MANCHESTER, England (March 5, 2006) - Photos: TOM CASINO/SHOWTIME: In the defining fight of an extraordinary career, the longest reigning world champion in boxing, undefeated WBO champion Joe Calzaghe (41-0), produced a masterful, magnificent performance while winning a lopsided, dominant 12-round decision over previously unbeaten IBF kingpin Jeff Lacy (21-1) in a highly anticipated super middleweight world title unification bout Saturday on SHOWTIME from Manchester, England.
The jury is in. On a night dubbed "Judgment Day" by co-promoters Gary Shaw and Frank Warren, Joe Calzaghe unified the super middleweight division with a decisive 12-round unanimous decision over Jeff "Left Hook" Lacy Saturday on SHOWTIME. In his 18th title defense across eight years, Calzaghe retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) belt and added Lacy's International Boxing Federation (IBF) title to his resume. Calzaghe remains the longest reigning champion in the sport.
The three judges scored the fight a near shut-out, 119-105 and 119-107 twice.
The showdown from the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England, went off just after 2 a.m. local time as SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING delivered this special 20th anniversary gift to fight fans LIVE in the United States at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Calzaghe, "The Pride of Wales" (41-0, 31 KOs), dominated from the opening bell and scored continuously with right-left combinations throughout. In the fourth round, the undefeated champion opened a cut over Lacy's left eye and caused severe swelling over the right. From the fourth round on, Lacy (21-1, 17 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Fla., bled from the mouth, nose and eye, yet showed the heart of a champion and the resilience of a bull. As the fight wore on, Lacy remained willing to trade blows with his counterpart.
"It was total focus, dedication and determination," said the Welsh southpaw. "In fighting a great fighter like Jeff Lacy, it brought out the best in me. I was able to deliver.
"I knew Lacy's only chance was to stand in there and go toe-to-toe. So, I knew I had to move fast, use the jab and combinations, and get in and out quickly."
By the 10th round, a tired and desperate Lacy caught Calzaghe with a low blow that drew a warning from referee Raul Caiz Sr. Early in the 11th, Lacy was pushed down to the canvas and slipped late, showing his weariness.
With more than 16,000 British fans fueling their champion, Calzaghe delivered punishing combinations in the final round as Lacy made his last desperate attempt to win by one-punch knockout.
"Lacy is a true warrior and showed a lot of heart," Calzaghe continued. "He was a gentleman throughout the entire promotion and I give him credit. I really thought I had him a few times, but he hung in there like a champion."
"Sometimes you have to lose to gain," said Lacy in his post-fight interview with SHOWTIME's Jim Gray. "This is a learning experience for me. I will have to work on my boxing style now. I did not think Calzaghe could handle my pressure, but he did. I take my hat off to him."
Lacy's trainer Dan Birmingham added: "Calzaghe put on a clinic. He showed that he is a master of distance and timing. I have been studying his tapes for a year. I knew he had speed and that this was going to be a tough fight for us."