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September 18, 2008


On Tuesday, September 16th, Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones kicked off their first press conference at the Hard Rock Café in NYC to announce their super fight on November 8th. Although the HBO cameras were rolling for their upcoming HBO 24/7 specials, both men were very cordial and extremely respectful to one another.

Before the two fighters and their camps stepped to the podium to speak, a representative from Ring magazine came forward to make a special presentation. In front of the packed crowd at the Hard Rock Café, Joe Calzaghe was officially presented with the Ring Light Heavyweight belt. As those in attendance clapped and Joe posed with the belt for pictures, Roy Jones could be seen looking at the belt with a focused stare and a sense of familiarity. The brief stare spoke a thousand words as Roy realizes that a victory over Joe will return his old property to him. In addition, a win will place him back on top of the Light Heavyweight division where he once reigned before being derailed by Antonio Tarver.

After members of HBO and Jones’s team spoke, his trainer, Alton Merkinson took the podium. Merkinson first let it be known how proud he was of both fighters for stepping up to make this fight happen and going about setting it up themselves. Merkinson also made it clear to Team Calzaghe and the attending media that he and Roy are not taking Joe lightly. “Some people say he’s not a puncher..But if you don’t come in good shape when fighting this young man, you’re going to have some serious problems. 45 fights, 45 wins, 32 KO’s and people say he’s not a puncher? I don’t see how 32 individuals go down without him being able to punch.” stated Merkinson. Elaborating on Calzaghe’s unlimited stamina and punching, Mertkinson said, “Some people throw those power punches and one shot will take you down, but if you take drops of water and drop it on steel continuously, eventually it’s going to wear. If you don’t get out the way of this guy, that’s what will happen to you”.

Merkinson also sent a message to Roy’s critics who think he has no shot against Calzaghe. “People say he’s 39, he’s old and doesn’t have it anymore. But I can assure you that what I’ve observed in the past 3 or 4 months is shocking to me and will be shocking to you. This individual can do the same things he did in the early nineties. There are even things that he improved in. He knows his body now, he’s more mentally prepared and he knows how to get more physically prepared then he did back then”, stated Merkinson. As he left the podium, Jones’s trainer pointed out what he feels will be the biggest advantage to Jones stating, “Calzaghe has good ring generalship. He’s a master and a skilled boxer. Roy has good generalship, but he is a grand master in boxing.

Calzaghe’s father and trainer, Enzo Calzaghe also spoke on his son’s biggest career fight. Enzo stated that for his whole career, Joe had been bugging him and bugging him about wanting to fight Roy Jones. Enzo stated that he is finally happy that the two are finally fighting. Enzo also noted that he was appreciative of the courtesy from Roy Jones, Jr. throughout the promotion of this fight. Enzo stated he normally doesn’t talk to an opponent’s camp until fight time or after the fight. However, in this situation, both camps speak regularly as Calzaghe Promotions and Square Ring, Inc are jointly promoting the fight together.

After several gracious comments from both camps, Roy Jones, Jr. took the podium to speak. Speaking to the press, Roy Jones stated “This is probably one of the biggest fights of my career”. Jones explained that he and Calzaghe both had to overcome their legal issues with Don King and Frank Warren respectively in order to make this happen. Jones went on to state that the fight was basically initiated based off a conversation the two had over the phone. After agreeing to the fight, Roy and his team flew over to the UK to meet with Calzaghe and his team. It was there that all the details for the fight were ironed out.

Speaking on his respect for Calzaghe, Jones stated, “When you got a guy who is a true athlete like yourself, you have to respect that. People wonder why we don’t say anything bad about each other. We don’t got nothing bad to say about each other. For what? On November 8th, we’re going to give you every single ounce that we got right here (pointing to his heart). Roy Jones acknowledged his respect but also knows business must be taken care of. “We understand that we are not out there to kill each other, but we out there to do the best we can to put each other on the canvas. And that comes from right here (pointing at his heart). It doesn’t come from here (pointing to his mouth) as Oscar and Floyd found out”.

Roy was also sure to let the press know that although he will be all business inside the ring, he is coming to look good doing it. Acknowledging his age, Roy states that he will come in the best possible condition for a 39 year old and is preparing for victory. It also appears that Roy himself doesn’t really know when he will hang up the gloves for good. “My momma told me, boy you better quit fighting because you’re getting old. She’s right.. But I can’t seem to stop just yet”. In his closing remarks, Jones assured the media that this is one fight that will live up to the hype. “I know this is going to be a wonderful fight. You can’t possibly go wrong. I don’t do all the holding and stuff. I don’t come to the fight to hold. I come to the fight to fight. And Joe throws enough punches that he will have us all tired. Be ready and be prepared cause he gonna keep us entertained all night long”.

Finally, Calzaghe briefly took the podium share his thoughts on fighting Roy Jones. Calzaghe stated he was thrilled to be facing Roy and it is the challenge he needs to fully prove himself. Keeping it short and to the point, Calzaghe stated, “It’s going to be a great fight. With Roy, I know he’s going to fight. He has tremendous hand speed like myself, power, and a boxing brain. It’s going to be a fight of the year. It’s going to be a treat”.

While both men were very respectful, both were extremely confident. Jones in particular was very excited to be back on the big stage again. In speaking to the press, he was sure not to unveil his game plan but indicated that he knows exactly how to beat Joe. Jones may initially be viewed as the underdog, but I suspect as the fight draws near, many fans will be split on this one. At 39 years old, will Jones be able to turn back the hands of time, and give Calzaghe the first defeat of his career? Or will Calzaghe prove in his final fight that he is simply in a league of his own when it comes to the Light Heavyweight division? Tune in on November 9th to find out because this fight appears to have all the makings of a great one.

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