Boxing


Boxing Commentary: Finally an article with no point!

By Paul Greene: This article is somewhat of a paradox. It has no point to it, and that, in essence is its point. So instead of waffling any more let me get to the point. The person I am about to discuss is Joe Calzaghe. I am sure that by reading his name, right now, there will have been an different extreme reaction provoked depending on your point of view. People will either think, 'Joe Calzaghe, great champion' or 'Joe Calzaghe, fraud.' Either way I believe opinions on the welsh fighter tend to be polar opposite to each other, ranging from absurd praise to absurd criticism. Everyone seems to be trying to make a point when discussing him..

Joe CalzagheRarely does there ever seem to be a balanced point of view on the Welsh fighter without either trying to make him out to be the greatest of worst fighter who has ever lived. That’s why this article is here. It is here as an intermediary between the two extreme points of view. It has no political angle on the fighter, and therefore it will provide relief to many reading it to see that it therefore, in the sense of trying to convert people to like or dislike Mr. Calzaghe, the article has no point of view.

To begin to look at why people are so extreme when looking at the fighter would take too long, and would probably require the help of professional psychologists. What I can say for certain is that his name definitely provokes a reaction. A very wise man once said 'take everything in moderation' i.e. have balance in everything you do. I have rarely seen an article on Joe Calzaghe that has been written with balance and without some kind of conversion tactic. I am therefore not going to reveal what my opinion on the fighter is. Like i said the article has no point.

Let’s look in a general way at some of the examples of the extreme feeling thrown in Mr. Calzaghe's direction. Take for example the Omar Sheika fight. Now Omar Sheika had a solid reputation at the time, particularly in America. He had just beaten Glen Johnson and was fresh and ready to fight. No argument. Calzaghe was having big personal problems, and this is at the time when he was genuinely ready to walk away from boxing.

Fighting Sheika was not so much of a risk, but more of a make or break fight. Anyway the fight happened and Joe won. Now here is my point. Ask anyone in Britain about Calzaghe’s best victories, and no one will mention the Sheika fight. They will argue passionately about Kessler, Lacy, Reid, Eubank etc. However ask any American boxing fans to describe the big wins on Calzaghe’s card and they will inevitably thrown the name Sheika into the mix. The point is that already, early on it the Welshman’s career divided opinion existed. That has only grown and grown in all sorts of directions.

What is interesting about the Sheika fight is that as pro Calzaghe fans have picked up on the possible importance of the Sheika victory, they are now starting to name drop that fight into the list when mentioning Joes great victories. Alternatively those against Calzaghe who once perhaps acknowledged the importance of the victory at the time, now tend to brush the victory under the carpet as though it had no meaning. Either way the name Calzaghe is once again somehow provoking extreme opinions when reviewing his work.

Lets quickly have a look at the Lacy fight. I say quickly because there is some much evidence of what i am about to say that we could be here for days. Lacy, without question was seen in a greater way than Pavlik is now. That is without question. And Pavlik is seen as somewhat the savior of boxing. Lacy was the American dream, and Joe was seen as the guy who was about to be beat in order to confirm Lucy’s status. The fight happened and Joe won. Now it seems impossible to find anyone anywhere who can give Joe credit for winning that fight, without someone also saying 'but, you have to remember Lacy was a bit of a bum, he was nothing at the time'. Let me remind you that this is not how the same people perceived Lacy going into the fight.

Now this article can go on and on with examples of how people aren’t giving Joe the credit he deserves, or for example, how he is getting too much credit for certain victories (Hopkins, Brewer, Veit 2). The article would therefore serve not much purpose. I suppose an article like this, which has no point on Calzaghe’s career is trying to say, in the future, let’s try and review him without the emotion that is attached. Let’s not trying to convert everyone either to or against him in our reviews of his fights. Lets approach him in moderation.

There are some voices of reason out there. Emmanuel Steward when asked about if he ever thought Calzaghe was going to get beat in recent time said "yes, against Manfredo." The point of that is not loaded because of Stewards involvement with Manfredo because he made the comment afterwards, but the point is that Steward was viewing Calzaghe on his fighting merits, and genuinely thought Manfredo had something that Calzaghe couldn't deal with. That was refreshing, someone talking about Joe without hearing, 'he is going to get K.O'd' or 'He is going to destroy this bum.'

So let’s try and take a leaf out of Stewards book and make comments on Calzaghe based on what we see rather than on what we want others to think they've seen.

Let’s look at the future then. I said this article had no point on Joe. Well it means it has no point on Joe either pro or against. Of course I’m entitled to an opinion. That's what being a boxing fan is all about. Like I said very wise man once wrote 'take everything in moderation.' Then again an even wiser man also wrote 'take everything in moderation, including moderation' (another paradox). So here you go then, my prediction on Calzaghe’s future.

Calzaghe to beat Roy Jones on points, and people to criticize Calzaghe for fighting and old man past his prime. Then Calzaghe to face Pavlik and beat him on points, and Pavlik, just like Lacy, gradually becomes forgotten and the victory loses all meaning over time, only to be remembered as Calzaghe beating just another nobody, someone who was an upcoming fighter, who hadn't yet proved himself.

Article posted on 10.08.2008



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