Calzaghe Marches Towards Unification
19.05.05 - By Robin York: After an impressive 6th stoppage of old foe Mario Veit on away turf, Joe Calzaghe has moved one step closer to a unification showdown with IBF champion Jeff ‘Left Hook’ Lacy. All that remains now is for Lacy to defeat Britain’s Robin Reid in St Petersburg Florida on August 6th and the fight with the Welshman will be a done deal. But that defense against Reid could prove to be a lot harder than Lacy imagines..
Article posted on 19.05.2005
Calzaghe knows first hand how good a fighter Reid is, when he was pushed all the way by the former WBC champion back in 1999. The Welshman retained his WBO title by a split decision. Lacy, despite having made 2 defenses of his title is relatively inexperienced in comparison to Reid.
The American has a perfect record of 19 wins and is a big puncher with 15 KO’s. Reid has had 43 fights, 38 wins 4 losses and 1 draw. If you include the WBF, IBO and WBU world titles then Reid has been involved in, it's 15 world title bouts all told.
He has fought away from home and won before; most notably when dethroning WBC champion Vincenzo Nardiello in Italy back in 1996. He also went to Brian Magee’s backyard in Belfast and floored him 4 times on way to a unanimous points win so travelling to the US, where Reid has fought once already very early in his career, is unlikely to bother him.
Other key things to point out about the Brit is that many people felt he was robbed when he traveled to Germany to take on the then WBA/IBF champion Sven Ottke. Its always difficult to win on the road but Reid had it particularly difficult courtesy of possibly the worst referring ever seen. Ottke spent the first half of the fight looking at referee Roger Tilleman every time the challenger attacked in close and Reid was constantly warned for rule breaking despite to have done seemingly nothing wrong.
At one point Reid was even warned for punching the champion! Also Reid, it must be said, has a granite chin and has never tasted the canvas. But Reid has fallen short in some of the most important fights in his career. He lost his WBC title when he was out-boxed in a negative showing against the South African Sugarboy Malinga and the same scenario happened when he challenged Silvio Branco for the WBU strap. He cannot afford to fight like that against Lacy but despite Lacy being a big puncher, it's arguable that his bombs will have little effect on the challenger.
Lacy, the younger man at 28, will have to swarm all over Reid and try to beat him the way he out-pointed Omar Sheika in December last year, but he will likely find a much tougher fight on his hands against Reid. The IBF champion has looked ordinary during his career, especially against Donnell Wiggins before knocking him out in the 8th round in Manchester. But the general feeling is that Lacy is the hungrier fighter and one who is improving with every outing whereas Reid’s best performances seem to be behind him.
It’s a fascinating bout, but one that may have the British fight fans split on what outcome they would prefer. Many would want Reid to pull off the upset but then that destroys the appeal of a Lacy-Calzaghe showdown. A Calzaghe - Reid rematch may not have the same appeal as the latter contest and would not be considered a defining fight for the Welshman. We will have to wait patiently over the summer to see how the event will unfold but for now Joe can relax knowing his part in making the fight happen was accomplished successfully.
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