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Calzaghe picks Roy over Pavlik

Calzagheisexcited_medium Source: BBC Sport

Joe Calzaghe has dismissed the proposal of a fight against middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, and is looking to go forward with a November date against Roy Jones, Jr.:

[T]he 36-year-old Calzaghe told the South Wales Argus: "A lot of people would love to see it.

"However, at this point, I think it's unlikely. I'm not sure if Pavlik really wants to face me at the moment."

Calzaghe, the world's best at super-middleweight and light-heavyweight, added: "He would have little to gain because I believe I would definitely beat him and, with respect to Gary Lockett, I would be a step-up too far for Pavlik."

However, after the victory over Lockett - his 30th career knockout in 34 victories - the 26-year-old Pavlik said: "Joe Calzaghe would be a great fight for me."

A showdown between power-puncher Pavlik and Calzaghe, boxing's longest-reigning world champion, would excite the sport's fans on both sides of the Atlantic.

"It would be a great fight for Joe," admitted Calzaghe's promoter Frank Warren. "But it's up to Joe, not Kelly Pavlik, whether the fight will happen."

It's quite unfortunate, though not totally unexpected, that we won't see Calzaghe-Pavlik this season, but the fight hasn't been outright shot down. It could happen in 2009.

What is slightly annoying is Calzaghe's choice of words about turning it down, as if he's doing it as a favor to Pavlik. Just say you'd rather fight Jones, a legend, right now, and wait on fighting Kelly. I also dislike his characterization of Pavlik's career as being not ready for a fight like Joe Calzaghe, as if Pavlik has fought only guys like Gary Lockett. It's not so much that Calzaghe would be a step up from Lockett, it's more that Lockett was such a massive step down for Pavlik.

This also brings up another issue, which is who Kelly Pavlik fights next. Top Rank has had a tentative plan for Pavlik to face Marco Antonio Rubio in September, but Arum is also not ruling out a fight against charismatic star and paper tiger Ricardo Mayorga, about whom Don King has called Arum.

A fight with Rubio, a puncher with an inflated record who would be another massive underdog against Pavlik, might be met with a certain amount of backlash. One stay-busy/mandatory fight is one thing, folks will forgive it. But you don't want to start painting Pavlik as a guy who's fighting weak opposition, whether that would be fair or not.

But let's be really fair to Rubio, Pavlik and Arum. No matter how you slice it, Rubio is no easier an opponent than Mayorga would be. It's just that Mayorga is famous and Rubio isn't. Mayorga would be chum, and Pavlik the great white shark.

The date being discussed for Calzaghe-Jones is November 15, and it would be presented by HBO on pay-per-view in the States. I think it promises to be an entertaining fight with a nice build-up and a final shot at major glory for Jones.

But it's no Calzaghe-Pavlik, that's for sure.

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