Boxing

Hopkins-Calzaghe: "Battle of the Planet"

LOS ANGELES, February 7, 2008 – Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe, fighters with a combined 43 wins in world championship bouts met today in London to confirm that on Saturday, April 19, in the Planet Hollywood (PH) Ring in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a rare contest between linear champions, light heavyweight champion Hopkins will defend his title against Calzaghe, the undisputed super middleweight champion, in a 12-round bout for Hopkins' Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Championship to determine the true premier champion of this era. Tickets for this epic battle go on sale today..

Hopkins vs. Calzaghe "Battle of the Planet" is presented by Golden Boy Promotions, Frank Warren's Sports Network and Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and will take place in the PH Ring at the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday, April 19. Tickets, priced at $1500, $1200, $450, $350 and $250, are on sale and may be purchased by calling 866-USFIGHT or online at planethollywood.com. The match-up will air live on HBO's World Championship Boxing beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET / 6:45 p.m. PT.

"I respect what Joe Calzaghe has accomplished in this game over the years, but he will be stepping into a different realm on April 19th," said Hopkins today in London. "All Joe's other American opponents had to go to Wales or England—let's see how Joe performs in the United States—the USA is the stamp of approval. There's old Poppy Hopkins standing at the gate of America waiting for Joe to bring the key to try and open the door."

"This will be Bernard's last fight—I am going to be a legend after this fight. I'm going over there to win and you will see an awesome performance," said Calzaghe at today's press conference in London. "I've trained like a challenger every single fight, that's why I have been a champion for ten years. I'll be in the best shape, enough to do 15, 20 rounds. You haven't seen Hopkins flat out on his back yet—you will in the PH Ring on April 19."

"This is a match we've all been waiting years to see, and finally, the time is right for Hopkins and Calzaghe to meet," said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "Hopkins holds the record for most middleweight title defenses and Calzaghe holds the record for most defenses at super middleweight and no one today comes close to either of them when it comes to longevity at the elite level. This is the only logical Super Fight for both of them and fans are going to love this match-up."

"Joe Calzaghe has conquered every obstacle put in front of him over the last 14 years and with no more challenges left for him at super middleweight this was the only fight he wanted," said Frank Warren of Sports Network. "I'm pleased that we were able to work together with Golden Boy Promotions to bring this mega-fight to boxing fans and to see once and for all who the better fighter is - Hopkins or Calzaghe."

"Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino is the new contender on the Las Vegas Strip and is emerging as a very powerful force in the entertainment capital city of the world," said Robert Earl, Co-Chairman of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. "I am delighted that Planet Hollywood is presenting its first major sporting event with the sport that Vegas is most famous for - boxing - and this mega-fight between Hopkins and Calzaghe. Having partners like Golden Boy Promotions, Sports Network and HBO make this event, at the PH Ring, all the more exciting."

"HBO Sports is thrilled to present the fight between Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe live on the network," said Ross Greenburg, President of HBO Sports. "This is the type of big event programming that has been a staple of our World Championship boxing franchise for 35 years."

One of the greatest middleweights of all-time, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins (48-4-1, 32 KOs) has epitomized excellence for almost two decades in the fight game. Owner of the middleweight title for over ten years and for a record 20 successful defenses, Philadelphia's Hopkins moved up to the light heavyweight division in 2006, and immediately won The Ring Magazine World Championship with a dominating 12 round decision win over Antonio Tarver. In his last fight, on July 21, 2007, Hopkins continued his amazing run at the age of 42, outpointing Winky Wright. Now it's on to Calzaghe.

Unquestionably one of the greatest super middleweights in boxing history and currently The Ring Magazine Super Middleweight World Champion, Newbridge, Wales' Joe Calzaghe (44-0, 32 KOs) has never tasted defeat in his pro career and has held the world super middleweight title since he defeated Chris Eubank in 1997 for the World Boxing Organization Championship. Twenty-one consecutive title defenses followed that victory -- fourth-best on boxing's all-time list -- and after big wins over undefeated champions Jeff Lacy in 2006 and Mikkel Kessler in 2007 in which he added the International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) championship belts to his collection, he now seek a bigger challenge at 175 pounds where Hopkins awaits.

Hopkins-Calzaghe is only the second time two reigning Ring Magazine champions have fought since the new championship policy was established in April 2002 (the first contest happened on December 8, 2007 when Floyd Mayweather met Ricky Hatton for Mayweather's Ring Magazine Welterweight World Championship).

Article posted on 08.02.2008



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