Boxing


Roy Jones/Joe Calzaghe: Keys To Victory, Four To Explore, and Official Prediction!

By Vivek Wallace: Well, ladies and gents, the time has come. These two names have been paired together for nearly a good decade and after so many discussions about what could have been, we finally get a chance to find out exactly what will be. Two unequivocal forces, two different countries, two different paths, and one final destination. That destination, none other than the 'Mecca', New York City's Madison Square Garden, where a host of fight fans, celebrities, and many in between will watch arguably two of the best talents in the history of the sport battle to one man's bitter end.. Both men bring a wide array of weapons in their arsenal, and neither has ever faced an opponent quite like the other. History tells us that either man can dig deep and win, but in reality, there can only be one. To help narrow down that scope, we push the envelope a bit more to view the odds supporting each man:

Joe Calzaghe - Keys To Victory

For Joe Calzaghe, he's gonna need to stick to the script that's gotten him to this point in his career. On 45 other nights, 45 other men fell victim to his swarming output, and despite some turbulence, in the end it always worked. Joe isn't known to start slow, but it's no secret that he turns it up a few notches from the middle rounds through the end of the fight which will help. Calzaghe will need to utilize his southpaw advantage and come out swarming from the first bell and get Jones going at a tempo that doesn't allow him to think. One of Jones' natural assets in the ring is his ability to think quicker and react quicker than his opponent. If Calzaghe keeps the pressure on this nullifies Jones' greatest attribute. Also, Calzaghe will need to stay disciplined with his defensive posture and keep his hands up. Calzaghe has been known - by his own admission - to keep his hands low at times. When you have a fighter as dangerous as Jones at picking his shots, the last thing you can do is leave yourself open. Calzaghe has been susceptible to the right hand and one of Jones' favorite 'game-changers' is his sneaky overhand right. Calzaghe's at times compromising defensive posture finds him crotched down leaning forward which is a perfect position for one of Jones' famous "watch-my-hand" techniques where he broadcast the left-hand but instead shoots the right uppercut. The bottomline with Calzaghe relative to 'Keys To Victory' is gonna be his ability to swarm and smother for 12 full rounds and stay more defensively disciplined than he ever has in the past. HBO's Larry Merchant once stated that Calzaghe is "willing to take too many chances to let his hands go", and his failure to adjust that in this fight could greatly alter the outcome. If he can stick to his script, victory is his in the end.

Roy Jones Jr. - Keys To Victory

Roy Jones Jr. will need to adopt the identical philosophy that he used years ago against that man that he still refers to as the "hardest opponent he's ever had to figure out", which is James Toney. Against Toney, Roy Jones Jr. relied strictly on ring intellect, slickness, and quickness. He knew coming in that Toney was clever, very tough, and had great skills, so rather than constanly engaging, he picked his spots, did his damage, and understood how and when to keep enough distance to stop his clever opponent from doing the same. Jones will benefit by keeping Calzaghe in the center of the ring and using his quickness and ability to land shots from awkward angles to outpoint Calzaghe. Also, Jones is probably one of the best 'back-against-the-rope' fighters in the game. His pure instincts allow him to counter beautifully, blocking shots and landing what I term 'puncutation' punches at the precise moment an opponent can't defend against them. The most notable time recently was the 11th round against Anthony Hanshaw. In this scenario, Hanshaw threw a barrage of punches that were partially blocked while Jones was softening up his midsection in spurts in return. A few seconds later those midsection shots got Hanshaw to briefly cover up and the moment he did that, he became a victim to a thunderous double uppercut that escorted him straight to the deck. Jones is a master at this and once again it highlights his ability to vary his speed with quickness based on what he needs to get the job done. If Jones has the stamina to do all of these things - which is the true issue for him to deal with in this fight - then victory can be his.

FOUR TO EXPLORE (Key Things To Watch For)

Calzaghe overcompensation?: Calzaghe has spoken of being aggresive and taking the fight over by intimidating Jones early. This is a game changer, but who it changes the game for is what fight fans should look out for. Calzaghe needs aggression in this fight, but he will need to have controlled aggression. Controlled aggression favors him, uncontrolled aggression would be playing right into Jones' hands. It'll be interesting to see how Calzaghe executes this plan.

How tight will the ref call the fight?: The referee in this fight will be pivotal. Few talk about it but Calzaghe has been often gotten away with what many fight fans view as frequent clinching and holding behind the head while landing shots. A point deducted - like was the case against Kessler - could be a huge issue at the end of what's expected to be a close fight.

Can Jones fight the full 12?: Stamina is the key to this fight for Jones. He enters the ring with many questions surrounding him, and considering his age and Calzaghe's output, when combined that could spell trouble!

Anybody Home?: What will the crowd assembled be like. Calzaghe has downplayed the road fight after winning in Vegas, but there's no place like New York City. Ticket sells are reportedly modest at best which means despite being closer to the U.K., his home crowd apparently decided not to travel with him. Will he finally feel the effects of a road fight, and if so, how could it affect him when the going gets tough?

FINAL PREDICTION.....

After dissecting tons of fight footage and analyzing strengths and weaknesses, my decision is far from concrete but it's the one I'm going with. Bernard Hopkins recently showed us that life is very difficult for a fighter who can't pin down their target. With Calzaghe's work rate he'll hit Jones plenty, but with Jones' quick countering ability and his power to keep Calzaghe honest with deceptive power coming from all angles, I think the plot thickens quite a bit. In order to use his speed and connect with those flurries, Calzaghe will have to not only risk coming in, but subsequently leave himself open for some pounding in return. Calzaghe has the skills to win and possibly even stop Jones early, but my final answer on this one is that it takes a stage this grand to get an old puppy off the porch, and with all the bones up for grabs, I think Jones is clearly ready to walk the walk.

ROY JONES JR - DECISION

(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com and 954-292-7346, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)

Article posted on 08.11.2008



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