Sometime in the next year or so, Showtime's Super Six tournament will anoint a new champion in the super middleweight division. It seems simple enough, but there's a small twist that has recently been questioned: Could a fight with the former champion be right behind it?
"There is no chance whatsoever," said retired champ Joe Calzaghe in a telephone interview from Wales. "I don't miss boxing. I have no intention of fighting again. I'm done with it."
The prospect of a unified champion in the 168-pound division has the Internet buzzing about whether Calzaghe -- who has held all four versions of the super middleweight title at one point and left the division in 2007 as the reigning WBA, WBC and WBO champion -- would be interested in returning to the ring to face the man who will take his crown. It's a fight that is appealing on many levels.
Calzaghe, who retired last year with a perfect 46-0 record, is a bona fide superstar in the United Kingdom, and a fight with the winner of the Super Six tournament would likely draw a record-breaking crowd in Wales and would almost certainly sell out arenas in New York, Atlantic City or Las Vegas. In addition to European television money, a Calzaghe comeback would bring millions from U.S. networks. Executives from both Showtime and HBO told SI.com that they would be "very interested" in airing that fight.
There's only one problem: Calzaghe isn't remotely interested.
"I'm enjoying retirement," said Calzaghe. "I don't want to fight. My kids don't want me to fight. Not too many fighters retire at the right time. That means more to me than money. Honestly, there is no desire in me. Nothing in me at all wants to fight again."
Still, Calzaghe does wish a Super Six tourney had existed when he was still fighting. Though he held at least one piece of the super middleweight titles from 1997-2007, Calzaghe never achieved worldwide recognition until he moved up in weight and defeated Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. at the end of his career.
"Of course I wish they had this when I was boxing," said Calzaghe. "This [168-pound] division is close to my heart. My time was a frustrating time. I couldn't get the great fights. It was not a very illustrious division. This is a great tournament that is great for boxing. There are too many champions out there. This should settle that."
Calzaghe said he's maintained his conditioning by boxing a few rounds occasionally, and that he hasn't "let myself get fat." In pointing to a unanimous-decision victory over Mikkel Kessler in 2007, Calzaghe said that, if he chose to return, he has no doubt that he'd be successful. As for the other Super Six competitors -- Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Andre Dirrell, Andre Ward and Jermain Taylor -- Calzaghe is confident he'd be able to handle them.
In fact, he and Froch have exchanged barbs through the press, with Calzaghe saying Froch, who defeated Dirrell on a split-points decision in the opening night of the Super Six last Saturday, had no chance against Kessler. Froch, the current WBC champion, responded with a claim that Calzaghe chose retirement over a bout with him.
But aside from the bantering and the what-ifs, Calzaghe vividly remembers the pain in his hands after dismantling Hopkins, and the occasional lack of motivation while training to face Jones. And these memories trump all others.
"I'd be a fool to come back," said Calzaghe. "I have too much good going on in my life."
In addition to running Calzaghe Promotions, which is set to put on a show in Wales on Nov. 20, Calzaghe was recently a contestant in the UK reality series Strictly Come Dancing (he was voted off this week) and said he has plenty of other projects in the pipeline to keep him busy. While he fully expects promoters and network executives to try to lure him out of retirement, he already knows what he is going to tell them.
"I'll tell them what I told you," said Calzaghe. "No."