Roy Jones Jr. is set to take on undefeated Wales champion Joe Calzaghe this Saturday (November 8), in what could be the last fight in both the boxers’ careers.
Two big name fighters will stand toe-to-toe, both on a mission to prove something — Calzaghe would like to retire at the age of 36 with an undefeated record, while 39-year-old Jones fights to repair a reputation tarnished by three consecutive losses from 2004 to July 2006, including two devastating knockouts from the hands of Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson.
Since those losses Jones has never been the same. Although he’s won his last three bouts, the Pensacola, Florida faced lesser opponents, and wasn’t as sharp as the younger Jones fans have enjoyed over the year. However, against Calzaghe, he’ll have his hands full.
The Pride of Wales is known for his tremendous work rate, throwing over 100 punches every round. Jones is aware of this. So much so, he said he’s been seeing Calzaghe’s punches in his sleep.
“He started punching yesterday,” Jones joked earlier this week, via an interview with the Associated Press. “I’ve been ducking and dodging in my sleep. I know he’s punching already. I ain’t tripping about that, because that’s what he does. But we’ll have to see Saturday night what we’re going to do about that.”
Calzaghe has proven himself over his career. His last bout was a split decision win against 43-year-old Bernard Hopkins. Even in Hopkins old age, he’s as sharp as ever, and Joe was relentless, and was awarded the win.
Just like Hopkins, Calzaghe has the utmost respect for Jones and what he’s done over his career. But, when Saturday comes, he made it clear that there’s one man that stands in the way of his dreams and that’s Jones.
“Make no mistakes, I respect the guy,” Calzaghe said, “but he’s in my way. He’s fighting to stop something I’ve been working my life for, and I’m not going to allow that.”
Both fighters are nearing the ends of their careers, and some believe this bout has come a decade too late. Others, however, feel like boxing fans are in for a fight.
“I think we’re going to get a good fight,” boxing expert Bert Randolph Sugar told Reuters. “It’s up to Roy. He’s got to do more than throw one punch at a time. He’s got to throw combinations or else Calzaghe will overwhelm him. If he throws combinations we’ll have a hell of a fight.”
Either way, whoever wins, it’ll be the end of an era. While Jones is past his prime, Calzaghe is just about there, and he wants to go out with his legacy intact. This is definitely his last bout, he says. Not just to maintain his boxing rep but also because he made a promise to someone, that someone being his mother.
“I promised my mum this would be my last fight,” he says. “At the moment, I don’t want to fight on. I don’t want to go to the well once too often. I’m nearly 37 and in tremendous shape. But if you fight only for the money, you’ll get beat.”
Calzaghe did acknowledge, however, that “ifs” and “buts” may apply to that statement. Just in case, fans better tune in to make sure they catch his final battle, if it happens to be Saturday.
The bout goes down at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT on Saturday (November 8) at Madison Square Garden. It is also available on HBO pay-per-view.