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Brits at the Garden

Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York Date: Saturday 8 November
Coverage: Live on Setanta Sports 1 from 2300 GMT. Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live (start time to be confirmed), and BBC Radio Wales from 0100 GMT (Sunday AM), live text commentary on BBC Sport website.

By Ben Dirs

Wales' Joe Calzaghe fights Roy Jones Jr at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, when he will be the latest in a long line of Brits to headline at the New York boxing mecca.

BBC Sport looks back at six British fighters to have had their name in lights at 'The World's Most Famous Arena'.

Lennox Lewis v Evander Holyfield, 13 March 1999

Lennox Lewis
Fight fans across the world anticipated a classic match-up, with the undisputed heavyweight title up for grabs for the first time since 1992.

What they got was a farce, Holyfield walking away from the Garden with a draw and both his belts despite being dominated by the Englishman throughout.

Boxing authorities ordered a rematch and Lewis defeated Holyfield in Las Vegas eight months later - despite many thinking Holyfield had won the fight.

Naseem Hamed v Kevin Kelley, 19 December 1997

Kevin Kelley (left) and Naseem Hamed
Hamed (right) was floored three times by Kelley
No British fighter has been more hyped in the States than Hamed, and the cocky little Sheffield fighter did not disappoint in his first bout on American soil.

Hamed, the WBO featherweight champion, flew into New York by Concorde and danced into the Garden ring via a catwalk, infuriating hometown favourite and former WBC champion Kelley.

In what was voted The Ring magazine's fight of the year both men hit the deck three times - but Naseem was the last man standing after a four-round war.

Ken Buchanan v Roberto Duran, 26 June 1972

Ken Buchanan
Edinburgh's Buchanan went into the fight as the WBA champion, having upset the great Ismael Laguna nearly two years earlier. Laguna's fellow Panamanian Duran had just turned 21 but was undefeated in 28 fights.

Duran dropped Buchanan early and controlled the early rounds and there were few signs the bout would turn into one of the most controversial in boxing history.

At the end of round 13, Buchanan claimed he was kneed in the groin, but referee Johnny LoBianco did not see any infraction and the fight was stopped before the 14th round could begin.

Tommy Farr v Jim Braddock & Max Baer, 21 January 1938 & 11 March 1938

Tommy Farr (left) and Jim Braddock
Farr (left) battled boxing's 'Cinderella Man' over 10 rounds
The 'Tonypandy Terror' took Joe Louis the distance in 1937 and less than five months later he was back in the ring against former world champion Jim Braddock, this time at the Garden.

The 24-year-old Farr, a veteran of hundreds of booth fights who made his pro debut at the age of 12, dropped a split decision over 10 rounds, but was back at the Garden against another former champion less than two months later.

Farr lost his rematch with the flashy Max Baer over 15 rounds - but there aren't many who can say they went 40 rounds with three world champions in the space of 186 days.

Jack 'Kid' Berg fought 12 times at MSG between 1929 and 1934

Jack 'Kid' Berg
The 'Whitechapel Whirlwind' had his first fight at the Garden - a points win over Bruce Flowers - in 1929 and would become virtually the 'house' fighter over the course of the next five years.

In January 1930 he outclassed New York legend Tony Canzoneri before returning to London to win the world light-welterweight crown.

Berg returned to New York, defending his title three times at the Garden, beating legendary Cuban Kid Chocolate there in 1932 and fighting for the last time in the venue's vast hall in 1934.

Freddie Welsh fought six times at MSG between 1914 and 1917

Freddie Welsh (left) and Jack Dempsey
Welsh (left) was feted by American greats such as Jack Dempsey
Welsh claimed the world lightweight title in London in 1914 but spent much of his career, before and after that victory over Willie Ritchie, in the United States.

Welsh defended his title for a second time against Ad Wolgast at the Garden in November 1914 and lost a 10-round decision against American great Benny Leonard at the same venue in 1916.

It would be the 'Welsh Wizard's' last bout at the Garden. He lost his title to Leonard at a neighbouring venue the following year and would fight only six more times.

see also
Jones braced for prime Calzaghe
03 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Doubts over Calzaghe retirement
29 Oct 08 |  Boxing
Calzaghe given Jones Jr warning
29 Oct 08 |  Boxing
Calzaghe eyes final Garden test
14 Aug 08 |  Boxing

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