Byrd Interested In Bout With Calzaghe
By Michael Lieberman: Former two-time heavyweight champion Chris Byrd (40-4-1, 21 KOs), now campaigning as a light heavyweight, is reportedly interested in a fight with undefeated super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe according to the British Boxing News website. Byrd, 37, recently lost to heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin by a 11th round TKO on October 27th, in the IBF heavyweight tournament to pick the mandatory challenger for IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko, who Byrd has previously lost twice to, losing his WBO and IBF heavyweight titles. Rather than attempting to work his way back up, Byrd opted to move down in weight to the 175 lb. light heavyweight division, completely skipping the cruiserweight division in the process.
Perhaps knowing that his speed isn’t what it used to be, Byrd has decided on fighting at the much smaller weight of 175, that way he wouldn’t have to deal with some of the powerful cruiserweights, some of which can punch as hard as most heavyweights. As for his hopes of a bout with the 36 year-old Calzaghe, this would seem to be a long shot, due to Calzaghe stating that he wants to wrap up his career. Besides that, there would likely be very little interest in a Byrd vs. Calzaghe fight, given Byrd’s relatively small fan base. At heavyweight, he failed to capture the fans interest in the four years he held the IBF title, and only defended the title four times before losing it to Klitschko.
If Calzaghe does decide to continue fighting, should he defeat Hopkins this Saturday night, Calzaghe has a lot of different options for mega-fights, such as middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, Roy Jones Jr., to name just a couple of fighters that would be interested in a fight with him. Most fans doubt that Calzaghe will retire after the Hopkins fight, since there would likely be a huge cry for him to meet up with Pavlik as well as a great deal of money for him to make in the process. The Hopkins fight, Calzaghe’s biggest payday of his career, would likely be topped by a bout with Pavlik, who is still young and at the top of his career.
While most people don’t give Byrd much of a chance at succeeding at light heavyweight, he just may well open a few eyes by winning a few fights, and perhaps capture a title along the way. At 37, he is younger than Antonio Tarver, who recently defeated IBF light heavyweight champion Clinton Woods, and younger also than Glen Johnson, 39, who gave all kinds of problems to WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson. The light heavyweight division is one of the weakest in all of boxing, with old fighters like Roy Jones Jr. in the top #2 and #3 spots in the WBO and WBA.
Byrd, though not quite as fast as he used to be, still fought remarkably well against Alexander Povetkin, a fighter that is considered to be the second best heavyweight in the division, in his last fight in October. Dropping 36 lbs since then, Byrd may turn out to be a much more powerful puncher in the light heavyweight division and a force to be reckoned with.
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