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Round by Round: Weekly Boxing Notes


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↵The Unbearable Wackness of Calzaghe/Jones

↵One of the year’s biggest fights goes off tomorrow at Madison Square Garden -- the undefeated Joe Calzaghe versus the living legend Roy Jones Jr. It’s being billed as a “superfight” and even warranted the 24/7 treatment by HBO, and yet the lovely camera-work and barren storylines of those shows effectively told the story of this event in miniature: Much sound and fury signifying nothing. ↵

↵There is literally nothing at stake in this fight, no consequences, no exciting future match-ups that lie in the balance. Calzaghe insists with great majesty that he is retiring after a career that has meant absolutely zilch to the majority of American fans (and, I would argue, British fans as well). Jones will fight on presumably if he wins, with another senior tour affair waiting for him with Bernard Hopkins should he beat Calzaghe -- a nice idea, certainly, but about as essential and relevant right now as the next Led Zep reunion. ↵

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↵Yes, Roy Jones was the dominant fighter of his era, but that era has been gone for some time now. Today’s he’s 39 years old, and over the course of the last three years, since his incredibly uninspired third fight with Antonio Tarver, he’s faced Prince Badi Ajamu, Anthony Hanshaw, and a bloated, long-inactive Felix Trinidad. Each of that undistinguished trio went the distance with Roy, and Hanshaw, Tony the Tiger as he is known, gave Roy all he could handle and then some in the later rounds. ↵

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↵But the win over a marquee name like Trinidad, no matter how tarnished that name might be, seemed to convince the fight universe (the promotional universe, anyway) that Roy was ready for the big-time again, and so here we are. The Garden, New York City baby, and a fight that if you look too closely at it starts to disappear like the lights of that 4 train you just missed. What exactly has Roy Jones done since his consecutive knockouts to Tarver and Glen Johnson in 2004 to warrant such a bright spotlight? And doesn’t anyone remember that Joe Calzaghe fought another safety-minded, elusive living legend -- Bernard Hopkins -- back in April, and it made for one of the most useless nights of pay-per-view boxing I’ve seen since, well, Taylor/Hopkins II? ↵

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↵In short, this is an emperors-have-no-clothes situation of the highest order and I’m surprised there hasn’t been more of a public outcry. I guess what it boils down to is that you can hype the crap out of anything these days, but still … what did Obama say about Sarah Palin again? You put lipstick on a pig? Well, you put a 24/7 on about a farce of a fight and it’s still a farce, and that’s what we have here without question. Joe beats Roy and it’s whatever, who cares. Roy beats Joe, and it’s a little more interesting, but ultimately would function in the way that Bernard’s victory over Pavlik did, with a general conclusion of, “you know what, Calzaghe just isn’t that good after all.” Either way, it’s almost guaranteed to be an utterly boring evening, because neither man has a chance in hell of knocking the other out (no doubt part of the reason they are both so eager to face each other). Calzaghe simply doesn’t have the pop to finish Roy, and Roy doesn’t have the balls to go for a KO anymore, end of story. So we’re looking at a ho-hum decision for one of them (Vegas likes Calzaghe at a tune of 3-to-1) and, really people, who the bloody hell cares which one? Flip a coin, I say, and stop wasting our time. ↵

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↵A REAL Fight for January -- Margarito/Mosley
↵The rumors have been on-again off-again for weeks now, but this past week word came through that the money issues have been worked out and a Tony Margarito/Shane Mosley fight is almost a done deal for January 24th on HBO. ↵

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↵Nothing is signed yet, so I don’t want to get too excited, but still, if it happens, oh man. What a way to start the year for sweet scientists everywhere, getting to see a fight of that caliber without having to shell out PPV money. ↵

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↵Some will say it’s destined to be a lopsided affair. Margarito will be a heavy favorite, of course, and deservedly so. But no one who pays any attention to the fight game will be counting out Sugar Shane’s chances. Margs has been known to come into the ring a little sluggish before, and it’s not inconceivable that he could get caught looking forward to his much-anticipated rematch with Miguel Cotto next summer. ↵

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↵If he does, that rematch could suffer a serious setback, because though I agree that Margarito at his best would put a beating on Shane Mosley ten times out of tem, if Tony doesn’t bring his A-game against Sugar Shane he definitely could get saddled with a loss. No doubt, Mosley will be wearing his promoter’s hat as well as his fighter’s hat in seeking to deliver that loss, because the Golden Boy powers-that-be would LOVE to take some of the bloom off of that all-Top Rank Margarito/Cotto rematch lovefest. ↵

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↵Bottom line -- it’s a great fight, really something to look forward to. As we choke down this Jones/Calzaghe boondoggle, the worst that boxing can be, we should keep the image of Margs/Mosley in our mind and remember that every thorn has its rose. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.