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Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Calzaghe banking on world support

Interview: Joe Calzaghe

Joe Calzaghe feels he will have the support of fight fans across the globe in his 19 April light-heavyweight bout with Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas.

"Hopkins is good at making people look bad but he won't do that to me," said Wales' Calzaghe, 36. "That's why he's not a fighter who is very well loved.

"There were people in his own country booing him when we were in Vegas for Ricky Hatton v Floyd Mayweather."

Experienced Joe Cortez will referee the clash at the Thomas & Mack Center.


Calzaghe was delighted with the news, despite the fact that Cortez was heavily criticised by Hatton fans for his handling of the Hatton fight.

"I don't do holding and mauling and Joe Cortez is well aware of that," said the undefeated Newbridge man.

"He's an experienced referee and he'll enjoy a quiet night because all he will have to do is count to 10 and save Hopkins."

Philadelphian Hopkins, 43, has built the intensity of the contest with his vow "never to lose to a white boy" and his warning that Calzaghe had "better be ready to die".

The man known as "The Executioner" reigned as middleweight champion for 10 years and holds a record of 48 wins (32 KOs), four defeats and one draw.

Hopkins will do everything he can to knock me out of my rhythm because he knows I'm stronger, faster and fitter than him

Joe Calzaghe

But that does not impress Calzaghe, who has won all his 44 fights (32 KOs) and is into his 11th year as world super-middleweight champion.

"I respect him but Hopkins is not as good as he thinks he is," said Calzaghe, who will be making his first appearance as a light-heavyweight.

"He had a good run as champion but he hasn't reigned for as long as me nor beaten the quality of opponents I've beaten.

"Hopkins has hardly ever been in any exciting fights and he's very negative.

"He'll do everything he can to knock me out of my rhythm because he knows I'm stronger, faster and fitter than him."

Calzaghe will fly to America on 5 April to begin acclimatisation, alongside stable-mates and sparring partners Bradley Pryce and Nathan Cleverly.

Both Pryce and Cleverly will appear on the Vegas bill, Pryce's opponent confirmed as Norberto Bravo.

see also
Wales' greatest US fight nights
25 Mar 08 |  Boxing
Round one to Calzaghe
07 Feb 08 |  Boxing
Pryce lands Bravo date in Vegas
26 Mar 08 |  Boxing
Hopkins issues chilling warning
19 Feb 08 |  Boxing
Calzaghe seals Hopkins showdown
23 Jan 08 |  Boxing
Calzaghe v Hopkins 'very close'
10 Dec 07 |  Boxing
Hopkins taunts 'white' Calzaghe
07 Dec 07 |  Boxing
The Calzaghe Record
04 Nov 07 |  Boxing
BBC Sport Wales coverage
31 Dec 07 |  Wales

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