Lacy Returns Tonight

Lost among the hoopla surrounding Saturday night’s epic encounter between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito is Jeff Lacy’s return to the ring tonight.  Not that long ago Lacy was being touted as the next great American fighter.  The chiseled Adonis had the looks, the personality, and the in ring tenacity that is indicative of a sure fire star within the sport.  And for the better part of the early stages of his career it looked as if Lacy was a legitimate superstar.  Many solid contenders in the shallow super middleweight division fell under the concussive blows that Lacy delivered.  Lacy was on the road to stardom and made public his desire to face the reigning super middleweight ruler Joe Calzaghe in a battle for all the marbles at 168 pounds. As the old adage states, be careful what you wish for.  The Calzaghe – Lacy fight was as one-sided as you could have ever envisioned.  Lacy looked like an amateur as he was “slapped” around and befuddled by the non-stop punching machine that was Calzaghe.  It was about as masterful a performance as you could have asked for from the Welsh fighter.  Such was the domination that many questioned if Lacy would ever bounce back.  Lacy would return to the ring over nine months later against the unheralded Vitali Tsypko in a rematch from their 2004 fight that resulted in a no-contest in his native Tampa, Florida.  Lacy won in lackluster fashion but it was later discovered that he had torn his rotator cuff in the midst of the fight.  A year hiatus to recover from such a damaging injury and Lacy was back in the ring against Contender star Peter Manfredo Jr. on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather – Ricky Hatton PPV.  Again Lacy looked less then impressive in shutting out Manfredo and has now pointed to the fact that he packed on too much muscle for the encounter and the end result was premature fatigue.  Change was evident as Lacy seemed a bit darker and more world-weary.  Gone was the wide eyed innocence and in it’s place a look of weathered indifference.  Further change involved Lacy’s firing of long time trainer Pat Burns in favor of a reunion with Roger Bloodworth who had trained Lacy at the beginning of his career.  Now Lacy is back and focused on returning to the stardom that he enjoyed previously.  Lacy’s road to redemption renews tonight as he faces Epifanio Mendoza in the main event of EPSN’s Wednesday Night Fights.  In Mendoza, a face forward brawler type, Lacy has the perfect foil to make himself look good.  Mendoza is limited – as Chad Dawson demonstrated last September – but the Colombian comes to fight.  Expect fireworks albeit one sided fireworks as Lacy dominates this contest.  Lacy has made public his desire to challenge the big names in either the super middleweight or light heavyweight divisions and a showdown with cross town rival Antonio Tarver would be a natural (provided Tarver survives his showdown with Dawson).  Time will tell how high Lacy can rebound but the clock is ticking. 

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.