Boxing: Calzaghe's world title under threat from Mitchell

Often in boxing the most difficult opponents are the most boring, and tomorrow night Joe Calzaghe meets Byron Mitchell in a fight that is extremely dangerous.

Calzaghe, 30, will be defending his World Boxing Organisation super middleweight title for the 13th time against Mitchell in front of a wildly partisan crowd at the Cardiff International Arena but home advantage means little in any fight between experienced pros.

Mitchell, 29, has been an influential but neglected player in the super-middleweight division for about three years and has always conducted himself with class on both sides of the ropes. The Florida native has lost just twice in 28 fights and was the World Boxing Association champion in March of this year.

The most threateningof Mitchell's credentials is his proven ability to snatch victory in the closing stages of gruelling fights. In June 1999 Mitchell was trailing heavily on all three scorecards before knocking out Frankie Liles in round 11 to win the title for the first time, and he did the exact same thing in March 2001 when he beat Manny Siaca in the 12th round to win the title for the second time.

Mitchell lost his first title on points in Paris to the Frenchman Bruno Girard and his second reign ended when he the fought current International Boxing Federation champion, Sven Ottke, in Berlin in March this year. The Ottke defeat was a split decision and that was the last time he fought.

During the last two months three or four decent fighters have been linked with Calzaghe for tomorrow night's fight but none would have brought to the ring the very real danger that Mitchell does. It is hard to argue against Mitchell being the best fighter that Calzaghe has fought during his 10-year career and its unbeaten sequence of 35 fights.

However, Mitchell, while being a respectable puncher, is a gently spoken nice guy with technical ability rather than rugged charisma and he arrived in Cardiff this week promising a good, clean fight and clearly happy with the prospect of meeting a good boxer. Mitchell, in other words, is a bit dull for the extreme end of the boxing market and that is exactly why his fight with Calzaghe is so intriguing.

There was a time when Calzaghe looked destined to join the Nineties legends Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn and Steve Collins as one of the nation's best known fighters. In 1997, Calzaghe beat Eubank to win the title but since then, in 12 solid defences, he has struggled to get the recognition he deserves. That should change tomorrow evening, however, in what is surely one of the very best world title fights to take place in Britain for many, many years.

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