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Calzaghe dominates Lacy in unanimous decision

3/5/2006 - Boxing

MANCHESTER, England -- Joe Calzaghe earning a lopsided,
unanimous decision over Jeff Lacy on Sunday to win the American's
IBF super-middleweight title and hold on to his own WBO title for
the 18th time.

An underdog even with the British bookmakers to win the
unification fight, the Welshman was so convincing in the 12-round
fight that even Lacy nodded when Calzaghe lifted his arms aloft at
the final bell. He cut Lacy around both eyes and knocked him down
in the final round.

Two judges scored the bout 119-107 while another scored it
119-105.

It was Lacy's first loss in 22 fights while Calzaghe, the
longest reigning current world champion at 8{ years, improved to
41-0.

"I've spent eight years as a champion and I get the opportunity
to fight Jeff Lacy who is being touted by so many people in America
and is a dangerous fighter," Calzaghe said. "And being written
off my so many people. Morning, noon and night, Lacy's been on my
mind for months.

"I'm ecstatic, not just beating Lacy but demoralizing him, and
totally outclassing him and I think I showed the world."

Lacy, five years younger than Calzaghe at 28, had defended his
title four times and had hoped to dominate the fight with the power
of his own left hook. He also hoped that Calzaghe's own left, which
was broken in his last defense, might not last the fight. He was
wrong on both counts even though Calzaghe said the fist was badly
bruised around round eight or nine.

"I still kept throwing punches," the Welshman said. "I had to
grit my teeth and bear it. I missed about five days training at,
one stage, it was 50-50 to take the fight. But this was an
opportunity that probably wouldn't come my way again and I still
had confidence in my ability."

Lacy didn't make it to the post fight news conference. According
to Lacy's manager, Dan Birmingham, the American needed stitches to
both cuts above his eyes.

"Rather than dwelling on what Jeff didn't do in the ring, I'd
like to dwell on what Joe did," Birmingham said. "He was a master
of distance and timing tonight. I've never seen a better
performance, even by an American boxer, forget about Britain."

Calzaghe came out throwing left uppercuts and hooks, and also
threw his arms up to claim he won the opening round.

Although Lacy landed a solid right hand in round two, Calzaghe
came back with a left-right combination to the chin and, by the
fourth round there was blood coming from the American's nose and
trickling down his face from cuts above both eyes.

With the home fans in the crowd of about 12,000 chanting "Easy!
Easy!", Calzaghe stayed on top and his right jab kept snapping
into Lacy's face. The Welshman's punching speed seemed to take the
strength away from the American, who rarely answered back with any
hard shots.

Lacy's cornermen had to work hard on his eyes between rounds,
and Calzaghe had him trapped in a corner and kept pummeling his
face with fast combinations with the American fighting back to try
and stay in the fight.

His right eye closing, Lacy got through with some right hands,
but Calzaghe's accuracy was still keeping him well ahead on the
judge's cards.

Lacy, nicknamed "Left Hook", finally landed it in the ninth
but it did little to stem the flow of shots coming his way.

A left and right put Lacy down for a count of four in the final
round and the American continued with blood streaming down his
face, but Calzaghe was unable to finish the fight with a knockout.

On the undercard, Enzo Maccarinelli successfully defended his
WBU cruiserweight title for the seventh time with a unanimous
decision over Mark Hobson and Wayne Alexander, in his first defense
of the WBU light middleweight crown, gained a split decision over
Thomas McDonagh.