Calzaghe does it again
Joe Calzaghe clambered off the floor in the first round to maintain his perfect record with a points win over Roy Jones Jr.
Last Updated: 10/11/08 3:57pm
Joe Calzaghe clambered off the floor in the first round once again to maintain his perfect record with a points victory over Roy Jones Jr.
Calzaghe scored a resounding 118-109 victory on all three of the judges' scorecards to extend his unbeaten record to 46-0.
It also saw him retain the Ring Magazine light-heavyweight title he had won in a split-decision victory over Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas last April.
Like that fight, Calzaghe was floored in the opening round, this time by a jolting straight left from 39-year-old Jones.
Calzaghe came back to wear down the American, causing a damaging cut above the former four-division champion's left eye in the seventh round that Jones' corner could not staunch.
The Welshman was fighting Madison Square Garden for the first time in his long and unblemished career against one of the true modern legends of the sport.
Jones was looking to make his mark once again following three devastating losses in 2004-05, twice against Antonio Tarver, either side of defeat to Glen Johnson.
Both Tarver and Johnson delivered crushing knockout blows to the four-weight, eight-time champion in consecutive fights in 2004 that left many critics believing Jones' career was all but over.
Jones (52-4, 38 KOs) thought otherwise but Calzaghe was too strong to let the American's comeback continue.
It did not start that way. Jones caught Calzaghe with a jolting straight left that floored the Welshman with under a minute of the opening round to go.
Calzaghe appeared hurt but rose to his feet and quickly had Jones on the defensive.
He reappeared for the second round with a mark on his nose that began to bleed as the round progressed and Jones looked perfectly at ease dealing with the combinations his rival was throwing.
The third, though, saw Calzaghe gain the upper hand for the first time in the fight.
Calzaghe's bleeding nose was being well managed by his corner and their man was beginning to control the fight equally efficiently.
Calzaghe made the first telling breakthrough in the fifth when Jones dropped his hands and was caught with a glancing right and then a more punishing left that rocked his head back.
In the dying seconds of the sixth, Jones countered a Calzaghe combination to the body with a sharp right that momentarily stunned his opponent before he mounted a retaliatory offensive to end the round.
Calzaghe's father and trainer Enzo had stressed throughout the build-up that his son would get stronger and faster as the fight progressed and round seven saw evidence of that as Jones was repeatedly caught with jolting punches to the head.
Calzaghe rocked him with a short left that quickly drew blood over the American's left eye and the sight on the big screen of Jones being treated by his cutman at the end of the round brought loud cheers from the thousands of travelling Welsh fans.
It was the turning point in the fight as Jones' corner could not stop the bleeding for very long between rounds and Calzaghe repeatedly sought out the problem area.
Again Jones received prolonged attention from the doctor between rounds as Calzaghe prowled the ring waiting for his rival to emerge for the 11th.
Jones was still game, though, talking to Calzaghe and launching darting assaults but the Welshman looked completely at ease.
An extremely respectful touch of the gloves between the two boxers began the 12th and final round before Calzaghe resumed his war of attrition on Jones, interrupted only by a slip to the canvas from Canadian referee Hubert Earle, that brought a slightly comical end to proceedings.
Not that Calzaghe cared. He had already started celebrating.