Knockout Nation: Calzaghe Dominates Jones, Does Dawson Loom? Iran Barkley

RING

light-heavyweight champion Joe Calzaghe marked his second US trip

with another huge win, this time dominating a faded Roy Jones, Jr this

past Saturday (November 8) to a unanimous decision win.

The

expected early chess match of flurries was broken with 50 seconds left

in the first round, as Jones badly stunned and dropped Calzaghe with a

sneaky right hand following a stiff jab.

A

dazed Calzaghe rose and like his previous knockdowns courtesy of Byron

Mitchell and Bernard Hopkins, was determined to meet his challenger

with a fusillade of hooks instead of retreating to clear his head.

Despite a golden opportunity, Jones was unable to time the feinting

Calzaghe for a follow-up combo and score a huge upset.

In

round two Calzaghe became the clear aggressor, pushing Jones to the

ropes and unloading 10 punch combos to the body and head. While Roy was

able to pick off most of the head shots, his body remained a constant

target of punishment. To adjust, Jones returned the bout to ring

center, where he was able to catch Calzaghe with several counter right

hands.

Round

three saw Calzaghe pick up the pressure and invest heavily in the body,

strafing Jones against the ropes and in ring center. Roy’s pet punch,

the straight right lead, could not land cleanly as Calzaghe utilized

superb movement and feints to keep Jones off balance. Jones’s attempts

to walk Calzaghe down behind a high guard fared no better, since

Calzaghe’s handspeed and head movement prevented the Pensacola native

from landing anything above a few pitty-pat uppercuts and hooks on the

inside.

The

pattern continued throughout the middle rounds, and Jones began to

become more tentative as he found more difficulty keeping Calzaghe in

range. Whenever Jones would land a shot, Calzaghe would simply smile,

showboat, and return 7 to 8 shots to a prone Roy who languished on the

ropes.

Round

7 showed some early hope for Jones. Throughout the first 2 minutes, the

former pound for pound king repeatedly surprised Calzaghe with hard,

accurate jabs down the pike. However the success was short-lived and

Calzaghe twice countered Jones’ lead jab with two slashing straight

lefts. The second opened a jagged, nasty cut along Jones’ left eye.

Never cut before, Roy struggled to finish the round as Calzaghe

continued pressuring him with punches from all angles to the head and

body.

Calzaghe’s

paintjob on Jones became more pronounced in the championship rounds.

Unable to see out the left eye, Roy Jones, Jr bravely started moving

forward in a last-ditch effort to catch Calzaghe with a miracle punch.

That

opportunity never came, and Calzaghe maintained the punch output,

feinting, and body punching that had bedeviled Roy since the second

round.

In

the deciding round, Calzaghe kept showboating and dropping his hands,

giving Jones a chance to pull out a dramatic victory. But the faded

legend could not pull the trigger, and in the end gained a pyrrhic

victory by remaining on his feet to the very end.

Final scorecards for the bout all read 118-109 for Joe Calzaghe, still the linear and RING light-heavyweight champion.

Now 46-0 with over 20 title defenses, Calzaghe remained hesitant on whether to keep his word and retire.

“I’ll

have to sit down and think about it as this could be my last fight,”

Calzaghe told HBO’s Max Kellerman. “I won’t make a final decision yet.

I’ll sit down and take a bit of a break and evaluate the situation. I’d

like to thank Roy for fighting tonight. He’ll always be my friend and I

have much respect for the guy.”

Roy

Jones, Jr was equally gracious in his post-fight interview,

acknowledging at this stage of his career that Calzaghe is the superior

fighter.

“When

he cut me I was like ‘whoa,’ it was the first time I had ever been

cut,” Jones explained. “I love fighting so I’m going to fight until the

end. I still gave it my best effort but he was the better man

tonight…I’ll talk to my team and family and see how I feel. If I feel

good I’ll continue to fight, if not I won’t.”

On

the undercard, former undisputed welterweight champion Zab Judah won a

pedestrian 10 round unanimous decision over unheralded Ernest Johnson,

despite suffering two cuts from headbutts. Vagabond fighter Emanuel

Augustus (38-30-6, 20 KOs) lost his umpteenth controversial decision to

young Francisco Figueroa (20-2, 13 KOs). And NY favorite Dmitriy Salita

(29-0, 16 KOs) gutted out a tough decision over unknown Derrick Campos

(17-6, 10 KOs).

Should Calzaghe Take On Dawson Before Calling It Quits?

Joe

Calzaghe has defeated two prime, then undefeated challengers for his

crown in Jeff Lacy and Mikkel Kessler, and now two legends in Bernard

Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr. Still, HBO commentator Max Kellerman sought

fit to mention the one fighter left at light-heavyweight who so far has

conquered every challenge put in front of him. That fighter is “Bad”

Chad Dawson.

