Jeff "Left Hook" Lacy, who won the IBF super middleweight title in 2004 and held it until he was shockingly routed by Joe Calzaghe in 2006, will return to the ring in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Saturday, November 30. It will be Lacy's first fight since December 2010.
Now 36, Lacy says he's looking to get himself back to the world title level, but it would seem unlikely. When we last saw Lacy, he had never really recovered from two things: his almost humiliating loss to Calzaghe in Cardiff, and a shoulder surgery that seemed to rob him of his best punch.
It's not simply the loss to journeyman tough guy Dhafir Smith in Lacy's last fight that had raised concerns about his ability at that point. He also suffered one-sided defeats to Roy Jones Jr and Jermain Taylor, when neither were exactly at the top of their games, and he'd struggled in debatable wins over Vitali Tsypko, Peter Manfredo Jr, Epi Mendoza, and Otis Griffin.
More likely than not, Lacy (25-4, 17 KO) will never get close to the sport's top levels again. This isn't about him being beaten up or worn down, even; it's about ability, or at least that was the case when he last fought. Maybe three years of rest will be good for him, but the odds of this being a truly notable comeback are pretty low.