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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 15:22 GMT
Kessler counting on age advantage
Joe Calzaghe (left) and Mikkel Kessler
Kessler and Calzaghe both claim to be in prime condition
Date: Saturday, 3 November
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Coverage: Setanta, BBC Radio 5 Live, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru & the BBC Sport website

Mikkel Kessler says his youth will give him an edge in his super middleweight unification bout with Joe Calzaghe.

"He's always been in great physical shape and is by no means an old man, but he's 35 and that could be a weakness," said the 28-year-old Dane.

"I've seen other problems I won't name. Calzaghe's a great fighter but I'm more focused and youthful, he may tire."

The WBA and WBC champion dismissed rumours of a hand injury and said that training and sparring had been perfect.

606: DEBATE
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"It's been a four-month camp and everything has gone so well, I don't know where any talk of injury has come from," said Kessler, ahead of Saturday's bout at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The Dane will be pitching his impressive 39-0 (29 KOs) record against WBO champion Calzaghe's own undefeated card of 43-0 (32 KOs).

The Welshman has held his belt for 10 years, making him the longest-reigning current champion in boxing, and will be making his 21st defence.

"I've had hand trouble since I was 14, but everything's been perfect this time," said Calzaghe. "I've been able to spar properly, so I'm relaxed, confident and ready.

Kessler's better than Lacy, taller and more skilful

Joe Calzaghe

"Weight is always a problem, I'm a big super middleweight, but I've been doing this for 13 years and it's in hand.

"I need something extra on these fights, as I showed when I raised my performances against the likes of Chris Eubank and Jeff Lacy.

"I've had a 12-week training camp and I feel fantastic. I need a challenge like Kessler to get me psyched up.

"He's a good, all-round fighter, better than Lacy, taller and more skilful. He's undefeated and hungry.

"But I've done well against taller fighters like Mario Veit and Richie Woodhall, the best upright-type boxer I've faced.

"As I'm nearly 36, Kessler might be hoping that I'm over the hill this time, but, believe me, I've still got the hunger, I'm as fit as ever and there's a lot I still have to achieve in boxing."

Over 50,000 are expected to attend, but the crowd is expected to fall short of the world record for an indoor bout of 63,350 who watched Muhammad Ali's rematch with Leon Spinks at the New Orleans Superdome in 1978.

I said that Calzaghe slaps because he has a technical weakness with his punches

Mikkel Kessler

"It's a great stadium and, although the crowd will be hostile, there'll be about 1,000 over from Denmark and I'm looking forward to it," said Kessler.

"I can feel the fight coming and things building, but I'm not nervous. I went all the way to Australia to make the first defence of my title against Anthony Mundine and I had no problems there.

"You always fear the judges' decision if it goes 12 rounds, but I'm prepared for that and I don't feel I have to win by knock-out."

Kessler did not retract his suggestion that Calzaghe "slaps" with punches, but was keen to qualify his remarks.

"I said that because he has a technical weakness with his punches, he doesn't turn his wrist and he has suffered a number of hand injuries," he said.

"Calzaghe's a great all-round fighter, but I feel I'm the smarter guy and the better man - I won't make the mistakes that Lacy did.

"This is a worldwide breakthrough fight for me, it's great to be on primetime US television."

SEE ALSO
BBC Sport Wales coverage
07 Aug 07 |  Wales
Calzaghe's big-bout brilliance
31 Oct 07 |  Boxing
Calzaghe hungry for twin titles
25 Oct 07 |  Boxing
Calzaghe promises stunning show
10 Sep 07 |  Boxing
Inside Team Calzaghe
29 Oct 07 |  Boxing
Calzaghe v Eubank - 10 years on
08 Oct 07 |  Boxing
The Calzaghe Record
05 Mar 06 |  Boxing


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