Calzaghe Continues To Talk A Good Game

17.10.07 - By Matthew Hurley: As the super middleweight unification match between Joe Calzaghe and Mikel Kessler draws ever nearer the WBO champion has been more assessable to the media than usual. Part of that has to do with the fact that the fight could break the indoor attendance record in Cardiff, Wales of 63,000 spectators at Millennium Stadium. With a little over two weeks until the opening bell nearly 35,000 seats have already been sold. Another part has to do with the American audience that will be watching on HBO. Calzaghe, who has not fought on American soil, knows that his future may lie in the United States..

“This is my first fight live in prime time in the States,” he said recently, “so it is important for me to go in there and fight my best fight and show the world what I can do.”

Calzaghe’s refusal to leave the safe confines of his native ground has been a thorn in the side of many American fans that tended to believe that the champion was ducking American challengers and opting out of potential mega fights in Las Vegas to pad his record against marginal opponents in front of adoring crowds who found him faultless. Two fights often mentioned over the years were to be against Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins. Neither fight came off because neither fighter wanted to risk a bad decision in Calzaghe’s backyard, but one must also remember that both Jones and Hopkins never met a bargaining table they didn’t think they owned. The two hard nosed businessmen priced themselves out of a match up against each other so Calzaghe can hardly accept full responsibility for those two fights never happening. Still, a Hopkins fight remains a possibility.

“Hopkins does spring to mind. That’s a fight which should have happened years ago and he’s been mouthing off a lot lately. I could definitely move up in weight and fight him and prove I’m the best at light heavyweight as well.”

The long reigning champion also had some thoughts on newly crowned middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik. “A lot of credit should go to Pavlik for the heart and courage he showed against Taylor. Maybe he’ll move up and have a crack at me once I’ve dealt with Kessler.”

So it remains that Kessler has peaked an enthusiasm in the aging champion. He realizes the problems the big Dane presents for him but concern and confidence are two different things and Calzaghe is brimming with the latter.

“Kessler’s record speaks for itself. All the statistics add up to it being potentially the toughest fight of my career. But they all said that about Jeff Lacy and I destroyed him. Potentially being my toughest fight and actually being my toughest fight are two different things. Everything has worked out perfectly in training camp. My hands are fine (alluding to his oft injured fists) and as long as they’re fine I can knock anyone out.”

The champion, perhaps sensing that he is beginning to sound a bit over confident, backtracked a few steps and allowed Kessler a few words of praise. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m impressed with him. He’s the second best super middleweight on the planet. He’s got a good jab and he’s good with his right hand. I just don’t think he’s very adaptable. He can’t fight going backwards or on the inside.”

All that remains to be seen on November 3rd.

Article posted on 17.10.2007

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