Calzaghe Conference call Transcript

Welcome to your Sports Network Joe Calzaghe conference call hosted by Frank Warren.

FW Thank you. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, thanks a lot for joining us. We have got Joe Calzaghe on the line, WBO and IBF Super Middleweight Champion, and we would like to talk today about his forthcoming 19th Defence, against Sakio Bika, who is based in Australia, which will take place on 14th October at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England.

Joe, as you all know, put a tremendous performance in his last fight against America's Jeff Lacy. I thought it was one of the most one-sided fights I have ever seen at a World Title level especially going into the fight where Jeff Lacy was considered the favourite to win it. Joe came out of it, I think, with a lot of credit at long last.

Unfortunately he had a hand injury and wasn't able to capitalise on that victory in July but this time round he's OK, everything is going fine for him, he will be in the ring on 14th in a fight that will be broadcast in England on the ITV network and by HBO, his network debut, on the same night in the States [11 PM ET/PT.]

Joe is on the line, if you have any questions he will certainly answer them for you. One thing, before we do that, I would just like to say that if Joe comes through OK on the 14th he will be looking to equal Bernard Hopkins' 20 title defences early next year. And I was reading the other day that Bernard was thinking about maybe coming back, if that's the case and Joe is successful on 14th, what a fantastic fight that would be, Bernard trying to protect his record while Joe tries to match it. Anyway, over to Joe, and I will leave you guys to ask your questions.

Question & answer session

Q My question is, will you be paying attention to the winner of the Markus Beyer Mikkel Kessler match, and if Kessler were to win would you consider fighting him in Denmark?

JC Yes, obviously I will sit down with Frank. It would be nice to win another title, Kessler is the second best Super Middleweight in the world and I fancy him to beat Beyer quite convincingly so obvious we will have to wait and see what happens. Personally obviously I don't want to go to Denmark and fight him, I want to fight him in Britain, the same as he doesn't want to come to England to fight. But, we will have to wait and see. As far as I am concerned Kessler is a good fighter but I can see myself beating him, amongst any other Super Middleweight.

Q Is it important for you, even if you don't fight Bernard Hopkins ever, is it important for you to try to beat his record. Is that added inspiration for you or is that something that will just come along as an excuse to keep fighting?

JC It is something that comes along. I have the record of the longest reign, I think next Wednesday (October 11) it will be nine years I have been World Champion since I beat Eubank which has flown by. I am not really thinking, records are great, but listen I have to fight big name fighters and it would be fantastic if Hopkins could come back and fight, that would be worth half a dozen defences itself, to ... it is all about the opponents you fight. If you fight bigger, the fight with Hopkins will be my dream at this stage in my career. He's a fantastic fighter and has done a great job in beating Tarver I think it would be one of the best fights. In the last 10 years if we managed to get on, except I don't think he wants to fight.

Q Joe, my question is, when you took apart Jeff Lacy the way you did, did you even surprise yourself a little bit. Did you think it was going to be tougher than it was?

JC Of course I thought it was going to be tougher. I prepared for the hardest fight of my life. There was so much riding on that fight because I would be judged on that one performance on my reign as champion so I knew what was on the line and I was braying like an animal for 8 weeks. I was up at 2am in the morning, out in the rain and snow. I wasn't going to be denied on that night, I was prepared to go to war. And that was the big mistake, he wasn't prepared to go to war. He came over thinking he was going to walk through like he was walking through his other opponents and he was in a massive shock. I think it was down to my skill on the night, my speed and everything else, I took the fight away from him for 2 or 3 rounds. I think he had shell shock and he didn't come prepared. I don't think he came prepared and expecting what was going to happen to him. But, I couldn't write a better script, you know, to fight the best fight, the best performance of my life, the biggest night in my life, was just incredible. I will always remember that night. There are other things to be done, Lacy is in the past now, we have all got over the Lacy thing, I have got a big fight next Saturday, you know what Boxing is like, you are only as good as your last fight. So actually he's forgotten. So it is more important for me to go in the ring next week and to fight at my high standards, at a great work rate, and you know, fight the best I can fight and I believe I am going to put a good performance on and I believe 2007 is going to be a great year for me. And I will keep busy, hope to fight three fights next year, that's the aim.

Q One last thing, do you think that with that type of a victory over Jeff Lacy, do you think that basically you have proved to everybody in the world, who might have doubted you, exactly how great a fighter you truly are?

JC Yes, you have said .........? You said the great! Yeah, I think so. You sum up the word. Yes, I think because of a lot of guys, especially in America for the baddest in the Super Middleweight division to come over and for me to do what I did to him I think showed a lot of people up. But you are always going to get a group of people who say that Lacy is overrated. Anybody can knock anybody down, but as far as I am concerned, first and foremost I am proud of my performance and I hope that I put on a good show.

Q The question I want to ask you is about your opponent for this fight, Bika, do you know much about him or have you ever watched tapes of his previous fights including the one he just recently had with Markus Beyer?

JC Yes, I watched that fight and Ive seen a few tapes, but I don't study any fight meticulous. I watch maybe a dozen rounds of fight and that's all I ever did. I just want to see what sort of style he is. He's a good fighter, he's strong, he comes forward, he likes to try and land big punches and that's good for me. I perform better, I always fight better against authentic fighters and I don't think he's going to stand back, he's going to come to fight and you will see a great fight. I guess Markus Beyer, he was very unlucky with the draw in the fourth round, I think he might have gone on to win that fight. But, he's going to find out next Saturday that I am in a different league to Markus Beyer, full stop. I think Markus is a brilliant, technician. WBC champion you have to keep the weakest of all the champions and he is going to be in for a big shock if he thinks he is going to come over and win the fight. I will make sure I take the fight off him straight away, the same way I did with Lacy.

