The weather is 70 -75 degrees with minimal humidity. People wander the streets in T-shirts and shorts, a polar opposite of the current arctic climate in my home of New York City.
A pleasant breeze drifts in from the pier, everyone is enjoying the weather and me, I’m stuck in a 50 degree, dark convention center, working.
It’s at this stage I gaze at the Internet for a tiny bit of escapism or joyous news.
Instead I read the news that Joe Calzaghe has decided to retire.
This doesn’t really come as a shock; however I am sad that I will never have the opportunity to see Calzaghe fight in the flesh. In the future, seeing a Calzaghe fight will be like recalling watching Joe Louis or Marvin Hagler.
Calzaghe has been an amazing champion; his title reign alone is something to be admired. How many champions go undefeated for 11 years?
That coupled with his exciting style made him a joy to watch.
Fighting the media specter
The problem with retirement is that the media will always point to a new challenger. Calzaghe has already stated that, due to his fragile hands, one to two fights a year is all he can do.
Marciano’s record was in sight but it’s only worth breaking a record if you are fighting worthy opponents.
Before his loss, Kelly Pavlik was a worthy opponent, but his loss to Bernard Hopkins all but ended the prospect of that show down.
Chad Dawson was another possibility but after fighting men like Kessler, would a lesser known opponent enhance his career or would the same media that called for the fight later label it as an "expected" win.
The reason I reference Kessler is because is his one of the toughest middleweights around. Calzaghe inflicted his lone career loss. However, once Calzaghe beat him there was no acclaim for beating a fighter that could best most in the middleweight division. It was seen as business as usual, this is why Calzaghe would prefer to retire at his peak.
One fight too many
Too many champions have fought past their primes.
How many people will remember the dominant Evander Holyfield? The likelihood is that recollection will recall a faded old man that boxed too long.
The same can be said for Roy Jones Jr, even though he will always be considered the best in the nineties, memory will conjure up the thrashing Calzaghe inflicted on him.
Calzaghe doesn’t want to end up in Jones’ position.
Bowing out at the top will cement Calzaghe as a mythical figure for future generations. He is the closest we will get to a Marciano or a Hagler in our generation.