Calzaghe Survives Scare to Hold onto 100% Record

10.22.04 - By Andrew Mullinder: Joe Calzaghe extended his 100% record to 38 fights by beating Kabary Salem through unanimous decision in Edinburgh tonight. Calzaghe visited the floor during the foul filled, disjointed encounter but managed to dominate nearly every other round.

Early in the fight, despite bossing the early exchanges by virtue of his sizzling hand speed and physical strength, Calzaghe’s timing and technique seemed to suffer from his 8 month ring absence. However, it appeared Salem simply didn’t have the ability to exploit the Welshman’s ring rust and technical deficiencies, as he stood frozen in the headlights of Calzaghe’s exuberant attacks.

Until the fourth round, Salem’s only contribution to the fight was his atrocious fouling – both through blatant low blows and outrageous use of the head and shoulder. However, during a typically reckless Calzaghe attack in the fourth, Salem swung his full weight behind a wild haymaker and caught the Welshman flush on his exposed chin. Calzaghe was dropped for the second time in his career, and while he did well to even get up, the single punch proved an equaliser that drew confidence from Calzaghe and changed the nature of the fight.

From the fifth round onwards, Calzaghe was content to pick up points with his rapid southpaw jab and seemed reluctant to truly commit to any attacks. In the championship rounds, Calzaghe picked up the pace again before flooring the Egyptian in the final stanza. Salem however, was not dropped heavily and survived to the final bell.

This was about as bad as Calzaghe gets, and he admitted that he was bit “embarrassed” by the knockdown and “disappointed” with his own performance. Despite this, Salem had neither the skill nor the ring savvy to exploit this off night, and the Judges cards, 117-109, 118-107 and 116-109, represented what was ultimately a one sided, if disappointing, win for Calzaghe.

Special mention should go to the referee, Paul Thomas. He refereed fairly and brilliantly, adroitly controlling what could have easily developed into a nasty, foul dominated street brawl.

If you would like to contact the author to discuss this fight, or any previously covered issues, please e-mail

Article posted on 22.10.2004

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