Boxing: Calzaghe charged up to win place in history

In the city of Manchester, they are getting ready for a fight. And the gamblers, for once, think they are on to a winner.

During the past six months, the on-off meeting between the unbeaten Joe Calzaghe and the American idol, Jeff Lacy, has dominated speculation whenever boxing people have gathered. The fight was made secure shortly before Christmas and Lacy, who is also unbeaten, was made a firm, firm favourite.

However, Calzaghe has not lost a professional fight in 40 appearances and tonight will be his 18th defence of his World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight title, which he won back in 1997, but it will be a fight that firmly establishes Calzaghe's modern credentials.

Lacyholds the International Boxing Federation and International Boxing Organisation titles at super-middleweight and his plans clearly include major fights after tonight's easy win.

Back in 1995, the American Gerald McClellan was beaten by Nigel Benn in what was a tremendous boxing shock, but, for some reason, Calzaghe, who has shown none of the vulnerability that Benn had already displayed before his fateful fight, is considered a rank outsider.

"It suits me but it surprises me that so few people, both in the business and outside the business, think that Lacy is the favourite," said Calzaghe, whose mood in recent days suggests an added, far angrier edge to his usual, low-key preparation.

Lacy, it has to be said, has built his fantastically hyped reputation on a series of wins in fights he really had no chance of losing. Lacy is not the first and he will not be the last fighter to have a record that falls far short of his own interpretation of it because that is, after all, the way of the boxing world.

Lacy's best wins have been against men that Calzaghe also met and beat. Calzaghe narrowly out-pointed Runcorn's Robin Reid back in 1999 and Lacy was able to overpower - and, believe me, that is the only way to describe the fight - Reid in eight easy rounds last summer.

The other mutual opponent is a guy called Omar Sheika and, in 2000, Calzaghe stopped Sheika in five rounds, winning every round and looking quite brilliant on the night. But in 2004, Sheika, who was well past his sell-by date, managed to drop Lacy and lose on points over 12 rounds.

Not surprisingly, Calzaghe and his enigmatic father, Enzo, have pointed their fingers confidently at the Sheika-Lacy fight as a better form guide than the rather gung-ho bookies and punters.

Anyway, tonight, or, rather, tomorrow morning at 2.15, Calzaghe and Lacy will meet in a partial unification of the super-middleweight titles and in a fight that is quite literally one of the best to take place in a British ring for generations. The sensible money, not that there is a lot of that in the boxing business, is on a Calzaghe points win.

Lacy has not shown anything in his previous 22 fights to suggest that he is mature enough, accurate enough or has enough skills to control Calzaghe for 12 rounds.

Calzaghe has been on the canvas twice in his professional and amateur career and both times picked himself up and looked far more dangerous after the brief knockdown.

Tonight, it is possible he will have to do the same again but he will be on his feet at the final bell and he will have done enough to keep his title, add those of Lacy and leave the venue at dawn with his name in the special section of the British boxing history book.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
lifeAiming to show breasts in a non-sexual way for cancer awareness
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
tvBut something’s not quite right
Life and Style
The designer Veronica Etro (right) and her models enjoy the closing moments of her show during the 2015 spring/summer collections at Milan Fashion Week
fashionVersace at Milan Fashion Week
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week