Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

The end is nigh for Calzaghe and Jones

Joe Calzaghe celebrates his victory over Roy Jones Jnr in New York on Saturday night

Victory and solemn defeat gave emphatic reasons for both Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones to hang up their gloves.

Asked what his son should do next dad Enzo succinctly said "retire". Jones shouldn't even be asked.

Once Jones was the swashbuckling prince of the ring but now a relative pauper watching on as the new world order passes him by. His time is over and should have been long ago.

Last night in Madison Square Garden, Calzaghe admitted that he was able to "have fun" as he taunted, tortured and triumphed - 118-109 on all three judges cards - over a shell of the man who once ruled the light-heavyweight division with ease.

Calzaghe is now that man having now conquered Jones on the back of his victory over Bernard Hopkins and only IBF champion Chad Dawson seems a legitimate challenger to the man with the Ring belt assuming that he keeps to his word that he is "not interested in re-matches".

Dawson aside, Calzaghe has now beaten the best at super-middle and light-heavy so it seems there is little point in putting his 46-fight unbeaten record on the line again.

Calzaghe said: "It was a fairytale ending for me but I'll go away and evaluate things, I can't make a decision now. I could have stepped it up and gone for the knockout but I was having fun in in there and I didn't want to get caught again.

"I've now beaten two legends in Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, an even bigger legend and both in America which is what I always wanted to do."

Yet, this was not the night which should define either man's career as Jones was just so far away from his glory days and Calzaghe's victories over Jeff Lacy, Mikkel Kessler, Byron Mitchell and of course Hopkins should all rank above this one-sided affair.

Roared by cries of "USA, USA!" Jones attempted to produce his own version of Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope, the difference being that the Greatest chose to go there but his fellow, jaded countryman had no other option.

Yes he dropped Britain's number one fighter in the opening round and on my card managed to win rounds two and four as well due to the quality of his punching and the fact that he took many of Calzaghe's early blows on the gloves. But come the seventh, a wicked left hand opened up an ugly cut over the left eye of Jones and allied with his frustration at having no answer to the speed and angles presented by his opponent he was then in survival mode.

Survive he did but it must have felt so humiliating to find Calzaghe swivelling his hips, sticking his head in his chest with hands down imploring the former champion to try and hit him.

It may have been "fun" for Calzaghe but it is worth remembering that when Naseem Hamed did the same against lesser men he was roundly criticised for showing disrespect but the Welshman is one of the most likeable men to have entered the ring and so escapes a similar fate.

In the final round Calzaghe seemed to take pity on Jones, just cruising through to the finish.

Just as always, the job was done and now he must ponder whether or not he can find the motivation to put in another 16-week training regime for a possible clash with Dawson, whose management immediately put out a press release stating he would be prepared to go to Cardiff to face Calzaghe.

Maybe it would be fitting that Calzaghe, who had around 7,000 Welshmen backing him, should return to the Millennium Stadium and Dane Kessler was at ringside to suggest that he would move up to light-heavyweight for such a showdown.

But having banked millions, proven himself against the best around and remained unbeaten he only has everything to lose.

Dad Enzo says, "he'll never be away from boxing" but now the outside of the ring looks a more comfortable place and even more so the same can be said for Jones.

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