Q How do you avoid overlooking a guy like Bika since you are obviously the huge favourite, and you have so much more experience than this guy and he was going to be in that Showtime tournament of young up and coming super middleweight fighters? And now he's getting a world title fight. How do you not look past him, because there's all this talk of Kessler, or somebody else down there.

JC That's one of my strengths. I don't look beyond any fight. It doesn't matter who is on the opposite corner to me, I always respect every opponent. And I realise that anybody can be beaten, including myself, I don't go in the ring 100% I am going to go in there and walk all over the guy. So, I prepare 100%, I am in great shape, that's where my strength training, I train like a challenger, if not a champion. And, I do what I always do, I stay at home train in the same gym, run up the same mountains that I have always run up, and I try to keep and make the same mindset. And a week before the fight I feel great, I feel relaxed and I know I am going to perform. I realise that you are only as good as your last fight, like I said, and if I look beyond this guy he's got a chance of a life time, every fight you fights, he's got the biggest chance in his life and he will do anything in his power to try and take that. So if I let my guard down for one second and I don't train like I should train then that's when you get beat. And I don't want to get beat.

Q Do you think the boxing media, particularly in the United States, is finally giving you the respect because before the Lacy fight most of the American media expected Lacy to win and I said you might be able to outbox him. A lot of people just said no, no, no and we obviously saw what happened in that fight. Do you think this started to change?

JC I think so. I think a lot of people are surprised, especially Lacy, I thought they thought that he was going to dance my way around the edge of the rope and run from the guy like he was some ... you know ... but I fought him on either side and just fought my fight. I think hopefully I have got a lot of fans now from America, after that performance, and like I say, I just hope to keep it going and fight to the same sort of standard. I am capable of doing that again, obviously opponents make fights. You get some guy in the opposite corner, who is going to run, it is not going to be an attractive fight. But, I think this guy is going to come to fight next week and I hope it is going to be explosive. I made the distance in the last two fights, so I am looking forward to winning by a knockout. I haven't knocked somebody out for a little while so I am looking forward to it.

Q Is this the last fight for you at Super Middleweight?

JC I am not sure, we will have to wait and see. It has always been a big big struggle to make the weight and I have achieved nearly everything that I want to achieve at the weight, being the longest reigning champion and obviously beating Jeff Lacy. It all depends on the result of this fight, then I will sit down with Frank and obviously see where we go. The only other Super Middleweight out there is Kessler or Beyer and probably Kessler will be the winner, and have a sit down and speak to Frank. I have always said it is my ambition to be a two-way world champion. And, I am 35 in March so coming to the tail end of my career so it could be an opportunity maybe if I got the opportunity to step out and fight for light heavyweight title. I think I would be just as effective, or even more effective at light heavyweight. [Glenn] Johnson and Clinton [Woods} would fight and I am more than confident of that and even more confident after watching them fight that I would be way too good for both of them.

Q Joe, do you ever see yourself coming to the United States to fight?

JC Possibly. I would love to come out and fight. I thought if the title fight was going to happen then I would have come to America then and fight with Hopkins. Even if the fight was with Winky Wright or Jermain Taylor, yes I would be willing to come. But unfortunately those people are sort of eluding me, because Roy Jones got himself beat and Hopkins has retired. So we will have to wait and see, but it would be great to fight at least one fight in America, I would love to, we will have to wait and see.

Q Do you forgive us American writers for jumping on the bandwagon kind of late?

JC Yes of course. Listen, at the end of the day, if you were fancying Lacy to win and saying some derogatory things about me, then maybe I wouldn't have been so inspired at the Lacy fight. So, ... of course, I am just happy that everybody is quite impressed with my performance. Yes.

Q The Lacy fight was shocking to us I think, and I have to say for me personally your performance in that fight was one of the most superb boxing performances I have ever seen and I have really got to give that to you.

JC Thanks very much.

Q At the age of 35

FW 34!

Q My apologies 35 in March, with a recurring hand injury and so many fights, how much longer do you think you are going to fight?

JC I want to fight until I can't fight any more. I want to fight. A rare breed of fighter actually gets out at top. I think that's a realistic goal for me. I would like to fight if I can another four, possibly five, maybe four fights, to be honest. I don't want to fight beyond the age of 36. I have been doing this since the age of nine, a long long time, and of course I get .........? It is up to me when I want to ditch so ... I would like to get out at the top. Win another title and that so I suppose you are only as good as your last fight. If I ever get the ... if I am not the best anymore, then maybe I will not want to fight. I fight now because I am the best and I enjoy being a champion and I have always wanted to be the champion. And like you say, nobody knows in this game, the next fight could be your last fight, so ...

Q If you had to name one fighter you would like to face soon? Who would that be?

JC I think it would have to be Hopkins. Definitely Bernard Hopkins because he's on 20 Defences, he has gone on improving himself and been a Middleweight Champion for years and obviously stepped up and beat Tarver which was a great performance. So yes, I think that would be a great fight, myself against Hopkins. I think it would be a difficult fight because he's very wily and very capable fighter. But yes, that would be the fight for me. If not then Jermain Taylor, he's a very good Middleweight so one of them two would be the best.

FW Thank you very much gentlemen for joining us. It is much appreciated. And I hope you will be pleased with Joe's performance on 14th when he makes his HBO debut and hopefully after that he may make his debut in the States. Once again thank you.

Article posted on 05.10.2006

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