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Page last updated at 06:36 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 07:36 UK

Hopkins ready to outbox Calzaghe

Las Vegas, USA, Sunday 20 April
Coverage: Radio 5 Live, Radio Wales and BBC Sport website from 0300 BST

By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport in Las Vegas

Bernard Hopkins (left) and trainer Freddie Roach
Hopkins (left) and trainer Roach have come up with a plan to foil Calzaghe

Bernard Hopkins's trainer Freddie Roach says his team have developed the ideal plan to explode Joe Calzaghe's unbeaten record in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Roach believes Hopkins, 43, will have too much experience and ring-craft for his Welsh opponent.

"Calzaghe has a difficult and awkward style. If you don't fight right, he'll beat you," Roach told BBC Sport.

"But he's never faced anyone like Bernard - Bernard knows more about boxing than all of us."

Roach, who is head of a three-main training team, is a former trainer of Mike Tyson, Oscar de la Hoya and Ireland's Steve Collins among others.

He added that Calzaghe's style, although effective, had not been difficult to decipher.

"There's me, [southpaw coach] John David Jackson and [assistant coach] Naazim Richardson in the team together because we needed to create a battle-plan," said Roach.

"Calzaghe's style's a little bit unorthodox, but it's basic and it's not hard to figure out in that he doesn't make changes and always fights the same fight.

"I don't think he can change, but he's never been beaten. But he's not a Hopkins, Bernard's a smart guy."

Roach also questioned whether Calzaghe, who is undefeated in 44 fights, had the necessary experience against top-class opposition.

BBC Sport's Ben Dirs

Roach said: "I like Jeff Lacy [who Calzaghe defeated in 2006], I trained him for a little while, but he was a young fighter and what did he bring to the table apart from a big punch? Nothing much.

"Everyone pumped him up so high because he was knocking everyone out, but who did he knock out?

"Mikkel Kessler [who Calzaghe beat last November] was another young guy who had a very amateur style and was again pumped up because he beat a lot of nobodies.

"Joe's best win is against Chris Eubank [who Calzaghe beat in 1997 to win the WBO super-middleweight crown], who was a much better fighter than people gave him credit for. That was a great win, but that was a long time ago.

"Joe stands up in front of you, he's a little bit square and he throws punches over the top, and that leaves openings for a good counter-puncher.

"Lacy is not a good counter-puncher and Lacy didn't have a game-plan. He thought his power would be enough, and it wasn't.

It's all about how many beatings you've taken in boxing, and neither guy has

Bernard Hopkins's trainer Freddie Roach

"Joe doesn't use his power shot any more, and I know he has bad hands, and we're going take advantage of that too.

"When a big punch comes, Bernard will dip his head and get hit on the forehead and Joe's going hurt his hands. My guy knows how to do that.

"Bernard is a text-book fighter. His chin's down, his hands are up, his feet are always in the right position, he's never off balance."

And Roach is certain that age will not be a factor at the Thomas & Mack Center, despite his man being seven years Calzaghe's senior.

Roach, three-time American boxing writers' trainer of the year, said: "How many beatings has Bernard taken? None, he's a young 43.

"It's all about how many beatings you've taken in boxing, and neither guy has."

see also
Hopkins just too old - Calzaghe
15 Apr 08 |  Boxing
How to stop Joe Calzaghe
15 Apr 08 |  Boxing
Calzaghe v Hopkins photos
15 Apr 08 |  Boxing
Wales' greatest US fight nights
13 Apr 08 |  Boxing
Vegas to show Calzaghe pedigree
12 Apr 08 |  Boxing

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