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Last Updated: Monday, 2 February, 2004, 15:17 GMT
Where next for Calzaghe?
WBO super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe is still searching for a 'superfight' - we take a look at potential opponents and the likelihood of the match being made.

Glen Johnson

Pros

  • Victory would give Calzaghe the IBF light-heavyweight crown, making him a two-weight champion
  • Johnson is a solid fighter, but at 35 is entering the veteran phase
  • The Miami boxer is prepared to travel to meet Calzaghe on his own terms
  • The IBF belt is a prestigious prize that would leave Calzaghe in a strong bargaining position

    Cons

  • Johnson knows how much Calzaghe wants his belt and could try to dictate terms over purse and venue
  • Johnson is strong and experienced and would let Calzaghe know all about the demands of fighting at a new weight

    Verdict: There seem few obstacles to making this match...


    Zsolt Erdei

    Pros

  • Victory would give Calzaghe the WBO light-heavyweight crown, making him a two-weight champion
  • Under WBO rules, the Welshman could move directly up from super-middle and challenge for the title
  • Other than a surprise win over Julio Gonzalez to take the title, there are few names on the Hungarian's 19-0 record

    Cons

  • Erdei is undefeated and an unknown proposition. It could be a dangerous fight at light-heavy
  • A much more difficult fight to sell than Julio Gonzalez
  • It is difficult to get Erdei to fight outside his adopted Germany, where points decisions almost invariably go to the home boxer

    Verdict: All depends on how hard the WBO push Erdei to take Calzaghe's challenge on the Welshman's terms


    Antonio Tarver

    Pros

  • Another possibility at light-heavy, Tarver's profile has been raised significantly by his controversial loss to Roy Jones Jr
  • If a rematch with Jones is not arranged shortly, Tarver could be awarded the WBC belt
  • Widely regarded as the number-one light-heavyweight in the world
  • Although many feel Tarver defeated Jones Jr, there was little in his performance that would leave Calzaghe quaking in his boots

    Cons

  • Tarver's confidence in his ability will be boosted by the performance against Jones Jr
  • A huge ask for Calzaghe's first bout at light-heavy, the Welshman would probably first prefer to get an easier bout under his belt at the new weight
  • Tarver is currently without a title

    Verdict: A fight that will raise huge interest if Calzaghe moves up, unclear whether he would risk it first-time out at light-heavy


    Bernard Hopkins

    Pros

  • A world-respected name, Hopkins is regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. This would be a true 'superfight'
  • Hopkins is having trouble finding suitable opponents to interest the tv networks and justify the huge purses he demands
  • Having blown possible fights with Roy Jones Jr and James Toney, Hopkins is searching round for alternatives
  • Calzaghe's impressive performance against Byron Mitchell has raised the Welshman's profile in the States - and upped the cash that could be brought to the table for a Hopkins bout
  • The champion is ageing and slowing. This could be the time for Calzaghe to catch him and add a huge scalp to his record

    Cons

  • A difficult man to pin to a contract. Frank Warren tried to make the match in 2002, but Hopkins priced himself out of the market
  • Though past his best, 'The Executioner' is a formidable foe. Raised himself for his major fights against William Joppy and the awesome Felix Trinidad
  • Hopkins is throwing names of other potential opponents round like confetti
  • Calzaghe will have to travel to the States to get his man

    Verdict: Hopkins is more likely to fight a big-name light-middle moving up the divisions


    Jeff Lacy

    Pros

  • Building a reputation in the States where calls are growing for him to get a shot at one of the European champions
  • Lacy is a big favourite of US TV network Showtime's boss Jay Larkin
  • Brings an undefeated record and an exciting style

    Cons

  • Lacy has not been in with anyone of Calzaghe's class and does not look ready for the Welshman

    Verdict: Likely if Calzaghe stays at super-middle


    Roy Jones Jr

    Pros

  • Perhaps the biggest name in the boxing world and one of the biggest draws
  • Jones Jr's move back down to light-heavy against Antonio Tarver brings him back within Calzaghe's radar
  • It has been some years since Jones Jr took a really challenging fight that pushed the champ

    Cons

  • Jones Jr stunned the world with his move up to heavyweight and the big-money draws lie in that division. He has targeted one last big fight against Mike Tyson before retiring
  • Despite a poor show against Tarver, Jones Jr is one of the best fighters the world has seen - few would fancy Calzaghe's chances

    Verdict: Not as far-fetched as it seemed after Jones Jr's move to heavyweight


    Sven Ottke

    Pros

  • A unification bout that could add the IBF and WBA belts to Calzaghe's WBO crown
  • Ottke is a respected champion and taking his scalp would boost Calzaghe's reputation
  • The German is a light puncher, unlikely to have the armoury to trouble Calzaghe
  • Ottke is talking about retirement and could be looking for a last big pay day

    Cons

  • A difficult fight to sell outside Britain and Germany
  • Calzaghe will have to travel to the Germans' back-yard to face him
  • Ottke is a cagey fighter. If Calzaghe has a recurrence of his hand problems he may find it difficult to win a points decision, especially in Germany
  • Would the German risk his unbeaten record so late in his career?

    Verdict: The German looks to have backed away from a fight


    Anthony Mundine

    Pros

  • An easy unification route against the new WBA champion

    Cons

  • Persuading Mundine to risk his title against Calzaghe would be difficult and a match-up in Australia would probably be demanded

    Verdict: Possible


    Antwun Echols

    Pros

  • A highly regarded super-middleweight with a decent record
  • Echols needs a route back to the big time after his loss to Anthony Mundine
  • If Calzaghe is serious about his wish to fight in the States, Echols would be a good entry to the US market

    Cons

  • Echols is notorious for his rough-house tactics
  • Much of the interest went when Echols lost to Mundine

    Verdict: Possible


    Eric Lucas

    Pros

  • Calzaghe would be confident of a comfortable win against the Canadian
  • Would add another ex-world champion scalp to Calzaghe's record and negotiations could be eased with Lucas looking for a way back to the top table

    Cons

  • Most of the interest in this fight died when Lucas lost his WBC crown to Markus Beyer

    Verdict: Possible


    Howard Eastman

    Pros

  • A big domestic clash from a serious challenger
  • Eastman's assets are speed, accuracy and strength. Calzaghe could match him on the first two, and with the Battersea boxer having to move up to super-middle the champ would expect to have the edge in muscle
  • Eastman is running out of credible opponents at middleweight and is unlikely to get a William Joppy rematch or a date with Bernard Hopkins

    Cons

  • Little interest outside the UK in this clash
  • Eastman fights on the BBC, Calzaghe on Sky

    Verdict: Possible


    Markus Beyer

    Pros

  • A unification bout that could add the WBC belt to Calzaghe's WBO crown
  • Beyer is not in the Welshman's class

    Cons

  • A difficult fight to sell outside Britain and Germany

    Verdict: Possible


    Brian Magee

    Pros

  • Another decent domestic fight that could prove popular with the UK market

    Cons

  • No interest in the fight outside Britain. Even in the UK it would not be considered a major challenge for the Welshman

    Verdict: Magee is a long way from Calzaghe at the moment


    Johnny Nelson

    Pros

  • An all-British fight that would be a big seller in the country
  • Beating Nelson at cruiserweight would give Calzaghe a shot at being a champion at three different weights
  • Calzaghe sees little to fear in Nelson

    Cons

  • No US interest in this match
  • Stepping up two weights in one leap is unlikely - Calzaghe would need warm-up fights
  • Will Nelson still be champion by the time Calzaghe is ready for him?

    Verdict: Unlikely




  • JOE CALZAGHE

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