The hard truth is, you’re not supposed to fly seven hours across an ocean just to get your butt kicked at 2 in the morning in a strange town in a foreign country.
You’re not supposed to get slapped around, humbled and toyed with by a Welshman with a funny last name, a questionable resume and a jackhammer of a right hand.
Not when you’re a world champion. Not when you’ve been the terror of the super-middleweight division since you conquered it, the next great boxing superstar ready to take his place at the front of the stage.
Lose your world title belt to some guy from Wales most of the people over here have never heard of? C’mon, that’s just plain un-American, unacceptable, unlikely. And, at least in the eyes of the road team, it’s pretty unbelievable.
Joe Calzaghe? I’ll bet most American boxing fans know how to pronounce his last name now. Or at least spell it.
Last Friday, they still had no idea who he was.
We’ve got Superman, Batman and Spiderman. Great Britain has Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton.
I’d hate to bet on which side wins.
And let’s be honest here. It was a pure, simple, vicious mugging Saturday night (or early Sunday morning if you caught a plane to Manchester, England). Calzaghe, the WBO champ, could have been in a different room, and he somehow would have found the right range to clobber Jeff Lacy. You get the feeling he could have won with an arm tied behind his back. How bad was it? The Donner party had easier nights than Lacy did.
It looked like the former IBF super-middleweight champ crashed the wrong party and when he wouldn’t leave, ten guys beat the snot out of him.
Of course, it was really only one guy, and he didn’t need any help.
“This is a bitter pill for us to swallow,” said Lacy’s promoter, Gary Shaw after his fighter somehow survived the 12-round pounding. “I would have bet my house that this fight would not have looked like that fight in the ring. Obviously, I would have lost my house. We have been beaten by a better man in Joe Calzaghe.”
What are the fighters over there eating, thunder and lightning? Somebody check their water for magic potions. See if they’re hiding a cape and mask in their locker.
If the Lacy-Calzaghe fight would have been a baseball game, Calzaghe would have pitched a perfect game. In basketball, he scored 100.
As for Lacy, he needs to remember that one win can define a career, but one loss doesn’t necessarily end it. After all, he’s had half the fights Calzaghe’s had, and even Muhammad Ali had an occasional bad night at work.
And maybe Lacy learned he has to listen to his corner between rounds. That alone would make him a better fighter.
According to Lacy’s trainer, Dan Birmingham, his fighter didn’t listen to instructions between rounds, and when they won’t do what you tell them to do, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. You can’t send in a sub or call timeout.
You can’t take his place or throw punches for him. You can only sit back and watch and hope and plead and pray he somehow lands one of those signature left hooks that suddenly gets him back in the game.
But you get the feeling Calzaghe, at least on Saturday night, was playing in a different league.