Hatton wins and sets up mega fights

On November 24, 2008 by

So the Hitman is back after a pretty one-side victory over light punching Paulie Malignaggi. The New Yorker saw his corner throw in the towel with just 28 seconds to go of the 11th round leading to the fighter being most displeased.

Speaking to Ian Darke after the fight Malignaggi was moaning and questioning why his corner had pulled him out but before he could get into full flow he was interrupted by his promoter Lou DiBella. He said that whilst his fighter was the bravest kid you’ll ever see, Hatton was terrific and his fighter just wasn’t going to win the fight. He also said that this may have been the best Ricky Hatton since the Kostya Tszyu fight and maybe even better than that – high praise indeed.

As for Hatton, this puts him well in the shop window for a mega fight with the winner of the Oscar De La Hoya v Manny Pacquiao fight on December 6. Should De La Hoya win then you’d expect a fight between them at 147lbs in Wembley next summer, should Pacquiao stun everyone and pull the upset then they would fight at 140lbs probably in Vegas.

A De La Hoya fight in Wembley is mouthwatering but Hatton has had trouble up at 147 and to take on someone of De La Hoya’s class up there would be dangerous. However his performance in the early hours of Sunday morning our time showed us that Ricky Hatton still has a lot left in the tank. The big fights are still coming and British boxing still has three guys who are all sitting at the very top table.

Mayweather blasts Malignaggi

On November 20, 2008 by

For those boxing fans who are not already excited about the prospect of Ricky Hatton taking on Paulie Malignaggi on Saturday, the recent statements made by Floyd Mayweather Senior should go a long way to increasing the sense of anticipation surrounding the clash. Mayweather, who is currently training Hatton, has stated that the American fighter poses absolutely “no threat” to the British legend.

The criticism of the American fighter did not stop here. Mayweather believes that Malignaggi will find himself in real trouble when he faces Hatton at the weekend and ultimately, the trainer could not find “anything good” to say about him.

Some of Mayweather’s comments are fairly amusing, including the one which revealed that although the fighter “can run”, this is in fact one of his many weaknesses. Furthermore, he is suffering from an absence of power and an ultimate “lack of everything”.

As well as criticising the American, Mayweather was keen to hype up the potential of Ricky Hatton. He believes that British fans of boxing will be able to observe a completely new fighter when Hatton enters the ring in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Although Hatton may be slower than Malignaggi, the weakness of the American’s punches will mean that, in Mayweather’s opinion, the Brit will emerge victorious. According to the legendary trainer, these punches from Malignaggi are comparable to “wind flying across your face”.

Although Mayweather was obviously keen to support his fighter, he also had some serious words of warning regarding his controversial lifestyle. Ricky Hatton famously puts on weight between fights and does not think twice about indulging in the food and drink he desires. Mayweather believes that this lifestyle can at the very least cut a boxer’s career short if not prove potentially lethal.

Robertson claims third ranking event

On November 18, 2008 by

The Welsh snooker player, Matthew Stevens, who was fighting for a second ranking title, was unlucky to come up against an impressive and tough competitor during the final of the Bahrain Championship last weekend.

His competitor for the title was Neil Robertson, the Australian snooker player who is currently ranked tenth in the world. Although Stevens played well throughout the closely fought match, Robertson asserted his dominance and eventually won by a score of 9-7.

The match started with little hint of the excitement which was to follow at a later stage. Robertson opened up a 3-0 lead, at which point he felt “unbelievable, I was playing like I do in practice”, but the Welshman managed to bring the score back to 7-6, largely as a result of good defensive play. However, this comeback simply served to spur on Robertson, who won the critical fourteenth frame and continued to win the match.

Although Robertson has only won three ranking titles during his career (with his previous successes coming in the 2006 Grand Prix and the 2007 Welsh Open), he has an impressive record of winning every final in a ranking competition he has managed to reach. The player was rewarded with a total of £48,000 for his efforts at the Bahrain Championship and he revealed that winning the competition was a “real privilege”.

Robertson’s record puts Stevens’ record in finals to shame. The Welshman has now lost a total of six out of seven finals and he revealed his disappointment at losing in Bahrain after the match: “I’m gutted to lose this one”.

