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Thread: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

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    Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    Cal was obviously force fed a long string of bought & paid for #1 WBO contenders. Just like Hopkins with the IBF. & in the IBF's case the head man, Robert Lee when to jail for his corruption in taking bribes to create # 1 contenders.

    That's why in my mind both Cal's & Hops career records are tainted. Of course their fanboys will howl to the moon about how that is a lie but the truth is the truth.

    GorDoom


    Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?
    By Byron Wallin/Boxing News 24

    When reading articles on this site concerning Joe Calzaghe (46-0 32 KO’s) the common themes seem to comprise whether Calzaghe really was as good as his record would suggest, or whether infact he was nothing more than a carefully matched fighter who fought in a weak division in a poor era.


    I will offer my own opinions on this matter later in the article. However, first I would like to explore an aspect of Calzaghe which seems to be largely ignored by most writers and which i believe has a direct impact on how we should appraise Calzaghe’s achievements: his brittle hands.
    For most of his career Calzaghe was a revered puncher stopping many opponents early in fights. It could be argued that he did not possess the one punch knockout power of a prime Roy Jones Jr, however his quick two fisted attacks were ferocious, and in his prime Calzaghe was an incredibly aggressive fighter, often overwhelming opponents. Evidence of this can be seen in his first round knockdown of the great former champion and granite chinned Chis Eubank, who later told reporters it was the hardest he had ever been hit (baring in mind this is a man who had tasted the power of Nigel ‘the dark destroyer’ Benn). Further examples can be seen in Calzaghe’s demolition of the previously undefeated and highly rated Mario Veit, as well as his heroic coming off the canvass knockout of American hope Byron Mitchell.

    There were reports circling in the media even during these high achieving prime years that Calzaghe was suffering with breaks in his hands, even resulting in him pulling out of fights in order for them to heal properly. Brittle hands can be a career ending injury for a fighter as their ability to punch can be so severely diminished that are rendered unable to compete. In the opinion of the author the first real evidence that Calzaghe’s punching power was on a steep decline, was showcased in one of the standout performances of his career against the great American hope that was Jeff Lacy. Coming into this fight few pundits or sports writers gave Joe a chance against this supposed ‘new Tyson’ who was expected to destroy Calzaghe and dominate the division. However, what transpired that night was a boxing clinic, with calzaghe schooling his young challenger in every round to win a shutout decision. It was reported that Lacy was hit with no fewer than one thousand punches during the fight. Well many seemed to revel in this statistic I found it to be a cause for concern that with all these punches landing home the fight still went the distance, and while lacy may have been bewildered at times, resulting in him hitting the canvas once, he was never seriously hurt by a punch.

    After an entertaining tear up with Sakio Bika, Calzaghe fought Danish star Mikkel Kessler to become the Undisputed Super Middlewight Champion of the World. In this fight it appeared Calzaghe’s punching power has declined yet further with Kessler landing what were clearly the harder shots throughout the fight. Only Calzaghe’s superb skills and well preserved speed allowed him to outbox Kessler to a relatively easy decision win. Calzaghe now appeared to have the world at his feet, however i feared for Joe and at the time sensed he would not fight on for much longer. Although he still possessed nearly every attribute to dominate the division for another five years his power was almost certainly gone.

    The last two fights of Calzaghe’s career came against the men he will forever be compared against: Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. Calzaghe was able to scrape a controversial split decision win against Hopkins in a messy fight. Again it was Hopkins who landed the harder shots and it appeared Calzaghe was able to sway two of the three judges with his still outstanding work rate and little else. Calzaghe at this point seemed barely able to punch at all, merely slapping Hopkins with the inside of his gloves in short flurries. This was not the same Calzaghe whose stunning two fisted attacks used to strike fear into opponents hearts. This was a man whose hands had given out on him leaving him almost unable to defend himself in the ring with any sort of offence.

    The Jones Jr fight was little more than a farce. Jones was a shell of his former self, and despite a promising first round knockdown of Calzaghe, he offered little else in the fight. By the later rounds the fight seemed to have transgressed into nothing more than a circus event with both men showboating and neither doing much significant punching. Much like the Hopkins fight Calzaghe was only able to offer flurries of slaps, never able to turn a punch over and hurt Jones Jr. When Calzaghe announced his retirement shortly after the fight it came as no surprise as i felt he had little choice.

