CALZAGHE-WARD A BAD IDEA

Until 1967 the super-middleweight division didn’t exist. Since it’s formation as the middle ground between middleweight and light-heavyweight, it’s taken some time to warm up. While legends like Sugar Ray Leonard, James Toney, Roy Jones Jnr and Bernard Hopkins have at some point fought in the division, the only two fighters to dominate the weight class are Wales’ Joe Calzaghe and USA’s Andre Ward. You’d think talk of the division’s two greats meeting would be a mouth watering prospect but it isn’t, when I read Virgil Hunter (Ward’s trainer) call out Calzaghe I physically cringed. I’ve never been a fan of hypotetical discussions picking who would win between greats from different eras but that’s exactly where this one belongs, leave it to the imagination. I believe that if you take the Calzaghe that beat Jeff Lacy and Mikkel Kessler to become WBC/WBA/WBO/IBF champion and you also take Ward after the weekend’s career best win over Chad Dawson this past weekend to retain his WBC/WBA titles and put the pair in a ring together then it could sell 70,000+ tickets. The only fight bigger that hasn’t happened in recent time is Floyd Mayweather Jnr v Manny Pacquiao. In their primes, Calzaghe v Ward would have a greater global appeal than Wladimir v Vitali Klitschko. … But we don’t have a time machine! Look at reality, Calzaghe has been enjoying life for four years and he’s in no situation to make a return. What does beating an inactive and 40+ Calzaghe add to Ward’s legacy or career? Nothing, apart from money and an ego flattering. Whatever Calzaghe turned up to that fight, there’s no way he’d be as good as his brilliant best. Their routes to domination couldn’t be more different. Calzaghe (46-0, 32KO) waited over ten years and 20 defences of his WBO title to secure a unification fight, while Ward’s was more straight forward and structured through Showtime’s Super-Six tournament which guaranteed the finalists a WBC/WBA unification fight in a four-fight route. Calzaghe left the sport with nothing to prove. Unfortunate to miss the great British quartet of Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn, Steve Collins and Michael Watson in their pomp while fights with Hopkins and Jones Jnr alluded him  until the very end of his career – the Newbridge man still achieved enough to become the divisions first memorable lineal champion and undeniable king. So, why risk it? Although a win over this version of Andre Ward would be Calzaghe’s best win, it just isn’t realistic and a loss would ruin and betray almost everything his entire life up until 2008 was given for. There’s no way Calzaghe could come out of retirement and do his amazing legacy justice because four years out is a long, long time. Calzaghe has his doubters but he always will, the public even crucified Jesus Christ so it happens to everyone. If Calzaghe did come back and beat Ward (which I’m not saying would happen) he’d still be criticised and there’s always another contender or champion to fight then. Always. The idea just shouldn’t be entertained, they are fighters of different eras and it should be left like that. Maybe I’m fuelling the fire by even acknowledging it and discussing the reasons it shouldn’t happen but I am because I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if the idea was pursued by Ward’s team. After all, where does he go next? Ward’s cleaned out his division except Lucian Bute who’s lost to Ward victim Carl Froch and them two are tied in to a IBF title rematch in 2013. The Californian holds a comprehensive victory over WBO champion Arthur Abraham and it’s unlikely the German will be tempted in to a rematch or that anyone would be interested in it. Middleweight contender Gennady Golovkin doesn’t have the profile to make pay masters back a fight with Ward and Julio Cesar Chvez Jnr is intent to stay at middleweight despite starving himself to be there. With Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez previously ruling themselves out of a fight with Ward there are less and less options for Ward to consider. Calzaghe’s made comments on more than one occasion that he’d only come back for a £10m fight. While Ward won’t pay that much, if his team decide to pursue Virgil Hunter’s comments then they can pay an awful amount. But please Joe, you’ve given us the memories, we love you for it, don’t be tempted! Dewi Powell BoxingWales Editor ___________________________________________________________________ Virgil Hunter’s comments to BoxingScene.com were, “A couple of months back, Joe Calzaghe made the comment that he would have beaten Andre Ward after Andre defeated Carl Froch in the Super Six. We’ve given Joe the proper respect and acknowledged his legacy for his accomplishments, but if you are going to be minimizing Andre on where he is as a fighter – to make that comment when you are in retirement and sitting somewhere safely in England – if you are going to make that comment, then as a fighter you should come out of retirement and back that comment up.” Those comments were in response to Joe Calzaghe’s interview with our man Ciaran Gibbons in February. You can see that interview below.

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