganPhotos.com
Undisputed - Joe Calzaghe: HoganPhotos.com

Comment By Paul Upham: Joe Calzaghe is now the undisputed super middleweight boxing champion of the world. Regardless of whether he ever tastes defeat as a professional boxer, it is the high point of his fourteen-year unbeaten career and an achievement that can never be taken away from him.

For all the criticism that he has received over the years, some just, some through sheer ignorance from across the pond in the USA, Calzaghe has overcome those who tried to drag him down, to become the best in the world at 168lbs.

Yes, Calzaghe slaps with his punches at times. But his superior stamina and workrate allows him to continually fire away at his opponent, forcing them to cover up or retreat, forgoing their own offence. At other times Calzaghe’s punches have significant pop on them, as evidenced by the swelling on Mikkel Kessler’s left eye in the middle of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in the early hours of Sunday morning local time. The younger, taller ‘Viking Warrior’ could simply not maintain the pace that Calzaghe was setting. Kessler is a good fighter, but Calzaghe is a great.

There is one final frontier in front of Calzaghe now to be conquered and it is not just fellow undisputed world champion Bernard Hopkins at 175lbs. It is the challenge of winning big in the USA against a significant opponent. While home fighters try to downplay their advantage, as in most other professional sports, it is always much harder to win on the road. While Calzaghe has had two wins outside of the UK in Germany and Denmark so far, facing Hopkins in the USA in a major arena is another new goal in a career that has seen him achieve just about it all.

The good news for boxing is that promoter Frank Warren and Calzaghe, after the Kessler win, publicly stated their intention to face Hopkins “anywhere”. ESPN’s Dan Rafael then spoke with Hopkins who gave the green light and pending approval for the fight, at his preferred venue of Yankee Stadium in New York.

35 year-old Joe Calzaghe 44-0 (32) from Newbridge, Wales now has his boxing art perfected to the point where it comes to him so naturally, like walking and talking. After his scintillating win over Kessler, if he can produce a similar pace, Calzaghe will edge a then 43 year-old Bernard Hopkins over the distance in a contest that could still be another classic battle.

It already seems that the new ripple trend of making the obvious boxing super fights is turning into a surging current.

After the making of Mayweather-De La Hoya, Pavlik-Taylor, Pacquiao-Barrera II, Calzaghe-Kessler, Mosley-Cotto and Mayweather-Hatton this calendar year, boxing is far from finished just yet.

Put me down now for Hopkins-Calzaghe in the first half of 2008.


Paul Upham
Content Editor


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