By Scott Gilfoid: Former IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe (46-0, 32 KOs) will have the pleasure to be working this Friday’s fight card on Spike TV on Premier Boxing Champions headlined by WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1, 22 KOs) defending his title against #8 WBC Badou Jack (18-1-1, 12 KOs) from the UIC Pavilion, in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Calzaghe, 43, will be working both the Dirrell vs. Jack fight, and the co-feature bout between WBA World middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (28-1, 25 KOs) making his first defense of his title against #4 WBA Caleb Truax (25-1-2, 15 KOs).
Dirrell is coming off of two grueling and incredibly exciting fights against Sakio Bika. Unlike Adonis Stevenson, Dirrell didn’t have a weight advantage over Bika in order to get the better of him. Dirrell was roughly the same size as Bika, and it wasn’t a case of him having a big weight advantage like we saw with Stevenson and Bika.
This is Dirrell’s first defense of his World Boxing Council title. He’s been resting all this time since capturing the title from Bika last August. He wanted to get his voluntary defense out of the way before taking on his WBC mandatory challenger George Groves in the summer. That fight will likely see Dirrell making a nicer payday.
Groves and his promoters at Sauerland Events will likely attempt to get the fight staged in the UK in order to take advantage of Groves’ fan base over there, and to put him in a better position to get a victory by a decision. Dirrell’s adviser Al Haymon will likely make sure that the Dirrell-Groves fight takes place in the United States so that the fight can be televised on Premier Boxing Champions on one of the major networks like NBC or CBS.
Calzaghe retired in 2009 right at the same time that Dirrell, and his talented brother Andre Dirrell, were emerging as the new stars on the block in the 168 pound division.
You can say that Calzaghe picked the perfect time to retire from boxing before the Dirrell brothers and Andre Ward were both up to speed, because if Calzaghe had stuck around another year, he would have had a lot of pressure on him to fight these guys. He got out of the sport at the right time. Some boxing fans feel that Calzaghe was able to hold the titles for so long at 168 because he was a champion during the dead period of the division, which lasted roughly 10 years from 1997 to 2007. Interestingly enough, that was during Calzaghe’s entire reign as the WBO super middleweight champion.
Dirrell will be looking to impress the many boxing fans that will be seeing him for the first time on Spike TV. It’s going to be a great opportunity for him to show his stuff, and win over a lot of new fans with his performance in that fight. Jack is a talented fighter, and he only has one loss on his record to Derek Edwards. I’m sure Jack is going to make the fight competitive as long as it lasts.