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In Boxing News: Calzaghe Statue, Tyson Talks, Irish Juan Duddy

BY Robert Ecksel ON March 13, 2006
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In Boxing News: Welsh Plans for Calzaghe Statue

Boxing news from Wales reports that the Welsh are considering erecting a statue of Joe Calzaghe. There are already four statues of Welsh boxers in that fair land, Cardiff's "Peerless" Jim Driscoll, Merthyr Tydfil's Eddie Thomas, Howard Winstone and Johnny Owen, better known as the Matchstick Man.

Calzaghe, in light of his fistic achievements, deserves to be cast in bronze to stand in a park for eternity. His promoter Frank Warren thinks it’s a great idea and said, "I would certainly stump up the cash for it. I think he should get the recognition he deserves. What else is Newbridge famous for?� That’s a good question. Negotiations for a July 8 fight in Cardiff, Wales between Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jr. continue apace. Warren told BBC Radio Five Live, "I'd make the fight in a heartbeat. I've been speaking to Jones' lawyer for about a month now. It depends on what sort of money the US TV networks put up for the fight. We tried to make this fight many years ago but the stumbling block was always what Roy wanted to be paid.� Roy is apparently as enthused as Team Calzaghe about the match. "I knew how good Joe was,� Jones told BBC Sport Wales on Saturday, “but I hadn't seen him for a while. I have to say he looked better than ever. My future holds Calzaghe, that's what the public wants so that's what they'll get. The [July 8th date] suits me. I'll fight in Britain at super middleweight or light heavyweight. Calzaghe excites me. Beating Calzaghe will be the start to getting me back on top. It would have been crazy for me to have fought him in Britain before because I was the man at the top of the pile, but now I'll take the gamble of an overseas trip� … Jack Magowan of the Belfast Telegraph uses Calzaghe’s triumph last week over Jeff Lacy as a springboard to reflect on the night at Earl’s Court in 1951 when another great from the other side of the pond, Randy Turpin, aka the Leamington Licker, “arguably Britain's best fighter since the Hitler War,� hit the heights and defeated once-beaten (by Jake LaMotta) Sugar Ray Robinson. Robinson was the superstar’s superstar and his entourage was a piece of work: thirty pieces of luggage, six punching bags, ten sets of boxing gloves, and a traveling wardrobe of twelve suits, six tracksuits, and a hundred neckties; when Sugar stepped off the train in Paris, he also had his manager, George Gainford, two trainers, a private secretary, a personal barber, and a handpicked court jester, a dwarf with an allegedly fine sense of humor, in tow. Because a man’s gotta have his wheels, Ray also shipped his fuchsia Cadillac to the Champs Elysees all the way from Harlem. Turpin upsets the odds and Robinson to win their first fight. Only 64 days later in front of 60,000 pro-Robinson fans in New York City, Turpin lost the rematch. When asked what he remembered about the Robinson bout in the Big Apple, Turpin replied, "Not much, except that I never knew which of Sugar's punches to duck, he threw so many. The guy was always dangerous when hurt, and with blood seeping from a bad cut early in round ten, he suddenly cut loose. I never saw the punch that floored me, and the ref stopped it with only seconds of the round to go." It was all downhill for Randy after that. Although he continued fighting, winning some and losing others, the debts began to mount, and the personal life began to fall apart, and Turpin was forced to wrestle to earn a living. Facing a £17,000 tax bill and no prospects for the future, the 38-year-old shot and killed himself. “Show me a hero,� wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald, “and I will show you a tragedy� … Speaking of tragedy, Mike Tyson, the after-dinner speaker, not the boxer, has lined up a series of engagements overseas that will take him to Nottingham, Leeds, Dublin and Tyneside. The former baddest man on the planet has the chops to keep fans on the edge of their seats – without throwing a punch, without biting an ear, without taking a 10-count sitting on his bum. Tales about his colorful and controversial career in and out of the ring have been packing them in whenever and wherever Mike appears, but not without mixed reactions. Steve Wraith, of Players Inc. Magazine and Promotions, who helped arrange the tour, said, "It's likely there will be a few people up in arms that Mike Tyson is coming because he is a convicted rapist. You can't condone a criminal, but at the end of the day we don't think it will take anything away from the boxing side of things� … Brian Doogan in the London Sunday Times spotlights Irishman John Duddy, the undefeated middleweight who fights his St. Paddy’s Day fight at the sold-out Theater at Madison Square Garden. Duddy’s personable, and Duddy’s tough, and among the many people on this side of the Mississippi and the other side of the Atlantic who have their eye on the young slugger is former featherweight champion Juan Laporte, who likes what he sees. “He fought in the main arena at Madison Square Garden last year,� said Laporte. “It took place on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade and Miguel Cotto, who’s a hero back in San Juan, boxed in the main event. The place was packed with Puerto Ricans and there were Irish fans as well. But when Duddy fought, all the Puerto Rican fans got behind him. The way he fights is exciting. They were calling him ‘Juan’ Duddy by the end of the night and I think he got an invitation or two to come down the next day to the parade. They loved him� … The AP reports that former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko is seeking a new lease on life as mayor of Kiev, capital of Ukraine. The ex-champ “climbed nimbly onto the back of a pickup truck as the crowd roared his name. Vitali Klitschko smiled shyly and took a deep breath.� In a mayoral contest where the issues are housing and garbage collection, Klitschko – who is in a dead heat with the 67-year-old incumbent, an old school apparatchik named Oleksandr Omelchenko – cuts an “Arnold Schwarzenegger-like figure on the campaign trail.� “I'm not here because I need fame or a job,� Klitschko told a gathering of 200 Ukrainian voters. “I want to clear the road for new ideas.� Women in headscarves and boys without jobs applauded the tall candidate mouthing pieties. “I don't know if I'll vote for him,� said Oleh Mashmanov, a longtime fight fan. “I just wanted him to sign something for my son.�

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