Lacy, Calzaghe agree to meet Nov.5

After beating Robin Reid Saturday in Tampa, IBF super-middleweight champ Jeff Lacy has his sights set on WBO champ Joe Calzaghe in Wales.

By Times Staff
Published August 9, 2005

The only thing standing between IBF super-middleweight champion Jeff Lacy and WBO champ Joe Calzaghe is little known fighter Evans Ashira .

Promoters Gary Shaw and Frank Warren agreed Monday morning that St. Petersburg's Lacy and Calzaghe will fight Nov. 5 in Wales, provided Calzaghe beats Ashira on Sept. 10.

"Frank told me if Joe wins that fight, our fight Nov. 5 is on," Shaw said.

Shaw said he brought up the possibility of holding the fight in the Tampa Bay area, but "once Warren got off the floor, he mentioned a 22,000-seat arena" he preferred in Wales.

The official announcement is scheduled for Monday, Shaw said.

Calzaghe (39-0, 31 knockouts) has been talking up the Lacy matchup with the British media. The Newbridge, Wales, resident said he watched the seven-round destruction of former opponent Robin Reid Saturday night and was impressed.

"I'm delighted that Lacy won and is still undefeated to set up our showdown in November in what will be a real super-fight," the 32-year-old Calzaghe told sportinglife.com.

"That was probably Lacy's best performance yet and impressed me, but it's hard to say how good Lacy is because Reid was so poor.

"Reid is past it and I'm glad he didn't win because it would be a case of going over old ground if we had to meet again and I wouldn't have been as up for it as I would have for a fight against Lacy."

The 5-foot-111/2 left-hander became boxing's longest reigning champion after Bernard Hopkins lost to Jermain Taylor last month. He won his WBO belt in 1997 by beating Chris Eubank , and has defended his title 15 times.

But he has been criticized for fighting weak competition to protect his status, and has ventured out of Britain for a fight three times in his career. He has never fought in the United States.

According to reports, he is eager for what will be his career-defining fight against Lacy, 20-0 with 16 knockouts.

"I have the style to destroy Lacy," Calzaghe told the London Sun . "With my hand speed, he would not know where the punches were coming from. Lacy is a good fighter, but he is predictable and he gets hurt with the shots he takes. I'm awkward and I throw punches at all different angles. I have fought people like Lacy before but he always does the same thing. Me? I can change my style and give him nightmares."

Despite the skeptics, Shaw is confident Calzaghe won't pull out of the fight, like he did twice against Glen Johnson last summer because of a back injury. The reason?

"Because this is Calzaghe's biggest fight ever at 168," he said. "It's his biggest fight. What's he going to do? Fight ( Sven ) Ottke or ( Mikkel ) Kessler or Danny Green ? Jeff Lacy is bringing the bags of money with him."

MEMORY LOSS: Reid is still claiming Lacy never hurt him - apparently he doesn't remember the right uppercut in the seventh round that turned his eyeballs into a slot machine display - and not surprisingly picks Calzaghe to beat Lacy.

"I've fought both and I can tell you, Calzaghe's hand speed is far superior to Lacy's," Reid told the Sun. "Joe will also be much too strong for Lacy. I was surprised how I could easily push Lacy around the ring. For all his reputation, Lacy is nowhere near as strong as Joe and will get beat inside the distance."

Reid, who had not been knocked down in a 43-fight career before falling four times Saturday, picked himself over Lacy, by the way.

BACK-TO-BACK: So far this year, underdog Winky Wright thoroughly beat Felix Trinidad , and Lacy defended his IBF title twice, with seventh-round technical knockouts - and looked vastly improved from fight to fight.

It's safe to say Dan Birmingham has to be the leader in the clubhouse for a second straight Trainer of the Year Award from the Boxing Writers Association of America, with two big fights involving Wright and Lacy to come.