Is Calzaghe ready to call it a career?
NEW YORK - Joe Calzaghe remembers fighting in small halls in Britain, ducked by the world's best fighters, unable to get unification bouts and big paydays that he always believed he was due.
That was just a couple of years ago.
But now that the undefeated Welsh icon has ventured to America, dethroning two of its proudest champions of the past 15 years, Calzaghe finds himself thrust into the glaring spotlight - finally, at long last, even if a bit too late.
The popular Calzaghe battered and bloodied Roy Jones Jr. in a one-sided unanimous decision Saturday night in what Calzaghe has claimed will be his final bout. The victory at Madison Square Garden comes on the heels of a close decision over savvy veteran Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas, proving after all these years that Calzaghe really could win anywhere.
"I'm not going to announce anything right now," the 36-year-old Calzaghe said, when asked about retirement. "But I said before the fight this could possibly be my last night."
If so, he left a delirious crowd of 14,152 on its feet roaring.
Calzaghe (46-0, 32 KOs) overcame a flash knockdown in the first round, using his blazing hand speed and constant pressure to befuddle the 39-year-old Jones (52-5). Calzaghe opened a deep gash over his left eye midway through the fight, but by then it hardly mattered.
"I knew I had to make Roy Jones respect my punches," Calzaghe said. "I think I did."
The linear 175-pound super middleweight champ said he doesn't fancy rematches, but Hopkins sat ringside and would love nothing more than to reprise a fight he still believes he won.
Then there's International Boxing Federation champion Chad Dawson, who called Calzaghe out after the fight.
"Joe has a lot to be proud of and I for one am very impressed," Dawson said. "If Joe wants to have his grand farewell in Wales, I am ready to accommodate. My passport and world title belts are ready to travel across the pond."
So, could there be another one left?
"I just stepped out of the ring 15 minutes ago. Let me enjoy the fight now before I think about another fight," Calzaghe said. "What do you think I am, man, a sadist?"