When Joe Calzaghe went over to Madison Square Garden to defend his ring magazine light heavyweight title it was billed as ‘Battle of the Superpowers’. They were however both towards the end of their illustrious Careers, Jones having lost his edge since the move up and then back down from heavyweight as well as being Knocked out by newly unified champion Antonio Tarver. Calazgahe too was beginning to lose the air of invincibility he too had, getting knocked down by Bernard Hopkins and only winning by the narrowest of margins on a somewhat controversial scorecard. This time however, as the two go head to head in the Simboxx v South West Boxing, Fantasy 5 a side Tournament they will both be in their prime and ready to face off.
Their first fight started fast when a 39 year old Roy Jones dropped Joe with a straight right hand, suddenly looking as though he had rediscovered the magic he’d used to dominate division after division before he moved up in weight. The crafty Welshman however sprang straight back up to his feet and although he was hurt he fought bravely on recovering well and starting to win rounds. Roy rocked Joe with an uppercut in round 6 but was cut in round 7, with blood seeping into his eye he was never able to recover and lost the fight by a wide margin, every judge scoring the contest 118-109.
This clearly gives score one to Calzaghe and he used his dazzling hand speed and crafty footwork to out manoeuvre the vetran Jones. However tonight both men will be considered in their primes, both younger and both sharper as they clash in the virtual arena. So to look at who might win this rematch we need to see when their primes were, and what skills they had in that prime.
Calzaghe’s best night in the ring is absolutely clear as day, it’s the night in Manchester he took on Jeff Lacy. Lacy was billed as a miniature Mike Tyson, a destroyer of worlds who could knock out anyone, an invincible Titan sent to KO Joe and take his belts. Calzaghe however didn’t read that script and instead proceeded to put on the most brutal and efficient masterclass many had seen inside a boxing ring. Punch perfect he flowed from his southpaw style using a stunning variety of punches to pepper and sting Lacy, using his impeccable footwork to dart in and out of his counter attacks. He compensated for his lack of concussive power with volume, his style was death of a thousand cuts rather than a single hammer blow. Like a master fencer he simply poked and prodded, making Lacy look like a poor amateur rather than a world class contender.
Roy Jones Jr’s best night in the ring is harder to pin down. When you’ve beat the likes of Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Vinney Pazienza, Mike McCallum, Virgil Hill, Felix Trinadad and even John Ruiz at heavyweight it’s hard to pick a single night where Roy was at his best. Seen as this virtual fight will take place at 175lbs I think his most explosive, destructive and downright terrifying performance at this weight was his rematch with Montell Griffin. He lost their first encounter after a controversial disqualification when Jones, on the verge of a knockout victory, hit Griffin while he was taking a knee. This time he was in no mood to have the WBC title taken off him again. Roy started the fight with a concussive leaping left hook, stunning Griffin in the opening seconds, followed by another that sent Griffin flying 10 feet across the ring and into the ropes. Jones stalked Griffin nonchalant about the counters from Griffin, walking his man down. Then right at the end of round one of the most intelligent knockout blows you’ll ever see, Roy who had been setting up the right left hook all round goes to throw it again prompting Griffin to lean back, then as the punch is in mid flight Jones Adjusts it into a quasi Uppercut so as to hit Griffin clean on the chin as he’s at the most vulnerable point of his slip. A perfect display of nuanced aggression, of skillful destruction, of intelligent power. It’s for these reasons we at SimBoxx have picked a prime Roy Jones Jr to get revenge for his loss to Joe Calzaghe.
These are without a doubt two of the best fighters of the modern era, a man often touted as the best boxer the British isles have ever produced and the other an all time pound for pound contender. It’s a mouthwatering match up to Kickstart our fantasy 5-a-side tournament and it can only be fireworks!
Ewan Breeze of SimBoxx
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