Source: Dan Rafael (ESPN.com)
The deal is finalized, the network is set, the venue is close, and now all that's left are the training camps, smack talkings, and waiting games for light heavyweight world champion Joe Calzaghe of Wales and former champion and four-division titleholder Roy Jones, Jr., of the United States. They will meet September 20th, most likely at Madison Square Garden, on HBO pay-per-view.
Calzaghe (45-0, 32 KO) says this will be his final fight, while for Jones (52-4, 38 KO) it is a chance to stamp further seals of approval on his already-lengthy resume for Canastota.
The 36-year old Calzaghe is at the peak of his fame at the moment, coming off of a win over fellow Hall of Fame-bound champion Bernard Hopkins in April, following impressive wins over the likes of Mikkel Kessler and Jeff Lacy during his reign as the king of the super middleweights. A win over Jones would be seen by most as likely, and he would probably take some heat in the press and fan circles for fighting a man that most believe is faded and hasn't been a truly upper echelon boxer in about half a decade.
But it's a fight, in my view, that makes great sense for Calzaghe. Jones still has a name, a devout fanbase, and has the ability to lure in some fans that may have fallen by the wayside over the years. It's a big money fight for Joe, and for Roy, who has won his last three fights over questionable competition (that's putting it nicely, probably) after a crushing three-fight losing streak at the hands of Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson in 2004-05.
After this fight, Rafael reports, Jones wants to go back to heavyweight and fight Samuel Peter. But that's all talk for now, and we know how Roy loves to talk.
Should Jones upset Calzaghe -- and it would be a big, big upset at this stage of the two careers -- he will be back in the game, back on a lot of pound-for-pound lists, and back to familiar ground, regarded as one of the sport's true champions.
The real downside for U.S. boxing fans comes from the fact that the Calzaghe-Jones pay-per-view will be preceded by another pay offering from HBO, when Joel Casamayor and Juan Manuel Marquez meet for the lightweight championship of the world on September 13.
Will that affect the PPV numbers of both shows? It almost has to. While the network is selling the line that the shows are aimed at different demographics, that's only moderately truthful. The shows are both aimed at boxing fans, a loyal breed of sports fans to be sure, but everyone has their limits on spending.
But that's a story for another time. Right now, though, how likely are you to purchase either show? Or both?