10.21.04 – By Andrew Mullinder: There had better be a plan behind the antagonistic trash talking that has flowed with unwise haste from the Salem camp before their appointment to fight undefeated WBO Super Middleweight Champion, Joe Calzaghe. Because their constant sniping, which had clearly infuriated both Calzaghe and his farther, Enzo, reached a crescendo during today’s weigh in, and will surely mean that the Egyptian has lost all hope of the Welshman taking his unheralded challenger too lightly. On the contrary, Calzaghe now seems as fired up for this fight as for any other.
While Calzaghe finds making 12 stone (168lbs) increasingly difficult, he is a consummate professional, and an assiduous trainer, and after Salem weighed in 2 ounces inside Super Middleweight limit, Calzaghe climbed on the scales and weighed in at exactly 12 stone. However, it has been reported by the BBC that Nasser Nettles, Salem’s trainer, disputed this weight, claiming that Calzaghe was heavier. What ensued after this altercation was clearly the detonation of the powder keg of bad feeling between the Calzaghe camp and that of Salem, where Calzaghe wrestled with Nettles, before the trainer was ejected.
Of course, wherever an intensity of emotions are present, there is always the potential for one misplaced word or act over confidence to act as catalyst for a violent explosion. But these are extraordinary events for a mandatory fight that most sensible observers argue should be a one-sided affair.
I can only hope that this has all been part of an orchestrated plan from the Egyptian camp to knock the Welshman out of his game plan by stirring up the obvious frustration Calzaghe feels at having to face Salem rather than a marquee name boxer. If it is simply petulance or misplaced bravado, we may be in for a short night because Calzaghe will no longer need to search for motivation as he enters the ring.
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