Calzaghe Wins 20th Defense / Kessler turns down Multi-Million $ Purse to Unify

joe calzagheCARDIFF, WALES (April 7, 2007) -- He came, he saw, he conquered...AGAIN! Boxing's current longest-reigning world champion JOE CALZAGHE successfully defended the super middleweight title he has held since 1997 for a landmark 20th consecutive time, the most of any British champion and tied for fourth on boxing's all-time list with Larry Holmes and Bernard Hopkins. Calzaghe (43-0, 32 KOs), from Newbridge Wales, made top-five contender Peter Manfredo, Jr. (26-4, 12 KOs), from Providence, RI, the latest victim of his undefeated professional career, when the referee stopped the fight at 1:30 of he third round when the brave Manfredo was unable to respond with even one punch against Calzaghe's barrage of leather-lined bombs.

Promoted by Sports Network, in association with The Tournament of Contenders, Calzaghe-Manfredo was broadcast live on HBO from Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, in front of over 35,000 spectators -- the largest crowd to ever attend an indoor event in Europe.

After the fight, Calzaghe expressed his desire to unify his WBO/The Ring magazine titles with WBC/WBA champion Mikkel Kessler (39-0, 29 KOs), from Copenhagen, Denmark, as his next fight this summer or travel to the U.S. to take on Jermain Taylor.

"I would love for him to come to the United States to fight Jermain Taylor," said Emanuel Steward, Taylor's trainer, during the HBO broadcast.

"I am the fastest super middleweight in the world," declared Calzaghe. "I am ready to come over to America. It has been a goal of mine to fight in the United States against a big name."

"Per Joe's desire to unify the belts, I had already offered Mikkel Kessler a multi-million dollar purse, including his keeping the German and Danish TV rights, for a summer title unification fight," stated Calzaghe's promoter Frank Warren. "However, Kessler's promoter countered with a demand for parity and a 50/50 split on everything. Now look around Millennium Stadium today. Joe has sold a European record amount of tickets and generated publicity worldwide by successfully defending his title a landmark 20 times during a reign that has lasted nearly 10 years. Kessler is barely two years into his title reign and has very little name recognition outside his own country. We think he is an outstanding fighter and it would be brilliant if he and Joe would face each other next, but when a counter offer like that is made, it tells me his promoter doesn't want the fight. I can't believe that counter offer came from Mikkel. Joe is going to attempt to tie Sven Ottke's record with his 21st title defense this summer. I hope cooler heads prevail and it's against Mikkel Kessler."

Article posted on 08.04.2007

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