Epitome of a champ, Calzaghe looks to go out in style against Jones
NEW YORK -- You would think
You would think all those things about Calzaghe. You would think them, but you would be wrong.
As the clock ticks toward the final chapter of Calzaghe's brilliant 15-year career, a light heavyweight showdown with Jones (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET), the undefeated Welsh champion is a picture of cool. Sitting on a couch inside his tastily decorated midtown hotel room, Calzaghe (45-0) slowly sips a cup of tea and recounts the story of his life.
Flanked by his longtime trainer and father,
Will it? That remains to be seen.
If there is a criticism to make of Calzaghe it's that he sometimes has a warped perception of the skills of his opponents. Ask Calzaghe about his proudest accomplishment in boxing and he will point to his decisive 2006 victory over
Similarly, Calzaghe has convinced himself that in the last two years he has challenged the cream of the American boxing crop. But
But while Calzaghe's own insecurities may haunt him, there is little question as to whether "Super" Joe will go down in history as one of the greatest super middleweights of all time. Just like there is little doubt he will ever fight in that division -- or any division for that matter -- again after Saturday night.
In boxing, fighters retire for two reasons: (1) They can't fight anymore, and (2) they don't want to fight anymore.
Calzaghe is certainly not the former. With movie-star good looks and hand speed that rivals men half his age, Calzaghe is still a superior fighter. Should he beat Jones, there is no question that for the first time in Calzaghe's career he will be a marketable, worldwide star. Fighters will clamor for an opportunity to take him on and Calzaghe would be well compensated for his services.
But Calzaghe doesn't want the millions. "The day you only fight for money is the day you get beat," he said.
And he doesn't want anymore opponents. Calzaghe is not your typical champion. While Jones was the picture of health throughout most of his career (who can forget Jones' memorable KO of
Then there is the fear that most fighters have but few heed. Call it the "
"I don't want to fight so long that I get beat up or seriously hurt," said Calzaghe. "I don't want to be like a guy like Holyfield. Some guys go into the ring and want to fight a war. I don't. I want to win every time but I don't want to get beat up doing it."
Retirement is a familiar refrain in boxing, but Calzaghe claims he has other things to live for. After splitting with longtime British promoter
"I like eating and drinking," said Calzaghe. "I like getting fat. I like doing nothing. I don't want to go to the gym. I'd rather play fútbol."
Calzaghe's decision to retire after the fight with Jones may be ironclad, but he says he has no intention of underestimating his final opponent.
"To underestimate [Roy] is a very dangerous thing to do," said Calzaghe. "He may not be as fast as he once was, but he can punch. And this is only my second fight at light heavyweight. I've never been in with someone as quick as Roy and he's never been in with someone as quick as me."
Still, Calzaghe can't resist the opportunity to throw a preemptive jab at Jones' ego.
"Roy has fought a lot of fighters who weren't anybody," said Calzaghe. "I beat six world champions. Look at my fight with Hopkins. Who struggled the last nine rounds? Was it me? No. Who was trying to cheat late in the fight with the fake low blows? It was Hopkins crying like a [expletive] on the floor."
Get a good look at Joe Calzaghe, America. Because you probably won't get another.