The Resurrection of Roy Jones Jr!
By P. H. Burbridge (A voice in a crowd) One day and counting!! One more day and Roy Jones Jr will complete his unlikely return to the spotlight. One more day for “REDEMPTION”! The perfect opponent has fallen from the heavens and placed himself squarely in Roy’s path. A fighter who has succeeded not with great talent but with a superior work ethic and a mental toughness that’s not commonly seen.
Article posted on 08.11.2008
Joe Calzaghe is a self made man. A natural born boxer who has willed his way past all of his prior opponents. He is “good” in all phases of the game but it would be misleading to say that he was “great”. You’re not great if you beat an overhyped Jeff Lacy and you’re not great if you beat the highly overrated Mikkel Kessler. And you’re not great if you squeak by a fading legend. Jermain Taylor also beat Hopkins, twice. Is HE great?? That’s why he’s perfect for Roy Jones Jr!
Much is made of his hand speed and punch output but in his most recent fight he certainly couldn’t point to either one of those things as proof of his superiority. He was being beaten over the first 6 rounds by a fighter in Bernard Hopkins who throws so few punches that it would be near impossible NOT to outwork him. Hopkins constantly repeats the same tactic over and over again. A straight right hand and then hold, a straight right hand and then hold! It was an incredibly predictable approach that took Calzaghe half a fight to figure out how to deal with. Calzaghe’s corner is a major negative in terms of their tactical advice and general understanding of how their fighter should address the various challenges his opponent puts forth. In fact, after one round Enzo actually said “I think he’s ready to be knocked out” which was absolutely delusional if you review the action of the previous round. Terrible advice like that will put Joe in harms way in the Jones fight. I watched the Hopkins fight many times over the last week and paid very close attention to the in corner direction. Not ONCE did Enzo tell Joe to throw a lead left hand and to follow up with his jab. He didn’t provide even the most rudimentary instruction. Nothing related to speed, nothing related to power and nothing related to how he should react when Hopkins gives him this look or that look. Joe was truly in there all by himself. Enzo Calzaghe makes Kelly Pavlik’s trainer, Jack Loew look like Angelo Dundee!
Calzaghe’s hand speed was not a factor in the fight and from the outside Hopkins was easily able to avoid the majority of Joe’s shots. Most of the shots Joe did land were during clinches. He has a tendency to smother himself similar to Ricky Hatton. But, where Ricky Hatton actually turns some of his shot’s over so they have greater impact Joe throws arm punches that almost look amateurish. Calzaghe clearly has poor accuracy from the outside. His style is to get in close and “shoe shine” as we say. He also jumps in to clinches a lot which will offer Jones many opportunities to do what Hopkins did in a few spots and that is catch him with a straight right hand. That fast pivoting right hand Jones throws will be the story of this fight.
I also watched Jones vs Trinidad a number of times over the last week. Jones started off that fight very slowly but by the second round he started flashing his speed in spots. No, he’ll never be the Jones of old who crushed Virgil Hill with a hard shot to the body but his speed is still MUCH greater than Joe’s. He punched at will in the Trinidad fight. It was clear through out that he could pretty much do anything he wanted when he wanted to do it. When Jones puts his punches together he dominates. The punch that will land over and over again versus Calzaghe will be his lead right hand. It’s deceptively fast and although he looks off balance it’s one of his best punches. That is a BIG problem for Calzaghe.
This fight will take place more on the outside than people realize where Joe’s accuracy and speed just isn’t there. This is not going to look anything like the Calzaghe – Hopkins fight. You’re also going to see Jones backing Calzaghe up in spots. My sense is that Roy is going to focus on landing some HARD shots early on to get respect and force Calzaghe to change his game plan. Joe will have to figure that out on his own because as stated earlier his corner will be of no help to him tactically. Remember Jones is a much better puncher than Hopkins and his punches will do damage. It may not result in a knock out but it may result in knock downs and facial abrasions. I think a lot of fans think Roy is somehow going to run out of gas in this fight. Don’t forget that Roy is a “distance” fighter. He’s never had issues with his stamina. He looked very good in the last three rounds against Trinidad. No indication that he was fatigued.
I’ve said this before but I really think this is a bad style match up for Calzaghe. In other words I think he’s made a mistake. He didn’t choose Jones because Jones is currently perceived as one of the best fighters in the world he picked him because he thought Roy was washed up and he could win convincingly.
That say’s something about Joe!
So, when all is said and done and he’s beaten by Roy Jones Jr. all of his previous accomplishments will be called into question. All he had to do was beat Pavlik and retire undefeated but he took what he thought was the easier “money” fight!
Bottom line: STYLES MAKE FIGHTS!
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