New York New York

As soon as Joe Calzaghe announced that he would be having his last fight in New York the need to be there became like a drug to me. Despite the problems of booking the original fight in September (before Joe broke his hand), myself and Wolvesy found ourselves in the bar at Bristol Airport at 7.30am the day before the fight. The Continental flight saw a few Miller lites served by a Stewardess who sounded like Grover off Sesame Street, we swapped Near and Far gags for an hour in her honour and soon we arrived in the Big Apple, very hungry, ready for a sesh and keen to have a top weekend.

Our hotel was just off Times Square and on crossing the neon lit wonderland I asked the Ginger Giant what his first impressions were of one of the busiest places in the world. Wolverhampton summed it up perfectly, "It's like Ponty,....... on market day". We got in our room and the TV was rammed full of American Football - NFL, College and no kidding there were a few schools games on with kids of around 14 playing. The NFL game was showing Green Bay versus The Cardinals. After debating why anyone would want to play in a shithole such as Phoenix we hit the city.

After taking in Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building we got ourselves a steak and chip dinner each and a few pints. As the bill arrived Wolvesy received a text from Merthyr 'Keeper Ashley Morris who was in a bar just around the corner. Within a few minutes we were in The Stout, which was wall to wall Welsh people. Ash had been there a few days (New York not the Stout) and was filling us in on his trip. The bar was bouncing to the sounds of indie bands and chatter of the day ahead. The Roses, Mondays and EMF are the first three bands on offer and the party was in full swing. Ash told us the disappointing news that Kerry Hope from Merthyr would not be fighting the following day as his opponent had weighed in 5 pounds over the limit. You had to feel sorry for Kerry.

After a few more pints tiredness had set in, we were flagging, but Wolvesy had invested in two tickets to a comedy club as we'd crossed Times Square earlier, so we ventured back up through the city to find a basement club reminiscent of downstairs in the Kooler. The place was well attended, so much so that we were forced to share a table with two lovely (but obese) Yanks. This couple could eat and we had to hold our pints as there was no room to dock them due to the buffalo wings, tacos and dips they were grazing on. Their fridge must be some feat of engineering - probably to feature on Discovery next year in the series Megastructures. Mrs Fatty took a real shine to me and I was waiting to be invited back to their hotel room for a chance to burn my arse on the light bulb as a part of the Fatty swingers threesome, but I soon blew my chances as I ripped into them as they were unfortunately from Phoenix. After me pointing out that American money smelt of piss and they only voted for Obama as some kind of KKK wind up, we watched the show a respectful distance apart. A gang of numpties from over the bridge decided to get a bit chopsy with us, but we heckled them so well even the Mexican comedian turned on them and by the end of his set, they had left the scene of their embarresment.

The comedy had been pretty good and we tumbled out into the night air at 10pm. The rest of the night was a bit of a blur, meeting some pleb called Owen from Pontypridd who lived in New York and didn't know Joe was fighting (how does that work) and on the way back to the hotel the fateful words, "one for the road" caused us to stumble into one last pub. - where one became a few. New York is not like London it really is open 24/7 and the pubs are still at bursting point at 3am. It is a party town and is a highly recommended place to go with the lads.

Fight day saw us take in an open top bus trip around the south of the city, the rain hammered down at noon so the trip was to be cut short. The journey back to the hotel was enhanced when a gorgeous red head in a micro skirt sat opposite us, lets say it warmed us up for an hour.

Late afternoon saw us meet up with Ash again at the Stout and it wasn't long before we found ourselves entering MSG. We'd bought the tickets from a dodgy ticket trader from Boston and although neither of us had uttered a word about it we both breathed a sigh of relief when our bar-coded tickets beeped a happy high pitch screech and the gates swung open.

MSG was all an arena should be. Other than paying £6 for bottles of Miller p!ss it was a complete success - the view is impressive and the atmosphere was charged. A visit to the bogs was enhanced when one of our countrymen fell out of a cubicle with his trousers around his ankles only to announce that he'd shat his pants. The Americans didn't know what had hit them. Our seats were great and in true Welsh tradition there were people sleeping in our row, the day had been too much for them. As the row infront of us filled up the Red head from the bus showed up in a micro top and even more micro bra - Happy Days!!!

It was warm in the arena and we'd both worn long sleeve Merthyr away shirts -shit you sweat like fuck in them - how do the team run about for 90 minutes without collapsing. The undercard was absolutely crap, even former world champ Zab Judah fought like a pussy. We didn't care and neither did most of the crowd. A massive booooo went out when the screens showed Roy Jones Jnr entering the building and moments later around 2/3rds of the 15,000 crowd went wild in appreciation of Super Joe. It felt like a home game.

The fight was brilliant with Jones putting Calzaghe on his arse in the first round. Joe was not going to let his undefeated 45 fight record be taken however and put in a vintage display, doing what Jones has done so many times to his opponents. The work rate was unbelievable and Joe tormented Jones for the remaining 11 rounds. Jones was cut up badly and Joe won the fight 118-109 on all three judges cards. Other than the knockdown the fight was a near perfect shutout. At the end of the fight we had a chance to go ringside and rub shoulders with Lennox Lewis, Enzo Macarinelli, Enzo Calzaghe and Ioan Gruffydd. Ioan even had the chance to take a pee next to The Chairman - wonder if he's made a note of it on his blog???. On leaving MSG I bought a programme - £20 - I kid you not!!!

Back to the Stout for celebratory drinks and even the yanks were buzzing and full of praise for the Undisputed King of the Light Heavyweights. The DJ sent the pub into uproar as he played 'One Step Beyond' with people dancing on, by and under tables. By 3am we decided to hit the hay. As we jumped into the lift back at the hotel there was a mother and daughter in there already. The pensioner mam was wrecked and was bouncing off the walls. I told her she was bolluxed and she told me, "Cos he winned see butt!" in a broad valleys accent. We left her daughter trying to drag her towards their room. They'd had a good night, so had we.

The following morning saw us watching more American Football on TV, a dude washing leaves off 7th avenue with a hose for an hour when a brush would have taken him 2 minutes and two huge black fellas holding hands on the table next to us through the whole of breakfast (they didn't look the type). Our bus ticket was valid for two days so we headed up through Central Park and onward towards Harlem. At the Dakota building Wolvesy decided he needed a 'pwp'. After trying a chemical portaloo at the edge of the park the big fella came out after 10 seconds green as Kermit the Frog due to the smell and insisted we go in the museum straightaway. 10 dollars later EACH, Wolvesy was sat on the throne... happy.

After looking at weapons from the civil war we left the museum. I was intent on finding our bus stop, but Wolves was stopped by a little hobo woman and her dog intently looking at what the old crow was up to. Apparently Yoko Ono is quiet happy to talk to anyone, but even she drew the line at someone from Heolgerrig. The bus tour was quiet enjoyable, but the draw of the pub came quickly and before long our whistle stop trip was over and by early Sunday evening we were back at the airport. Wolvesy had time to pass the time with his old music teacher Wynford Jones who as a boxing referee of note, was there doing summaries for BBC Wales. By Monday morning at 9am we were back in the Pearl of the Valley and bed was calling me.

New York is a superb place to go and if Joe does fight again I recommend everyone gets along to watch the bout. Boxing has so much passion and is about the only sport that creates an atmosphere, fear of losing and joy even close to that of football. Joe Calzaghe IS the finest boxer Europe has ever produced and I am so glad I got to see him in this career defining fight against a legend like Jones.
Dr Obnoxious


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