Joe Murray considers quitting boxing

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Joe Murray has spoken of his intense frustration and anger at the scoring during his defeat at the European Amateur Championships, which were held in Liverpool.

The young fighter from Manchester was competing against David Oliver Joyce from Ireland. The match finished 16-3 in Joyce’s favour but certain decisions seemed to go against the Manchester fighter.

Joyce went down during the first round but it was ruled to be a slip by the referee. Indeed, Murray did not score a single point until the final round of the fight. After the match, the boxer, who is a world featherweight bronze medallist, revealed that he may quit amateur boxing.

He stated that he has been “driven away” by unfair decisions and questioned the point of “putting in the hard graft” in training when a fair fight is denied by questionable decisions. Murray believes that if the judges take a personal dislike to a fighter, their decisions will be affected.

The fighter, who is still only 21 years of age, was also vocal in his criticism of the scoring at the Beijing Olympics and now believes that if he does not turn professional, he will have to quit the sport completely.

Joe Gallagher, the fighter’s coach, was keen to provide support to his young boxer. He believed that Murray put in a great performance and the scoring was so bad that it became embarrassing. He finished his statement by revealing that the public will never see “Joe wearing an amateur vest again”.

Fans of British boxing will hope that Murray does not quit the world of boxing and manages to make a successful transition, if he so chooses, between the realms of amateur boxing and professional boxing.

Campbell makes history in Liverpool

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Fans at the Echo Arena in Liverpool witnessed history in the making this weekend, as Luke Campbell became the first English European amateur champion for forty seven years. Frankie Taylor was the last boxer from England to win such a title, after he was successful in Belgrade in the early 1960s.

Luke Campbell, who is from Hull and is still only twenty-one years of age, managed to overcome the challenge provided by Detelin Dalakliev from Bulgaria.

The tournament was his first major test on an international stage, and the young fighter has since spoken of his desire for this success to spur him on to greater things at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Campbell won the match on countback after Dalakliev managed to level the fight with just two seconds remaining. Up until this point, Campbell had been leading by one point but the fight finished with the boxers holding five points each. The English bantamweight was awarded the win after it was found that he had thrown more punches than Dalakliev during the match.

After the fight, the young boxer spoke of his exhilaration at going beyond “three fights in a tournament” and gaining invaluable experience. However, Campbell is also aware that he has “plenty to improve on” before the Olympics begin.

The boxer’s coach, Terry Edwards, echoed this sentiment, by revealing that although Campbell is not the perfect fighter, he is dedicated to his training and is capable of fighting at the very highest level.

Edwards gave fans of Team GB some good news, by stating his belief that the boxer will not only do well at the London Olympics, but will also “get a medal there”.

Holyfield aims to become oldest heavyweight title-holder

On November 17, 2008 by

Evander Holyfield, who is 46 years of age, has revealed that he will fight against Nikolai Valuev with the aim of becoming the oldest heavyweight title-holder of all time.

He has spoken of his ambition of beating the record set by George Foreman, who knocked out Michael Moorer at the age of 45. This record was set in 1994 and the American boxer managed to win both the IBF and the WBA titles in that match.

The boxing legend, Holyfield, will come up against Valuev, who is Russia’s WBA champion, in the middle of December in Zurich, Switzerland. Valuev will be tough competition for the American fighter. He is both heavier and taller than Holyfield and has revealed that he will take the fight “very seriously” and will do all he can to beat his “strong” opponent.

The fight will be Holyfield’s first since he lost to Sultan Ibragimov last year. It will be a good opportunity for the boxer to prove himself after a tough couple of years. Although Holyfield (who may be remembered for having his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson in 1997) has won the title of world champion four times, he has only won five of his eleven fights since 2001.

Some recent performances have seen a different fighter from the one seen in legendary matches against fighters including Lionel Byram and James Douglas.

There has been some talk in the American media of the fighter’s financial problems. He has apparently struggled to keep up with child-support payments and has had to face the threat of a prison sentence.

Haye knocks Barrett block off

On November 16, 2008 by

David Haye stepped back up to heavyweight last night and took apart a decent fighter in Monte Barrett.