    If Calzaghe had decided to fight on for a few more years I have no doubt he would of beaten, possibly by a Carl Froch type fighter, a man who could simply walk through Calzaghe’s now powerless punches to land his own. When a fighter advances in age their speed and reflexes diminish, leaving their punching power more vital than ever. Without this is believe Calzaghe would have failed to keep the younger lions of his division at bay resulting in his defeat. It is with this thought in mind that I conclude Calzaghe retired at the perfect time as to carry on would have been doing his legacy and himself an injustice. In his prime men like Froch, Ward and Dawson would not have lived with him. He would have overwhelmed and easily beaten all of them without a doubt. I cannot say the same for a prime Bernard Hopkins or Roy Jones Jr, these men are/were also very special, and i feel in my heart of hearts that a prime Jones Jr would dominate any Super Middleweight division in any era. One thing i am sure of is that we will never see Calzaghe grace the boxing ring again, as in his heart of hearts he knows his hands are as shot as Roy Jones’ reflexes, and he would not want to walk the same sad path that Jones is treading.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    I agree with Gor. Facts are facts. Joe C. was good, but not as good as his record would suggest. The fact that this "article" points to knockouts wins over a shot Byron Mitchell (who knocked Calzaghe down by the way) and Mario Fucking Veit as proof of Calzaghe's supposed power says it all.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    In that same vein, I was very disappointed to read today that Sergio Martinez is being fed a no-name no-hoper (who is not even the number one contender) for his next opponent. I like Martinez a lot. But, at 36 years old this is a total waste of his time and talent.

    Unless of course he wants to shoot for the totally meaningless title defense streak of Felix Sturm. Apparently he is scheduled to make his 10th defense of the WBA title against another person that nobody has ever heard of. These undefeated records and title defenses are becoming more meaningless every day.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    Calzaghe was good, but not great. A prime Roy Jones eats him for dinner and desert. Nigel Benn, Iran Barkley, James Toney, and others would stand a good chance of beating him. I still troubled by the fact that everytime B-Hop hit him with that right hand.... that he rock and shook Calzaghe's world. What made Joe so damn difficult to fight was that he came at you from so many angles throwing a lot of punches while having that smothering clinching still at the same time. It was like trying to fight a damn octopuss. BHop-Calzaghe fight is a prime example of that. The fight was a stinker. I don't think Calzaghe would hold up to the best 168-175 lbs. fighters of all time.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    No, he wasn't.

    He beat a spent Chris Eubank, went on a diet of 10 years, TEN YEARS, worth of WBO stiffs before exposing Jeff Lacy then resuming his bum of the month parade. Mikkel Kessler was a good win, then he went up to light-heavy to beat two 40 year olds who would have massacred him when he should have faced them, in 02, 03.

    For a 100 years of pro boxing only a handful of British fighters could manage to win a world title. Then the WBO pops up in 1989 and suddenly the British isles can't stop churning out 'world champions'.

    It's a fucking disgrace and something the British news papers or boxing shows, and even many of the pigshit thick British fans on British forums will NEVER touch upon. Christ when Calzaghe was facing Lacy ITV were telling the viewers Calzaghe's record was nearly equal to Joe Louis!!!

    Sickening.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    Quote Originally Posted by Overhand_Right View Post
    No, he wasn't.

    He beat a spent Chris Eubank, went on a diet of 10 years, TEN YEARS, worth of WBO stiffs before exposing Jeff Lacy then resuming his bum of the month parade. Mikkel Kessler was a good win, then he went up to light-heavy to beat two 40 year olds who would have massacred him when he should have faced them, in 02, 03.

    For a 100 years of pro boxing only a handful of British fighters could manage to win a world title. Then the WBO pops up in 1989 and suddenly the British isles can't stop churning out 'world champions'.

    It's a fucking disgrace and something the British news papers or boxing shows, and even many of the pigshit thick British fans on British forums will NEVER touch upon. Christ when Calzaghe was facing Lacy ITV were telling the viewers Calzaghe's record was nearly equal to Joe Louis!!!

    Sickening.
    Well have thou spoken OHR,

    I love Britain and even many of her fighters, especially from better days...
    But you are absolutely right, we Brits can't be told, won't be told and being a Brit abroad you have seen like me the arrogance and pig-headedness of our nation and people.

    It is sickening and a couple of the boxing sites will not adhear to truth over National Pride, the biggest downfall of our beautiful isle and in the case of boxing some right deserving fighters, but JC is not among the cream!!!

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    Calzaghe was a great fighter who doesn't have a great record. Was he one of the greatest/ATGs that some over-zealous Brits have claimed? Of course not. Was he just some Erdei-esque 2nd rater who would've gotten "eaten for dinner" by a peak Jones Jr? No, that's equally ridiculous. The guy trained old school, showed up everytime to fight, is along with Roy the only guy to cleanly beat Hopkins in over 15 years . . .an excellent, excellent fighter.
    Last edited by hagler04; 06-15-2011 at 09:31 PM.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    i THINK Joe C would have beaten Roy JOnes in both of their primes. Cali had heart and a very very awkward style. He threw lots of punches and those guys are hard to outpoint.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    That's why in my mind both Cal's & Hops career records are tainted. Of course their fanboys will howl to the moon about how that is a lie but the truth is the truth.
    You don't have to make it sound so homoerotic man!

    Joe Calzaghe is the most FLURRIOUS puncher of this generation.

    It's pretty hard to find a fighter these days --with a perfect, or near perfect record-- who hasn't been feed a bunch of stiffs. My question, is who didn't he fight?

    In the age of Roy Jones not fighting anyone, and B-hop staying at middle for his career and his defining moment against a welterweight, I find it hard to criticise Calzaghe any more than his peers. Sure he got knocked down, but he got back up and beat the tar out of everyone who knocked him down.

