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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 21:41 GMT
Calzaghe is out to make Lacy pay
Jeff Lacy and Joe Calzaghe
Calzaghe v Lacy is seen as a classic in the making
*Live on BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru

Joe Calzaghe is ready to punish Jeff Lacy on Sunday after the IBF super middleweight king accused the Welshman of slapping rather than punching.

"Lacy has said I can't hit," said Calzaghe, who is putting his WBO title on the line at Manchester's MEN Arena.

"Many have claimed that and I hope he comes over with a sense of security because he'll get hurt, believe me.

"I'm confident that the hand I broke in my last fight is fine. It's a hazard of boxing, but it's been OK in training."

I don't think it will go over three rounds either way, with my money on Calzaghe
Ex-British and Commonwealth champion Nicky Piper

Nicky Piper, the ex-British and Commonwealth light heavyweight champion, feels his countryman's notoriously frail hands could have an impact on his fight tactics.

"It's a weakness of Joe's and it could be on his mind that the hands will go again," Piper told BBC Sport Wales.

"He could throw caution to the wind and try to get Lacy out early. I see it as a re-run of Calzaghe's meeting with Byron Mitchell - Lacy is better than Mitchell, but Joe is ready for that.

"It has all the makings of a classic. I don't think it will go over three rounds either way, with my money on Calzaghe."

But Calzaghe has hinted at a more sophisticated game-plan, saying he did not make enough of his superior boxing skills in his classic slug-fests with Mitchell and Charles Brewer.

"If I stand toe-to-toe and fight Lacy's fight it becomes more his scene," he said.

"Although the crowd loved the Brewer and Mitchell bouts I could have won more comfortably, I have to keep a cool head."

Newbridge-man Calzaghe says he has a fresh motivation for the bout.

Lacy's a good champion, undefeated - but not for much longer
Joe Calzaghe

The Welshman is the longest reigning current world champion at any weight, having made 17 defences of the WBO belt since dethroning Chris Eubank in 1997.

But the 33-year-old is excited at getting his hands on another title.

"I've something to win. Normally I'm defending my crown but now I'm after Lacy's belt," said Calzaghe.

"This will put me on another level. Unifying the title is what I've wanted to do for years.

"Lacy might be known as 'Left Hook', but I've got one of those, plus a right hook, an uppercut, a jab. I've got everything.

"He's a good champion, undefeated, but not for much longer. I'm 100% confident, it'll be explosive, so don't blink."

Although he will be fighting on foreign soil, Florida's Lacy, 28, will have the advantage of staying on his own time-scale, an 0200 GMT start being tailored to the US television audience.

Calzaghe has re-trained his body clock to meet the American, who is undefeated in 22 fights, 17 coming by way of knock-out.

"I'm training late," said Calzaghe. "Normally I train in the morning then the afternoon, so now I train in the evening then at one or two o'clock in the morning and try to adjust that way.

"It's a real pain, but my weight is good, I'm in great shape and feel good within myself."

Calzaghe, who has a 100% record from 40 fights (31 KOs), has been doing his roadwork in the middle of the night, running in the Welsh countryside with father and trainer Enzo.

"He follows me in the car with the lights on to make sure I can see where I'm going," he said. "It's nice and quiet, quite surreal actually. I've seen a few badgers!"




JOE CALZAGHE

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