Haye has been hyped up to the nth degree but has always been to back to it with terrific K/O wins in France against Cruiserweight king Jean-Marc Mormeck and then unifying the division by knocking out Enzo Maccarinelli in the second round.

With that he had done everything in the division and he proclaimed that he was going to step up and dominate the big boys. It all started last night and Monte Barrett came over as the #6 challenger in the WBO rankings but he looked like a nobody as Haye went to work.

Whilst Haye took his more experienced man apart it wasn’t plain sailing for the Londoner. He was down in the fifth but wasn’t given a count as Barrett hit him after he’d gone down. Instead of his opponent getting a count, Barrett lost a point but this fight was never going to the cards.

Barrett was down twice in the third and twice in the fourth, it surprised me that the fight even went into the fifth and after Haye had gone down, you knew that he was going to come looking for Barrett’s chin and a left cross and a straight right put the Yank on the deck for the fifth and final time as Ritchie Davies waved off the fight.

It was a good outing for Haye but also slightly worrying. You don’t want to be walking on to bombs in the heavyweight division and technically Haye looked naïve at best. However he has the heart and he has the punching power to take out anyone and if one of the Klitschko brothers wants to take him on next summer then it’s a fight we would all like to see.

I’d personally think it would be better to beat up another couple of guys first, take out a Holyfield or a Rahman and really whet the appetite for a bout with one of the brothers and then probably the other straight afterwards.

The heavyweight division needs David Haye and he could be the saviour of the sport. I look forward to his next fight and he is without a doubt one of the most exciting boxers on the planet.

Calzaghe outclasses Jones

On November 11, 2008 by

Not many casual sports fans will have been awake during the early hours of Sunday morning. Football fans will have been fast asleep following a satisfying day of Premier League action, with Manchester United falling at the hands of a confident Arsenal team and Chelsea braving the elements in Blackburn to earn another three points.

Tennis fans will have been dwelling upon the fortunes of Andy Murray in the Masters Cup and rugby fans will have been dreaming about the England team under new coach, Martin Johnson.

However, for fans of boxing, the early hours of Sunday morning adopted a slightly different feel. Millions of fans all over the world ignored the calls from their bodies for sleep, in order to watch Joe Calzaghe take on Roy Jones Jr in an exciting fight in Madison Square Garden, New York.

For British fans of the Welsh fighter who decided to stay awake (and, of course, for the 7000 fans who made the trip to the USA to provide support), the boxing legend did not disappoint. Indeed, he managed to put on one of the best performances of his career to thrash Jones in real style.

The three judges present at Madison Square Garden scored the fight 118-109 and this result extended the unbeaten run of the Welshman to an impressive total of forty-six matches. Impressively, Calzaghe threw a total of 985 punches, whilst Jones only managed 475. Furthermore, the Welshman landed thirty-five per cent of his strikes, with Jones only managing a percentage of thirty-three per cent.

The match was significant as it was widely considered to be Calzaghe’s last. Since the fight, though, there has been renewed speculation about whether or not the boxer will decide to quit the sport after all. However, Jones may now decide to retire, after fifty-two wins and five defeats.

The second round brought a particularly impressive performance from the Welshman but Jones tried to combat the quick, strong punches by using his gloves to good effect. The following round saw Calzaghe penetrating Jones’ guard and the crowd really started to get behind the fighter. The following rounds saw the same pattern emerge and Jones started to fade away dramatically.

Unfortunately for the boxer from Florida, an injury to his left eye saw any confidence drain away rapidly. The final four rounds of the fight saw Calzaghe dominate and truly humble the American fighter. Television pictures showed American fans leaving Madison Square Garden long before the inevitable conclusion of the match. Jones was so badly injured by the punches thrown by Calzaghe that he was taken to hospital to be stitched up after the fight’s conclusion.

Since the impressive victory in New York, Calzaghe has revealed that he will ‘probably’ retire. However, he is not going to rush into making any kind of public announcement just yet. The Welshman spoke of his satisfaction that he has “beaten all the top fighters” and revealed his pride at his ability to step up to light heavyweight level and “beat two American legends in America”.