“What

can I say, there’s always someone young and up and coming, same with

Lacy and Kessler,” Calzaghe reasoned. “I’ve beaten two legends this

year in Hopkins and an even bigger legend in Roy Jones. I fought them

both in the States. I think I showed everybody that I [have] not just

fought at home. I took the risk and came to Vegas and New York.”

In

speaking with fans here in the US and across the pond, this fight has

already polarized the boxing community just one day after Calzaghe’s

win. American fans feel that Dawson has proven himself as

unquestionably the best fighter not named Calzaghe at

light-heavyweight. And unlike Lacy and Kessler before their fights with

the Pride of Wales, Dawson has proven elite fighters on his resume in

Thomasz Adamek, Glen Johnson, and Antonio Tarver. This, American fans

argue, shows that Dawson has the skills to meet the challenge.

However

UK fans have countered that American fans, perhaps salty and

disbelieving of Calzaghe’s run through their best fighters, are

grasping at straws regarding potential opponents to knock off Calzaghe.

For them, Calzaghe has nothing left to prove and should be left alone

to retire on top.

While

both have solid points, my stance is somewhere in the middle. I

disagree with UK fans that immediately dismiss Dawson as not being a

viable name for Calzaghe. Joe’s bout with Kessler stands as the lowest

watched championship boxing match in HBO history. That of course can be

attributed to US fans not being aware of how good Kessler is. Even so,

it didn’ t take away the fact that Mikkel Kessler deserved his shot due

to solid wins over Anthony Mundine, Librado Andrade, and Markus Beyer.

Dawson

is not well-known to UK fans, but that doesn’t diminish the fact he

holds wins over former elite world champions Thomasz Adamek, Glen

Johnson, and Antonio Tarver, the latter two being former linear

light-heavyweight champions. Those wins are greater than any name on

Kessler or Lacy’s resume at the time they fought Calzaghe, and even now.

With

all that said, Calzaghe is not bound to fight Dawson, and should not be

given any flack if he decides to retire. At this point, his resume

speaks for itself. However, if he does decide to fight again, the only

opponent that makes sense is Chad Dawson. And if Calzaghe wins, his

already very high all time standing shoots through the roof.

Poll AnswersDawson Calls Out Calzaghe

Dawson

himself is not wasting anytime letting Calzaghe know where he stands.

Last night, the reigning IBF light-heavyweight champion issued a

statement challenging Calzaghe to a showdown in Wales.

“Joe

has a lot to be proud of and I for one am very impressed. If Joe wants

to have his grand farewell in Wales, I am ready to accommodate,” Dawson

detailed. “My passport and world title belts are ready to travel across

the pond. I’m ready to give Joe the opportunity to draw the curtain on

his great career in front of his family and friends and 70,000 fans.

It’s the best fight in the light-heavyweight division between two

undefeated champions.”

Young Dawson has a point. Let’s see if Calzaghe bites.

Throwback Fighter of the Week: Iran “The Blade” Barkley

Middle,

super-middle, and light-heavyweight Iran Barkley came to boxing as a

way to escape the streets of his tough Bronx, NY neighborhood. After

discarding his membership to the notorious Black Spades gang, Barkley

began his pro career quietly in 1982.

Amassing

a respectable record of 22-3 by 1987, he lost a unanimous against

highly-skilled Sumbu Kalamby in his first middleweight title shot.

A year later, Barkley shocked the boxing world by scoring a come from behind 3rd

round KO of Tommy Hearns. Despite having been cut and dropped, Barkley

was able to floor Hearns twice and earn Upset of the Year from RING

magazine.

In

1989, Barkley engaged in a classic battle with Roberto Duran, and had

the Panamanian legend out on his feet several times. However the

determined Duran outlasted Barkley to a split decision punctuated by an

11th round knockdown. For their work, Barkley and Duran won Fight of the Year.

The

accolades didn’t translate into wins, and Barkley lost two more

consecutive bouts to undefeated Michael Nunn (MD12) and Nigel Benn

(KO1).

Rebuilding, in 1992 he was able to capture the IBF super-middleweight belt from Darrin Van Horn via 2nd round KO, and moved up to once again defeat Tommy Hearns, this time for the WBA light-heavyweight title.

Again

Barkley proved inconsistent, immediately moving back down to

super-middleweight and being KO’d by James Toney in 1993, and suffering

a 9th round KO in his last title shot in 1994 against then IBF light-heavyweight champ Henry Maske.After losing six straight bouts from 1998-1999, Iran Barkley announced his retirement.

Reputed

to have grossed $5 million dollars throughout his career, Barkley now

lives in one bedroom apartment in the Bronx Patterson Projects where he

grew up. Beset by back child support and failed businesses, Barkley at

the age of 48 has announced he is returning to the ring in hopes

of generating enough money to live on, and to repair heavy scar tissue

over his left eye.

Iran Barkley’s record to date stands at 43-19-1, 27 KOs.

Story on Barkley’s financial situation and reason for comeback:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/boxing/article5093966.ece

Barkley vs. Olajide

Barkley vs. Hearns IBarkley vs. Duran

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