Shortly after WBC/WBA super middleweight champ, Andre Ward stopped Chad Dawson in the tenth round of a dominant virtuoso performance Saturday night, members of Team Ward issued a challenge to the fighter many regard as the best to ever compete in the division.
Talking directly to Welsh future Hall of Famer, Joe Calzaghe, Ward's trainer, Virgil Hunter said the following to Rick Reeno of Boxingscene:
"We've given Joe the proper respect and acknowledged his legacy for his accomplishments, but if you are going to be minimizing Andre on where he is as a fighter - to make that comment when you are in retirement and sitting somewhere safely in England - if you are going to make that comment, then as a fighter you should come out of retirement and back that comment up."
Hunter was referring to statements Calzaghe made regarding Ward immediately following the Oakland native's victory over Carl Froch, telling media that he had "too much speed and power" for the newly-crowned winner of the World Boxing Classic tournament and would've beaten him.
Calzaghe is best known for a 10-year stretch as world super middleweight champion, briefly holding the IBF, WBA, and WBC titles, but preferring to stick with the WBO belt. Many of Calzaghe's defenses, though, were against very questionable opposition.
Even at a time where there were few world class fighters competing in the division, Calzaghe still kept an overall low level of opposition for much of his reign, including a near seven-year stretch where he defended against almost nobody of note. Toward the end of his career, though, Calzaghe upped the level of his opposition, scoring wins over Jeff Lacy and Mikkel Kessler as well as decision victories over 40-something one-time legends, Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. at light heavyweight.
Calzaghe is 40-years-old now and four years removed from his last bout, so don't expect him to take the bait. As a matter of fact, it would've been unlikely that he'd take such a bout, even in his prime.
For all the revisionist history and post-career bluster, Calzaghe's career legacy is marked by a dogged determination to avoid tough fights for long stretches of his reign and for a laundry list of fighters he never chose to engage.
Let it be known, though, that if the two had actually met, prime vs. prime, this writer feels that Ward would've walked through Calzaghe, battering and eventually stopping the titlist inside of ten rounds. Right now, if Calzaghe decided to come out of retirement and meet the challenge, Ward-Calzaghe would be an ugly, one-sided farce, lasting no more than five rounds before Calzaghe would be stopped in a most brutal manner.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Rick Reeno, Team Ward Dare Joe Calzaghe To Unretire, Finalize Fight!, Boxingscene
Boxrec, Joe Calzaghe Career Record
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