Jones v Calzaghe; just the facts!
by Robert Jackson: This coming Saturday, a very interesting match up a long time coming will be happening, Superman Roy Jones Jr versus Welchman Joe Calzaghe. At least Jones used to be Superman. The pro's and con's of each man's fight game will be probed and analyzed, then a prediction made, so let's get this party started.
Article posted on 05.11.2008
Any conversation regarding these 2 protagonists must begin with both guys main assets their SKILLS. Roy Jones Jr was at one time considered the 'heir apparent', to the great Sugar Ray Robinson. So sweet were Roy's skills that he barely lost a round in any of his 40+ fights, not a fundamentally sound fighter Roy used the athleticism and reflexes of a basketballer, tremendous hand speed, the grace of a ballet dancer and the power of a power lifter to impose his will on his opponents.. Roy was chided and criticized for his neglect of basic boxing fundamentals and told that as he aged his lack of technique would fail him. Until Roy's 47th fight this was not the case.
Joe Calzaghe favorite son of Newbridge Wales, carries in his arsenal, an awkward fight style, a southpaw stance, unrivaled combination punching, good footwork, and the ability to make adjusments in the ring. When attacking Calzaghe uses angles better than most, which allows him to flow into defensive position and avoid getting hit flush. Bernard Hopkins was able to time 'Joe the boxer' while he was attacking sending him to the canvas with a counter right hand. After that rude awakening Joe moved into Hopkins range from angles rather than straight forward.
Skills Advantage: Calzaghe
"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"! Jones in his 20th year as a prizefighter, probably learned more during his 3 fight drought than all of his 40+ victories, then during his resurgence took it slow opting to fight in small venues against decent opposition. Those 3 losses also appear to have curbed Jones' huge ego, humbling him. Earlier in 2008 Jones accepted the challenge as the handpicked opponent of one Tito Trinidad on the comeback trail. Many including myself gave Trinidad a chance of victory over the 'fast fading' ex-P4P champion. After 12 exciting rounds and two Trinidad knockdowns Jones had his hand raised at the end of the fight getting in much needed rounds to get his legs back under him. Likewise 15 year veteran Joe Calzaghe's 2nd round knockdown against Hopkins affected him early in a fight where it was harder for him to get off. Joe's 100 punch per round average was not met in this fight but Joe did pick up his activity level in the 2nd half of the fight garnering him the victory. Experience will tell Joe he can't let this happen against Roy Jones. Experience should also tell Jones if he loses this fight his great career is at an end.
Experience Advantage: Even
Former heavyweight Champion Ernie Terrell said (I'm paraphrasing) that boxing is about 90% conditioning, and that 90% of conditioning is running. Running not only conditions the heart and lungs but also the legs and mind. Roy Jones' conditioning prior to his return to the 175lb division was impeccable, chinks in his armor were exposed by Antonio Tarver in their first bout with Jones complaining that this was due to the rapid weight loss, during the rematch Tarver begged to differ! Jones also came up short in the conditioning category against Glenn Johnson, but in the rubbermatch against Tarver, Jones had more gas in the tank throughout the fight while Tarver seemed to gas out. During Jones' re-emergence he has grown stronger each fight and was fresh at the end of his latest fight. At 36 Joe Calzaghe has NEVER had any issues regarding stamina, even though he was sluggish early against Hopkins, probably due to it being his 1st fight at 175lbs.
Conditioning Advantage: Calzaghe
Tactics and strategy determines whether a fighter wins or loses regardless of other advantages they may or may not have. Roy Jones' tactics have always revolved around his physical attributes, reflexes and athleticism rather than knowing what his opponents weaknesses are and formulating a 'game plan' to exploit those weaknesses. Joe Calzaghe also goes into a fight depending primarily on physical assets, namely his high workrate and punch output. Joe did have to outthink Hopkins during their battle, which he did in the late rounds. Neither man goes into a fight with a pre-plan, they're both improvisational fighters.
Tactics Advantage: Even
When matching the 2 trainers head to head, one man comes out on top not necessarily because he's a better Coach, but because of what the other guy did or couldn't do. Alton Merkerson has the edge here only because of Enzo Calzaghe's RECENT failures with Enzo Maccarinelli and Gary Lockett, both fighters were overmatched. They were both underprepared and undercoached during their fights! Granted Joe Calzaghe has not recently been in any trouble in the ring where Enzo needed to make 'on the spot' changes, but during a fight against Roy Jones Jr he may have to make changes. In the corner "the coolest head and the surest aim wins the day" so it pays for a coach to remain calm especially through 'hard times' during a fight, Enzo has shown the temperament to become unhinged. Worse case Merkerson won't be afraid to throw in the towel to prevent Jones from taking unnecessary punishment.
Trainer Advantage: Jones
Intangibles that affect Roy Jones; Roy Jones legs haven't been good post-Tarver and Roy uses his legs for defense as well as offense. Jones is the natural 175lber. Jones still has very fast hands and reflexes though not what they were in his prime years, expect Jones' hand speed to neutralize Calzaghe's volume punching. Roy backs up unto the ropes to fight rather than in the center of the ring where he would be better served. Jones is hungry for this fight and wants to prove his MANY critics wrong.
Intangibles that affect Joe Calzaghe; it's only Joe's 2nd fight at light heavyweight and Joe seemed a bit sluggish with the added weight which showed with his less than stellar punch output against Hopkins. Joe has fragile hands so he tends to slap with them rather than sit down on his punches. Joe also tends to square up in front of his opponents while in-fighting. Joe should've made this fight happen in the UK giving him home court advantage. Joe Calzaghe has a never say die attitude and comes into every fight to win.
Intangibles Advantage: Jones
In conclusion, this analysis shows that these 2 combatants are evenly matched. Both guys are training hard to sharpen their physical assets. It will be a very competitive fight, Roy Jones at 39 WILL have his legs back and Joe Calzaghe WILL sit down on his punches. Even though I think that Merkerson MAY have to throw the towel in to save Jones, I need to get my house out of foreclosure so I'm putting my money on Jones and a late rounds TKO over Calzaghe, in a SHOCKER.
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