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Joe Calzaghe v Bernard Hopkins
Las Vegas - 20 April, 2008



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

Joe Calzaghe (left) and Bernard Hopkins


By Ben Dirs and Sean Chaney

Ricky Hatton expects fellow Briton Joe Calzaghe to succeed where he failed and defeat America's Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas next weekend.

Hatton was knocked out in 10 rounds by Floyd Mayweather in December, but thinks Calzaghe "has the tools" to beat Hopkins on his light-heavyweight debut.

"Joe can't do any wrong in my eyes - as a boxer he's the complete package," Hatton told BBC Sport.

"Whether the fight be in Wales or

America, Joe is just the better man."

However, Britain's former heavyweight king Lennox Lewis said the fact Welshman Calzaghe is fighting in America for the first time could be "an issue".

Ricky Hatton on Joe Calzaghe

"It is an advantage for Hopkins and an issue for Calzaghe because he has never travelled [to America] for a fight," said Lewis, who fought most of his world title bouts in the States.

"Now he actually has to travel, get readjusted, stay for quite a while in a brand new environment. That has to have some kind of effect on you.

"All of a sudden the whole world is focused on you. You are not at home any more, your fans are travelling. Some boxers can adjust and some boxers can't, we are going to have to see whether he can make the adjustment or not."

The 36-year-old Calzaghe has revealed he has taken inspiration from Hatton's showdown with Mayweather, having been present for the build-up and the bout itself.

"Seeing Ricky getting thousands of fans on the other side of the world was incredible and gave me a real buzz," said Calzaghe, who faces Hopkins at the Thomas & Mack Center.

"I wanted to get a bit of that before I retired because it is the only thing missing from my record.

Floyd Mayweather (left) and Ricky Hatton
Hatton (right) was well beaten by Floyd Mayweather last December

"After I beat Mikkel Kessler I thought, 'how am I going to better this moment?' I wanted something that got me excited and going out and watching Hatton was something I loved."

The loss to Mayweather was Hatton's first as a professional while super-middleweight king Calzaghe goes into his first fight on American soil undefeated in 44 fights.

Like Mayweather, the 43-year-old Hopkins is a modern-day legend who reigned as undisputed middleweight champion for 10 years and holds a record of 48 wins (32 KOs), four defeats and one draw.

Eight thousand Brits are expected to follow Calzaghe to Las Vegas, but Hatton does not think the pressure will prove too much for the WBC, WBA and WBO super-middleweight champion.

"A lot of people say that level of support is a big weight on your shoulders, but I never looked at it that way," said Hatton, who returns to the ring against Mexico's Juan Lazcano in Manchester on 24 May.

"I just thought of how many people I could let down and how many people I could make proud.

"It is different fighting in America but Joe has got to believe in his ability. I think Joe is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and just too busy."

Hatton, who fought Mayweather at welterweight, has admitted that moving up from his natural light-welterweight proved difficult, but does not believe Calzaghe will have the same problems.

606: DEBATE

"It did affect me [moving up] and you do notice a difference, but Joe is not exactly a small super-middleweight," said Hatton.

"A fighter always knows what weight they perform best at and my advice to Joe would be, don't try and make yourself into a light-heavyweight and come in too heavy.

"Come in at the weight you perform best at. The best Joe Calzaghe beats the best Bernard Hopkins and that's the top and bottom of it.

"Joe is fighting one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and if he wins he will get the credit he deserves. I think he's one of the best fighters Britain has ever had."



see also
Calzaghe relishing Hopkins test
26 Mar 08 |  Boxing
Vegas to show Calzaghe pedigree
12 Apr 08 |  Boxing
Calzaghe suffers big-fight blow
08 Apr 08 |  Boxing
Hopkins issues chilling warning
19 Feb 08 |  Boxing
Round one to Calzaghe
07 Feb 08 |  Boxing


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