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Is Pavlik Too Big of a Threat for Calzaghe?

Joe CalzagheBy Eric Thomas: In yesterday’s boxing news about super middleweight/light heavyweight champion Joe Calzaghe’s (45-0, 32 KOs) ending his relationship with his famous promoter Frank Warren, we see that Calzaghe is also not interested in fighting Kelly Pavlik at all, ever. Instead, Calzaghe, 36, said that he plans on moving forward and will be his own boxing promoter and will be likely fighting Roy Jones Jr. in the coming months, a fight which would be Calzaghe’s final bout of his career. The news about Pavlik, however, is like a dagger to the heart of most boxing fans because many of them much rather wanted to see this fight than the likely dull fight against the faded 39 year-old Jones, who is well past it at this point in his diminishing career.

Calzaghe, for whatever reason, appears to want no part of Pavlik, and seems to want things to be much easier by facing the much less powerful Jones. Who can blame Calzaghe, though, since Pavlik with his huge power would be a very tough fight for Calzaghe to win and might very well beat him.

I suspect that Calzaghe, if he was ever seriously considering fighting Pavlik, it might have died out when Calzaghe watched him dismantle Gary Lockett in three brutal rounds earlier this month. Lockett, a tough fighter with a lot of power, is trained by Calzaghe’s father, Enzo. Seeing a fighter that Calzaghe is very familiar with getting stopped in such a one-sided fashion, couldn’t have given him good feelings about having to face Pavlik and risk having the same done to him.

Although Calzaghe has said publicly that his main reason for not wanting to fight Pavlik is that he’s not a challenge, and would beat him easily, it seems to fly in the face of basic logic. After all, not only do boxing fans much more want to see Calzaghe face Pavlik, but the bout would also give Calzaghe a much bigger payday, a perfect way for him to get as much money as he could in his last professional fight. Money has been a big concern for Calzaghe in the past couple of years, as he’s made it known that he wanted to get as many big-money fights as he could with the little time he had left in his boxing career.

Calzaghe accomplished this to an extent, fighting Mikkel Kessler, Peter Manfredo Jr., Jeff Lacy and then most recently Bernard Hopkins. A fight with the 39 year-old Roy Jones Jr. would obviously be a continuation of this path, since it’s a fight that will bring Calzaghe a good payday despite Jones’ now faded skills. However, none of these fights compare to the kind of money that Calzaghe would make against Pavlik, and it’s not even close. For this reason, few fans or boxing writers alike believe Calzaghe when he says he doesn’t see Pavlik as a challenge. Indeed, they seem to think it’s the opposite of that – Pavlik is perhaps too big of a threat for Calzaghe to fight.

It doesn’t help matters that Calzaghe is totally obsessed with ending his career with his unbeaten record intact, thinking that it will leave him with a legacy of everlasting glory. That may or may not be the case, it’s hard to say at this point, but I personally don’t think his glory will be anything what he thinks it will be if he fails to summon his courage and fight Pavlik. I don’t think the fans will forget it, and probably neither with Calzaghe, either. No matter how much he’s accomplished in his long career, to be seen as someone that is showing fear of another fighter like Pavlik, I think, is a major turn off for fans.

Calzaghe can walk away from the fight, but in doing so he appears to be harming his legacy and leaving a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. In this case, it would be much better if Calzaghe fought Pavlik, even if he does lose the fight. At least by facing him, Calzaghe can say that he tried, and I think that will sit much better with the fans at the end of the day than if he just plain avoids Pavlik and gives a series of hard to swallow excuses.

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