x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Calzaghe keeps options open

The undefeated Welshman says he will "go away and evaluate" before making his mind up to retire.

Joe Calzaghe, right, punches Roy Jones Jr during their light heavyweight championship bout at Madison Square Garden.
Joe Calzaghe, right, punches Roy Jones Jr during their light heavyweight championship bout at Madison Square Garden.

NEW YORK // The British boxer Joe Calzaghe kept his options open after recovering from a first round knockdown to win an unanimous decision over Roy Jones Jr and extend his unbeaten record to 46-0 last night. Calzaghe, 36, retained his Ring Magazine light-heavyweight title against the American, 39, once regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. "I'll go away and evaluate," Calzaghe told reporters. "I need to go away with my family and just have a rest." However, when asked if he could imagine a better way to end his career the Welshman indicated he might stop at the top. "It was a fairy-tale fight. A fairy-tale ending," Calzaghe said. "I was having fun. Moving, being flashy myself." His father, manager and trainer Enzo Calzaghe said his son had achieved everything he could. "If he doesn't want to box, he has my blessing. He's done everything he wants to achieve," Enzo said. "The boy needs a rest. He'll see how he feels. He'll analyse what he went through, does he want to go through that again? Sixteen weeks of work, sweating. "He's got kids growing up. He's got a life. He wants some life."

Calzaghe amused himself by one-upping the showman Jones, dropping his arms at his side and feigning wobbly legs between launching lightning-fast combinations. Jones, an eight times world champion in four divisions from middleweight up through heavyweight, was a shell of the boxer who dominated the world in the 1990s. From the second round on he fought defensively, resting against the ropes and in the corners, covering up his face in peek-a-boo style yet all the while absorbing punishment from the hard-working Calzaghe. Calzaghe often thrust his head up close under Jones's gloves with his hands down at his side, confident he was quick enough to avoid being tagged. "When I dropped my hands that was me having fun," he said. "After a few rounds I felt like I could read Roy's combinations with the right hand and the left hook. I felt like it was a good performance." What could turn out to be the last act of Calzaghe's career went as orchestrated by the Welshman, who for years was frustrated at not being able to share the stage with the sport's biggest names. "It took me eight years to get a unification fight," said Calzaghe, who first won the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight title in 1997. Unfortunate timing, a reluctance to leave his home turf and boxing business dealings combined to limit Calzaghe to lesser known opponents. Calzaghe made 21 successful defences as super-middleweight champion before moving up to light heavyweight this year and fighting in the United States for the first time. "I'm so happy with what I've achieved this year," he said. "To come over here and beat two American legends in Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, not just beat the guys but to come to the United States and beat them." Calzaghe overwhelmed the surprisingly defensive American, opening a gash over his left eye in the seventh round that poured blood down his face the rest of the bout. The Welshman refrained from a full-out assault in the final rounds to further bloody and damage the beaten Jones. The victory moved Calzaghe within three wins of former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano's undefeated record when he walked away from the sport.