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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Calzaghe closer to Taylor fight
Joe Calzaghe
Calzaghe's camp still have to up their offer to secure Jermain Taylor
Joe Calzaghe's chance of a lucrative super-fight with American star Jermain Taylor is moving closer to reality.

Frank Warren, WBO super middleweight holder Calzaghe's promoter, had offered Taylor $4m, while the middleweight star's camp said they wanted $10m.

But Taylor's promoter Lou DiBella told BBC Radio Wales' Back Page programme they were now prepared to take $6m.

"A $4m offer was ridiculous and frankly Frank asked for more money guaranteed on Joe's side," DiBella said.

606: DEBATE
MC

Although there is still a significant gap between the two camps' valuations, a deal could even be thrashed out next weekend providing Taylor beats Cory Spinks.

Calzaghe will be ringside at the Fed-Ex Forum in Memphis on 19 May to watch the 28-year-old from Little Rock defend his WBC and WBO titles.

Our preference is to fight Calzaghe, we've indicated we're even willing to go to Cardiff or London to make the fight happen

Jermain Taylor's promoter Lou DiBella

Taylor won his titles from middleweight legend Bernard Hopkins and earned $6m from his draw against Ronald "Winky" Wright last June.

That has set the money standard that Calzaghe's US backers, cable television network HBO, must match if the 35-year-old Welshman is to entice Taylor up to super middleweight.

"If HBO pays the same money they paid for the Winky Wright fight, I will take US television (revenue) and let Frank keep the gate, the sponsorship, and the British and other international TV," DiBella said.

"But HBO needs to pay that $6m, that's what we're looking at.

"Right now Frank says there's no money in the pot from all those other revenue sources and I'm saying that I'm certainly not cutting in on the US revenue if that's the case.

"You're moving a fighter up in weight against the very best man at that weight and you're going into the lion's den to do it.

"It's difficult but Jermain's beaten Hopkins twice, drew with Winky Wright and defended his title five times, four at middleweight.

"It would be tough in Joe's backyard but we're not (previous Calzaghe victims) Peter Manfredo Jr or Jeff Lacy.

Jermain Taylor
Jermain Taylor must first defend his titles against Cory Spinks

"Joe's a great, great fighter, but he's never left his home turf and he's never beaten a great, great fighter."

Calzaghe believed that his last defence, a three-round destruction of Manfredo in front of 35,000 spectators at the Millennium Stadium, could well have been his last in Britain.

But DiBella said that Taylor is prepared to come to the UK for the fight, paving the way for another huge night in Cardiff.

Manfredo was most famous for being the runner-up in the first US series of boxing reality TV show 'The Contender', but was given no realistic chance of causing an upset on Calzaghe's 20th defence.

But a match-up with a genuine contender such as Taylor could see ticket sales rocket.

"I don't want to look past the Spinks fight, but obviously Joe Calzaghe looms on the horizon as a possible opponent if I can get Frank Warren to make a fair deal with me," DiBella added.

"HBO does not believe that Jermain Taylor and Joe Calzaghe is as big a fight as Jermain Taylor and Winky Wright was, so we're not able to get the same licence fee from HBO.

"Based on the numbers we have right now we can't make a fight, we're about $1m apart.

"Our preference is to fight Calzaghe, we've indicated we're even willing to go to Cardiff or London to make the fight happen, but we're not willing to take on unfair economic terms."

Tune in to the BBC Radio Wales' The Back Page programme every Saturday, 0830-0900 BST



SEE ALSO
Taylor wants $10m from Calzaghe
16 Apr 07 |  Boxing
Q&A with Jermain Taylor
16 Apr 07 |  Boxing
Calzaghe confirms hand fracture
10 Apr 07 |  Boxing
The Calzaghe Record
05 Mar 06 |  Boxing
BBC Wales Sport coverage
31 Oct 05 |  Wales


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