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Calzaghe decisions Kessler: becomes Undisputed Champion at 168lbs!

At 35 years of age, in this boxing fan's eyes, this was Calzaghe's break through fight. Anybody who wasn't particularly impressed prior to that performacne last night, should be now!

While celebrating my birthday at a local nightclub last night, one of the sports most anticipated showdowns was taking place. In the first big super fight at 168lbs since Roy Jones, Jr and James Toney fought in 1994, WBO and Ring Magazine Super Middleweight Champion Joe Calzaghe and WBC/WBA titlist Mikkell Kessler squared off in a battle of undefeated champions in Cardiff Wales. Thankfully, I was way too drunk last night to search for the result of the fight or even comprehend throughout the evening who the victor was. Therefore, the fight and the result were unknown to me when I popped the tape into the VCR this afternoon.

Let me admit to you that I picked Kessler to win by unanimous decision. Once again, I was dead wrong. In this instance, though, I was not the only one to pick Kessler. I thought Kessler would win the fight with his calculated counter punching style, but Calzaghe had other plans in store for us. Raising his professional record to 44-0, Calzaghe won a unanimous decision by scores of 117-111 and 116-112 (twice). Boxing Chronicles agreed with two of the three judges in terms of the score, giving Calzaghe the fight 116-112. Calzaghe did exactly what Jim Lampley described at ringside. He spoiled Kessler's boxing style. The fight started off with Kessler circling and trying to outbox Calzaghe, and Calzaghe coming forward throwing fast flurries behind his jab.

As the fight wore on, it was Calzaghe who became the boxer and Kessler who ended up trying to chase him down out of desperation when he realized that the boxing style wasn't working. This may have been Calzaghe's best performance to date; even more impressive than his win over Jeff Lacy. In my eyes, this was Calzaghe's career defining fight. He broke through with this performance. You come to box, he'll hunt you down and take that style away. You come to brawl and try to knock him out, he'll shoot crisp straight shots down the middle, as he did to Lacy, and punish you all night long.

Brilliant performance on Calzaghe's part. Kessler, who lost decisively, gave a fine account of himself as well. He did everything right, but it just wasn't enough to unseat a man who's been champion in that division for ten years and, between his professional and amateur careers, has been undefeated for seventeen years! Kessler landed some bombs throughout the fight and had some moments in the fight, but Calzaghe proved to have a cast-iron chin. The man can take a punch!

Next up for Calzaghe should be a move to 175lbs. He admitted that after Kessler, there's no other business to tend to at 168lbs. Expect to see Calzaghe at 175lbs, against either IBF titlist Clinton Woods or Ring Magazine Champion Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins is the bigger fight in the US. Woods, no question about it, is the bigger fight overseas. Given that Calzaghe is terribly interested in crossing the pond, and he doesn't exactly see Hopkins as major draw here in the states, the Woods fight is likely to be the more probable option for the Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion to exercise.