Joe Calzaghe – Enjoying Being A Target

12.12.07 - By Matthew Hurley: Undisputed super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe, fresh off an interesting trip to Las Vegas where he encountered possible future foe Bernard Hopkins, waved off a potential bout with international Boxing Federation light heavyweight champion and fellow British Boxer Clinton Woods. Woods is one of many fighters who have called out Calzaghe after the Welshman defeated Mikkel Kessler in November in the biggest bout of his career. Woods, according to Calzaghe, is not even being considered..

Calzaghe’s father and trainer spoke to the Sheffield Star after his son won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

“Joe is not running scared,” he said. “What a total joke. It would be one of our easiest fights ever against a bloke who must have amnesia. He’s been put on the floor three times against nobodies. This isn’t a playground. You can’t just talk your way into a scrap. Woods should go back to school and study economics.”

That advice aside Woods seems convinced, albeit a bit delusional, in his hopes for the fight to come to fruition.

“I hear one minute that a deal is just about to tie up and the next it’s not happening,” he says. “I’m in training and will wait to hear what happens next. The Calzaghe’s are just hoping they can find an American to fight – but there’s just nobody out there in that weight division.”

Clinton should probably take a better look at just who is milling about in the 168 pound range. There’s Bernard Hopkins, Calzaghe’s likely opponent, Edison Miranda, middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik and his next opponent Jermain Taylor to name a few. Taylor is the latest fighter to target Calzaghe, whose popularity after his brilliant display against Kessler is at an all time high.

Taylor’s promoter Lou Dibella recently chimed in as his fighter prepares for a make-or-break rematch with Pavlik at a catch-weight of 166 pounds.

“If he (Jermain) wins,” Dibella says. “Joe would be the fight he wants (next). At this point in time I think anyone who knows boxing knows that the second best fighter in the world is Calzaghe and that’s only because Floyd Mayweather is out there. So if I know Jermain, and he beats Pavlik, that’s where he sends me looking.”

Still, Taylor has his hands full against Pavlik, who should be even stronger at 166 pounds.

Another name being mentioned is former junior middleweight champion Winky Wright. Wright recently commented that he would love to fight Calzaghe. Wright did not look particularly comfortable carrying extra weight when he fought Hopkins this past July but if he comes in at more natural poundage of around 162 he would present another interesting challenge for the super middleweight king.

The feeling here is that the Hopkins fight will be made. Calzaghe’s experience in Las Vegas during the Hatton – Mayweather event jazzed him up and he does not want to waste this wave of enthusiasm as he did back in 2006 when he defeated Jeff Lacy in what to that point was the pivotal bout of his career. The aging fighter is probably a little bit past his peak and has said that he only wants to fight two or three more times. With all these fighters clamoring for a shot at him Calzaghe is now in the driver’s seat and he will not only command center stage but he has the opportunity to cash in his chips for a big payout in Las Vegas.

Article posted on 12.12.2007

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