Book review: No Ordinary Joe

The title of Joe Calzaghe’s first biography is somewhat misleading. “No Ordinary Joe” makes clear the long reigning super-middleweight’s extraordinary boxing talent, but outside the ring he is revealed as a typical product of his Italian-Welsh heritage.

It took the world some time to realise the true potential of the mullet-sporting, Whitesnake-loving teenager, but the unswerving belief of Calzaghe in his own talent shines through. The bitterness of the rift with the Welsh ABA that denied him a place at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics still rankles, and in an honest, often scathing, style Calzaghe speaks of his problems with his first promoter Mickey Duff and the agony of the hand injuries that dogged his entire career.

While most of Calzaghe’s bouts were too one-sided to breed classic fight writing, there are revealing insights into the Mark Delaney, Chris Eubank, Robin Reid, Omar Sheika, Charles Brewer, Byron Mitchell and Jeff Lacy encounters.

Calzaghe tends to skirt round insights into his personal life, ex-wife Mandy barely mentioned. But perhaps the major flaw in this entertaining tome is the fact that it was written before what many would consider the landmark bout of Calzaghe’s stellar career, his November 2007 victory over Mikkel Kessler.

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