    I can't remember too many on this board picking him to beat Lacy, but the outcome was a great display that ruined a promising career. Kessler was supposed to be to too much for him and Bernard Hopkins --who just won the (a) light heavyweight championship-- wanted no part of him and tried to have him fouled out on low blows.

    I agree with the author that Calzaghe's biggest problem was his hands, he had to delay a lot of fights because of injury and that's something I can appreciate, because I've suffered from the same problems.

    To me he is a throw back fighter in many ways, who would have shown more power if he had better hands.

    I think he is a perfect matchup for Jones as he would never quit, never stop throwing punches and make Jones think once they got into the later rounds. Jones couldn't play hot shot all night long with a guy like Joe; eventually, he's getting hit and hit often. Jones had the luxury of fighting at his own pace, keeping off him with his speed and power and being able fight whenever he wanted. He's not going to be able to do that with Calzaghe who will make him fight every second of that fight, surprise him with his deceptive power and make him fight every second of every round.

    I can see Calzaghe losing to all kinds of guys between 160 and 175. Doesn't mean he's not going to win a few, doesn't mean he's not an all time great. And it certainly doesn't mean he's not one of the greates of his own era.
    Last edited by Off The River; 06-16-2011 at 04:57 AM.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    I think Joe is a very good fighter, great even. And it took me a while to realise it.
    He is a winner. As for his record, who should he have beaten? As mentioned, Jones
    and Toney and Hop weren't really an option when Joe was the champ.
    Eubank? Past his best, but beaten, not Joe's fault.

    I do think Joe loses to Toney at 168. I would probably favor Joe at his best vs.
    any version of Hopkins at 168 lbs.

    McClellan would be a very dangerous opponent for Calzaghe. Joe's chin
    isn't grade A, he could be really hurt. Mostly it was his conditioning that
    helped him. I don't think conditioning is enough against the clean Gerald shots.

    OTR, I agree fully with your Joe-Roy fight. Even at peak I see
    Roy having a tough time with Cal, whose work rate and brain will
    not make it at all easy. Jones could get a KO, if not, he better
    be ready to fight non stop, and win whilst doing it.

    People forget that wheh they did meet, BOTH were past their best days.
    Last edited by walshb; 06-16-2011 at 08:25 AM.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    Actually not ridiculous at all. Roy Jones was great fighter with super speed, reflexes, and great power. Not talking about the Roy Jones at 175 lbs or the Roy that beat heavyweights then weaken himself to get back to 175. Talking about Roy between 160-168. Calzaghe was effective with his octopus style of smothering/clutching/and throwing a million punches from different angles(ex. Jeff Lacy and Peter Manfredo fights). That is what made Calzaghe effective. But like I said... when B-Hop landed his right hands or solid power shot, Calzaghe seem to have a lot of trouble. Roy was a much bigger puncher than B-Hop. Vinny Paz was a solid tough guy and Roy made him look like nothing. Vinny Paz would have been a much tougher fight for Calzaghe than Peter Manfredo.... so what I remember from the late 1980s to late 1990s as Roy have great speed, talent, and power at 160-168. That is why I don't feel it is not that far from reality to say Roy would have destroyed him or guys like Vinny Paz could have given him a tough fight. Not ridiculous at all.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    Roy has muddled along shambolically for so long now people have actually forgotten just how awesome his skillset was in the 90s. His speed, power, reflexes, how untouchable he was, the huge regard he was held in... Roy just massacred everybody without breaking a sweat. Now, apparently even Joe Calzaghe would beat him!

    Joe would have been completely bamboozled just as everyone else was - no way with Joe's chin he could just come forward trying to smother Jones, he would of had his head taken off.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    Quote Originally Posted by walshb View Post
    People forget that wheh they did meet, BOTH were past their best days.
    What do you base this on?

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    JC never beats a prime Jones, a prime JC always beats Hopkins.

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    Quote Originally Posted by Overhand_Right View Post
    What do you base this on?
    What?

    It's self explanatory. Joe was past his peak in 2009, or was the bout 2010?
    You think otherwise?

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    Re: Was Calzaghe really as good as his record would suggest?

    Quote Originally Posted by Overhand_Right View Post
    Roy has muddled along shambolically for so long now people have actually forgotten just how awesome his skillset was in the 90s. His speed, power, reflexes, how untouchable he was, the huge regard he was held in... Roy just massacred everybody without breaking a sweat. Now, apparently even Joe Calzaghe would beat him!

    Joe would have been completely bamboozled just as everyone else was - no way with Joe's chin he could just come forward trying to smother Jones, he would of had his head taken off.
    Let's see, CONFINING THIS DISCUSSION TO ZAG:

    Power: Roy
    Speed: Roy
    Defense: Roy
    Movement: even
    Chin: Zag

    When was Roy cleanly tagged in his prime?
    Ya by his old sparring partner who spent many rounds with him....

    Zag liked to fight in his rythym, and Roy's lead right would disrupt it, Roy lands cleaner and harder shots all night, (even Dino-Roy dropped Zag )....

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