46-0 – Enjoy your retirement Joe!

On November 10, 2008 by

Joe Calzaghe can walk into the sunset as an undefeated two weight World Champion. He demolished a former four-weight World Champion in Roy Jones Jr. in the early hours of Sunday morning to cement his legacy as one of the greatest fighters not only of his generation but of all time.

Calzaghe didn’t get recognition worldwide until his destroyed the highly touted Jeff Lacy and after a couple of easy defences he stepped into the ring with Mikkel Kessler, who held the WBA and WBC versions of the Super Middleweight title. Calzaghe’s WBO belt was also on the line as was the Ring Magazine belt that Calzaghe had won after beating up Jeff Lacy.

Kessler was undefeated as well so this was a huge clash. Kessler had Calzaghe in trouble in the 4th and the 7th. However Calzaghe won the late rounds to win a unanimous decision with the judges scoring the fight 117-111, 116-112, 116-112 in favour of the Welshman.

With that win Calzaghe had cleaned up the division and he decided it was time to move up. Bernard Hopkins at Light Heavyweight was the man waiting for Calzaghe. His American debut was in Vegas but wasn’t in any of the renowned venues. The Welshman would be floored in the first with a flash knock-down but would do the clearer work. The judges gave him the split decision 115-112, 113-114, 116-111.

Now he has beaten Roy Jones Jr. with the judges giving him every round except the first when yet again he had been put on his bum. There is no-one else out there for Calzaghe to fight that would get the juices flowing. Pavlik was given a boxing less by Hopkins. Joe has already said that he doesn’t do re-matches so another tussle with Hopkins seems unlikely.

Chad Dawson who Max Kellerman said was the obvious fight out there when interviewing the champ in the ring isn’t a fight that anyone really cares about. Any fight Calzaghe takes on now would just be about the money and not about enhancing his legacy.

So it seems clear that the future should be about retirement for the pride of Newbridge, Wales. He has enough money in his bank account to enjoy the rest of his life in luxury. He also has lots of money available to him in promotion work and no doubts a book could be in the offing. So money isn’t an issue and his future should be all about reaping what he has sown.

Enjoy your retirement Joe – you’ve earned it!

Calzaghe v Hopkins – Early Thoughts

On November 5, 2008 by

Over the States we’ve just seen a huge vote for change but one man who is happy to keep the status quo is Joe Calzaghe. The unbeaten Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Ring Magazine titleist steps into the ring with Roy Jones Junior in the early hours on Sunday morning UK time in a bid to end his career as only the third every undisputed, unbeaten World Champion.

Rocky Marciano and Floyd Mayweather Junior have both done it – although there is still some conjecture as to whether the latter is permanently retired. Calzaghe has said for a long time that this would be his final fight and the destruction of Kelly Pavlik by Bernard Hopkins has left little appetite for a Pavlik v Calzaghe match-up should Calzaghe beat Jones Junior.

It has been quite a career for Calzaghe and his legacy shouldn’t be altered by a win. The only thing that can happen a defeat and will net him around $10million but would also cause him not to retire as an unbeaten champion.

From the moment he beat Chris Eubank to capture the Vacant WBO Super-Middleweight Title to the way he took Jacy Lacy apart and the way he withstood everything Mikkel Kessler had to throw at him before breaking the will of the then-unbeaten Dane, Calzaghe showed that he had the heart of a champion and wasn’t a bad boxer either.

This fight is not about the legacy of Joe Calzaghe, it is all about sweetening the bank balance before he calls it a day. You hope that the Pride of Wales has his mind focused and doesn’t think he can cruise to victory and waltz off into the sunset.

The way Hopkins took apart Pavlik puts Calzaghe’s SD win over him into a new light. Hopkins really did teach Pavlik a boxing lesson and the man from Youngstown, Ohio was so highly touted that his defeat and the manner of the defeat sent shockwaves around the boxing world.

Calzaghe should have enough to beat Roy Jones Junior but you never know. He needs to have his wits about him at boxing’s citadel Madison Square Garden. It should be the cherry on top of his illustrious career but there is just something in the back of my mind that sends a shiver down my spine.