It's Official: Joe Calzaghe Retires

Joe OneillCorrespondent IIFebruary 5, 2009

Joe Calzaghe announced his retirement today at the age of 36.

It had been speculated that he would retire after his recent dismantling of Roy Jones Jr.

Calzaghe had hinted that would be his last fight for months. He seemed to allude to it in a series of interviews after the Jones bout in which he admonished the state of boxing. At one point, he even stated that boxing was a "dying sport", and would be overtaken by the popularity of MMA.

Yes, those were irresponsible remarks and, I believe, made in haste over the lack of PPV views for the Jones bout. I believe that, after dominating Jones, Calzaghe grew tired of a lack of respect from the American boxing community.

Here is what I think of Joe Calzaghe.

I think he was the best pound-for-pound fighter of the last 30-years and deserves to be mentioned in the same ranks as Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and Rocky Marciano.

Certainly, he is the best fighter to ever come out of the United Kingdom by a wide margin.

Those of you who missed watching Calzaghe fight, you missed something very, very special. We won't likely see someone like Joe Calzaghe come along for quite some time.

He retires with a perfect 36-0 record. He hasn't lost a fight, pro, or amateur, since 1990.

Of course, the detractors will say he didn't fight anyone in their prime and that he lacked "knock-out power."

I beg to differ.

Calzaghe, over the last three years, has taken apart Jeff Lacy, Mikhail Kessler, Bernard Hopkins, and Roy Jones Jr. None of the fights was even close.

He landed more punches, and more power punches, on Roy Jones Jr. than anyone in history.

Each time, the "experts" proclaimed how Calzaghe would be exposed for his limitations.

Each time he proved them wrong.

"Just wait 'til he comes to the States and fights someone good!" they said.

Jeff Lacy was supposed to be too athletic for him. Calzaghe made him look slow and sluggish.

Kessler was supposed to be too strong for him. He never came close to hurting Calzaghe.

Hopkins resorted to holding and clinching for 12 rounds because he couldn't match Calzaghe's hand speed.

Roy Jones Jr.? After Roy completely destroyed Felix Trinidad, Calzaghe gave him a boxing clinic.

I have never seen faster hand speed for a super middleweight.

I have never seen a more active fighter, period. From the opening round until the toll of the final bell, Calzaghe was a whirling, twisting, shuffling, Tasmanian devil that fought from all angles and had the most poetic timing I've ever seen.

Not since "Sugar" Ray Leonard has a fighter "played" in the impact zone with such impunity. Monster rights would miss his chin by centimeters, and he'd just smile. Thunderous left hooks would graze his whiskers as if by design.

He threw more punches per round that any fighter I've ever seen. Nobody could match his pace or work rate. Calzaghe got knocked down a couple of times, but he was never in trouble. Each time he got rocked, he came back and punished his opponent. He never took a step backwards.

So we'll miss you, Joe. You were a throwback to a different era.