Boxing: Calzaghe takes the long and grinding road

Joe Calzaghe is already the Prince of Wales and now he is King of the Castle, too, by virtue of a 12-round victory over the Puerto Rican Miguel Jiminez at Cardiff's historic edifice last night. It was not the most exciting or exacting affair in which Calzaghe has been involved since he became the World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight champion a dozen fights and five years ago. He won every round on the score cards of all three judges and in many ways it was a punch-perfect performance, except that the punches he landed could have done with a little more snap and a little less slap.

There cannot have been a more bizarre backdrop for any boxing event with floodlights lighting up the battlements from which the Welshman made his entrance. The setting was more akin to a medieval feast than a modern punch-up and Calzaghe brought to the table a dazzling array of punches which left Jiminez bemused, but never bowed.

A doorman at a Las Vegas casino, Jiminez, 32, had declared: "I did not come here to lay down and get some pennies to go home. I came here to win a world title.'' Well, there was never much hope of him doing that but at least the doorman left with a tip. If you want to survive against Calzaghe then duck, dive and try not to get involved.

Jiminez came to survive. In 22 bouts, of which he has lost only one, he has never been off his feet and it was easy to see why. Calzaghe was disappointed and frustrated. His home-town audience clearly wanted him to become the first to stop Jiminez and in the early rounds this looked more than probable as he made a typically aggressive start, forcing his opponent on the defensive where he remained for the rest of the bout.

By the third round Calzaghe was landing frequently with an impressive series of left hooks and Jiminez was receiving a systematic going over. But while Calzaghe was resourceful Jiminez was resilient. The Puerto Rican had a point deducted for illegal use of the head in the 10th round and it was to everyone's surprise, not least Calzaghe's, that the fight had got that far.

Calzaghe admitted afterwards: "I was very frustrated at not being able to stop him but he was a very tough fighter.'' He said he injured his left hand early on and in the light of that it may been understandable that he was unable to put Jiminez away.

Before halfway Jiminez's corner seemed to know that their man was there to make the numbers up. "Come on Miguel, you've got to get close to him, baby,'' Kenny Groom, regularly seen as an American aide to Audley Harrison, urged. But Calzaghe was not an accommodating target.

So Calzaghe reigns supreme and fortunately it did not rain on his parade, a fine night in the open air making the occasion perhaps more impressive than the fight. However, the result may well have enhanced Calzaghe's chances of pinning down the world middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins.

There are indications that Hopkins is reasonably disposed towards a more realistic deal with promoter Frank Warren than the $6m he has been demanding and Calzaghe says this would be the defining fight of his career. As Hopkins is 36 it may be that he has been wary of meeting Calzaghe for professional rather than material reasons.

The Newbridge southpaw might, on top form, provide him with a more uncomfortable evening than he might relish, especially here in his own backyard. For as Calzaghe showed last night not only is an Englishman's home his castle, a Welshman's is too.

An Iranian exile who fights out of Margate under the name of Takaloo is one of the more colourful characters in the British ring. Alas Takaloo met his Waterloo when he lost a 12-round points decision to the Puerto Rican Daniel Santos. In doing so he forfeited his World Boxing Union light-middleweight title to Santos who already held the WBO version of the championship. It was a one-way affair despite Takaloo registering a knock-down. He suffered damage around both eyes and came close to being stopped.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral