An aura of hopefulness has permeated the United States.
Since 11 PM Eastern time on Tuesday evening, a sense of optimism, a gut feeling that perhaps we can turn this ship around, has supplanted a stubborn cloud of disgust and dismay and negativism that has plagued around 90% of the citizens who are aware enough to comprehend the quagmire our country finds itself in.
Yes we can, a majority of the citizens--beyond some pockets of security freaks, rednecks and non-reality based Kool Aid addicts—-are saying to themselves.
Yes we can return this nation into a collection of states that is more united than divided.
Yes we can elect pols who can cite passages from the Constitution, and respect the Constitution, and not govern as though all their constituents are Wall Street CEOS.
Yes we can reset our collective moral compass so that a call to torture prisoners, and deny them due process, will be swiftly and categorically rejected, instead of embraced by a cowed citizenry.
On Wednesday afternoon at BB King’s blue club in the heart of New York City, Roy Jones was knee deep in the vibe, grooving on the sea change that was announced by the election of an African-American with an Arabic name, Barack Obama, to the Oval Office. If Jones is feeling a hint of self doubt going into his clash with unbeaten Welshman Joe Calzaghe on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, and one has to figure even the terminally cocky Floridian has to occasionally suffer acid flashbacks to his horrid 2004-2005 stretch, you get the feeling he’ll redirect his mental meandering, and focus on the unlikely campaign and victory of Senator Obama to bolster his psyche.
But can an Obama-rama immersion by Jones counter what figures to be a hard rain of Calzaghe leather that will be dropping on his head at MSG? We can debate the velocity at which Calzaghe delivers his tosses, and argue the pain-provoking potential for each Calzaghe throw, but there can be no debate or argument that the results the Welshman has enjoyed amount to a mandate that would make Barack jealous. Joe C may be known as Slappy Joe to some, but he is undeniably undefeated, and to hear him tell it, is as amped for this fight as any in his career.
Calzaghe has been talking retirement in recent months, and one can’t be sure if this is a ploy (to spur potential dance partners to woo him) or straight-talk-express material. Might he be mentally adrift, his mind too focused on days blissfully filled with an absence of early morning roadwork sessions? Or is Joe C that rare animal that can compartmentalize his longterm and short-term goals, and keep himself on message with the same discipline Team Obama did while being branded terrorist sympathizers, pedophiles and communists?
Time will tell, and if that Hopkins/Pavlik scrap tells us anything, you simply do not know when a graybeard who has seemingly slipped a notch, (like Jones) can dial back to his primetime, and fight like he did a decade before.
At the final press conference in NYC, Jones referenced the Obama win, and embraced the fairy tale victory as a fuel which could power him to what could be the signature win of his 19-year career.
“I’m so proud to be an American,” Jones said, “now more than I have been in my life. Last night was a true sign that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. It made me feel good to be an American again. This truly was about change.”
Jones will need to channel that Obama message on Saturday if he is to exit MSG with a win that would aid his legacy immensely. Simply put, beyond capturing a vibe, Jones needs to throw more punches, more often than he has in years.
Calzaghe, meanwhile, told the press that his hands are intact, and that ups the odds of a pro Joe showing northward a point or two. He insisted that the retirement issue is as dead as Joe the Plumber’s celebrity. “I’m just thinking about November 8th,” he said. “After this fight, we’ll wait and see.” He admitted that if he fights like he did against Hopkins on April 19, when he earned a SD12, his night could end like McCain’s on Tuesday: with a concession speech. “I can’t go in as sloppy as I was against Hopkins,” he said.
It is clear that Calzaghe, maybe even more than Jones, is seeing this bout as a legacy builder. He told the media that he was happy Hopkins spanked Pavlik, because that made his win over Hopkins that much more meaningful. That showed that “either I’m doing something right, or everybody I fight has an off night.”
The man makes a good point; TSS Universe, can we agree that with a win and a strong showing against a sharp Jones, this fight gives Joe C the title of P4P Number one? Weigh in on that issue in the Comment section, please.
SPEEDBAG I wish that HBO was cutting the PPV price on this one, offering a concession to the recession. Charging $50 again, a month after another $50 PPV (Hopkins/Pavlik), well, it sends a message that they are unwilling to consider that maybe leaving a few bucks on the table might be a nice gesture. This was PR opportunity, and the HBO crew dropped the ball, like Palin did chatting with Katie Couric.
----NYSAC chief Melvina Lathan, I have to say, is awful likeable from what I’ve seen of her. She is lowkey, but genial, relaxed, and doesn’t try to put on an air of bravado. She spoke at BB King’s, and apologized for being hoarse. She said she was yelling Tuesday night in jubilation. Then, she gave Joe C a kiss on the cheek after she wrapped up. Sweet.
---HBO will air the weigh in Friday at 4 PM on HBO.com. And they will also run undercard fights that don’t make the PPV. Please come right back to TSS after!
---Who wants to bet that 38-29 Emanuel Augustus steals the show, against Frankie Figueroa (19-2)?
---Enzo Calzaghe had ‘em howling. He was profane, and promised that son Joe would (mess up) RJJ. He threw around eff bombs like McCain threw out narratives during his campaign.
---Hey, who’s seen 18-2 Ernest Johnson in action? Ernie meets 36-6 Zab Judah, who’s peeled off seven pounds and is a 140 pounder again, the first time he’s been there since 2003.
---Dominick Guinn is fighting Gabe Brown on the undercard. Guinn was a no show at the press conference. No, I will not make a joke about him being a no show for many of his fights.
---HBO is running a new series called “Ringlife,” which will focus on up ‘n comers, like Dmitry Salita, starting Nov. 10. It’ll run on HBO.com, HBO-Youtube and iTunes.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?