Saturday, November 22, 2008

What's Next For Joe Calzaghe, Roy Jones Jr?

In a startlingly unsurprising fight, Joe Calzaghe completely dominated Roy Jones save for a well placed first-round Jones forearm to the face of Calzaghe.

Jones Jr. vs. Calzaghe is a fight that should have happened 5 to 7 years ago. Calzaghe is still in his prime and Jones is well past his. But is it Calzaghe's fault that Roy got old? Not really. The fight never took place back when it should have because Calzaghe was busy selling out arenas in the UK and couldn't see coming to the States to fight for less money. Jones didn't feel that he should have to make the multi-tectonic plate journey to Calzaghe's 'hood to fight him. But let's be realistic here. Roy was without question the king of the mountain in those days. And if you (aka Calzaghe) want to be the king of said mountain you need to go to the mountain. You can't expect the mountain to come to you.

So what's next for these two?

Joe Calzaghe seems to have slightly backed off of his promise that Jones would be his last fight, saying that he would think it over before making a final decision. But who is left for him to fight?

Some, including HBO's Max Kellerman are saying that his last bit of unfinished business is with Chad Dawson. Dawson, the young, fast handed and talented IBF light heavyweight champ is fresh off of a convincing win over the aged, "legend in his own mouth" Antonio Tarver.

But is there any clear and convincing reason why Calzaghe should give Dawson the opportunity? I don't think so. Dawson is anything but a household name. The public is certainly not clamoring to see it, which means it is not a huge money fight. And at 36 years of age and having been super middleweight champion for more than a decade, Calzaghe has earned the right to either retire or to fight only big names for big money at this point in his career.

There is still some chatter among boxing fans that Calzaghe has never beaten a truly mega-talented fighter in his prime. I disagree. I believe that Mikkel Kessler is the best super middleweight and possibly the best light heavyweight in the world behind Calzaghe. And Calzaghe schooled him.

So walk away Joe. And take your 0 with you.

On to Roy Jones. Is there any doubt that he is but a shadow of what he once was? His hand speed is still excellent, although not what it used to be. The issue with Roy is his legs. He used to use them to leap in, throw power shots and then get the hell out of the way before his opponents could retaliate. He is no longer able to do that.

There is near unanimous consent among fans and insiders that Roy is long overdue to bronze his jockstrap and focus on his beloved cockfighting, but I think there is one more fight out there for him. And I expect to be met with a cacophony of jeers when I say that Bernard Hopkins is his next and last logical opponent.

I can hear you all screaming WHAT??? Well, allow me to make my case. For one thing, this is a rematch that is more than 15 years in the making. Roy is the only fighter to have soundly and convincingly beaten Hopkins. Granted, that was when Roy still moved like an electron circling a nucleus. But stylistically, I see this as a good matchup even today.

Roy still has the hand speed to contend with Hopkins. And Roy really doesn't need the legs of Seabiscuit to deal with Bernard. Although Hopkins uses his legs, he won't be confused with Big Brown at the Preakness. He tends to move "smart" rather than swift. Roy still has enough left to make this an interesting fight.

Roy has been clamoring to restore his image since his first loss to Tarver. With Hopkins coming off a schooling of Kelly Pavlik, this is his best chance. Hopkins would be favored and rightfully so, but if I'm Roy, this is the fight I would try to make.

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