Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Billy on the Box: No ordinary Joe

Move over Sky, Setanta have stolen your crown as the supreme floggers of deceased equines.

After days of build-up, Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins finally got into the ring in the early hours of Sunday morning just as most self-respecting 36 and 43-year-olds were nipping downstairs to fill up their own buckets.

We had five hours of build-up, the excitement reaching fever pitch when Audley Harrison fought a fat bloke from Florida. Would rather have watched Audrey Roberts fighting.

As always on these occasions there were celebrities everywhere, Sly Stallone, Arnie and Bruce Willis competing with Welsh 'stars' for column inches. No sign of Shakin' Stevens, Ruth Madoc or Sian Lloyd, but we had the Joneses, Catherine Zeta and her great-grandfather, Tom.

Tom, now 143, was fantastic, putting some young R n B upstart in his place with a rousing rendition of the Welsh national anthem, although just how many Ribena berries were killed in the making of his suit is unknown.

In the studio we had Paul Dempsey, Steve Bunce and Barry McGuigan who all provided some quality moments, none better than when the Clones Cyclone was blown off course by Whitney Houston.

"She doesn't look that good, she's a bit shaky looking," Barry told us. I've already told you, Shaky was not present, hiding behind a green door by all accounts.

He wasn't the only one. While Calzaghe, or Calzaki as Barry insisted on calling him, dandered into the ring like he had nipped out for a bottle of milk, Hopkins came out like the Grim Reaper's wee brother, the ultimate boy in the hood.

Our commentators were John Rawling and Richie Woodhall, who couldn't have been more pro-Welsh if they had turned up in sheep costumes with a daffodil sticking out of every orifice.

After he was flattened in the first round, Calzaghe staggered back to his corner and Rawling told us: "As he goes back to his corner, he looks a little bit concerned."

You don't say. This is a man who said earlier, when speaking about his life in the ghetto, that 'fortunately I've never been shot'.

Gradually things improved, Joe even managed to land a glove on him but, as scary as Hopkins is it's nothing to what Enzo Calzaghe is like.

He was ranting and raving like a lunatic, effing and blinding like a miner and offering up tactical gems such as 'he's knackered'.

And talking of that region, one low Joe blow almost ruled Bernard out from ever being in the land of our fathers.

Hopkins was keen to discuss the matter afterwards: "That's my crotch, I'm not going to ask you to feel it, that's it right there."

And in case that wasn't enough, he added: "It sort of knocked my privates out of my cup."

Remember that the next time you pop around to Bernard's house to borrow some sugar.

Oh, by the way, Joe won. I don't know how either but he did. Even Steve Bunce was lost for words. Now that is unusual.

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