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Page last updated at 23:03 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 00:03 UK

Hopkins just too old - Calzaghe

By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport in Las Vegas

Joe Calzaghe at a public workout in Las Vegas
Joe Calzaghe is undefeated in 44 fights

Joe Calzaghe is convinced age will be the overriding factor when he meets Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas.

At 36, Calzaghe, who fights Hopkins early on Sunday morning, is seven years younger than his opponent.

"The guy is 43 years old - he's not the Bionic Man, he's human," Calzaghe told BBC Sport.

"You can have all the trainers and nutritionists you like, but he'll be made to fight for 12 rounds and Father Time catches up with everybody."

Calzaghe, who is undefeated in 44 fights, added: "If I can make a 28-year-old Mikkel Kessler blow out of his behind, I'm sure I can make this guy do the same after a few rounds.

Confident Calzaghe aims to 'destroy' Hopkins

"Bernard is good at what he does, he's defensive, he hoodwinks people and he steals fights.

"He can be quite skilled at times, but he can also be a quite crude and a dirty fighter at times on the inside. But I'm younger, faster, stronger and more skilled.

"It's up to me not to allow myself to get drawn into a cagey sort of fight. I can make it as easy or as hard as I want to make it.

This isn't America versus Britain, it's not a colour thing, it's just a fight and I'll kick this guy's backside any place we fight

Joe Calzaghe

"If I'm inside all the time, I'm not using my speed or footwork. At the extra 7lb [Calzaghe is making his debut at light-heavyweight] the speed is still there. I feel quick, strong, comfortable and powerful.

"I need to keep my distance, keep my speed and as long as I fight at the standard I showed against Kessler and Jeff Lacy and fight my fight, he's in trouble."

Calzaghe also laughed off Hopkins's comment that Enzo Calzaghe, his father and trainer, might be quick to withdraw him from the fight should the Newbridge man find himself in any trouble.

Inside Sport: Bernard Hopkins

Hopkins said Sunday morning's fight could follow a similar pattern to his match with Felix Trinidad in 2001, when the Puerto Rican's father and trainer was moved to step into the ring and call a halt to the fight.

"It's a ridiculous statement, it's bordering on hilarious, it's all mind-games," countered Calzaghe.

"And he's comparing me to Felix Trinidad, which is a joke. He's a great fighter, but he's a welterweight who got exposed at the heavier weights."

In addition, Calzaghe, who is fighting in America for the first time, dismissed suggestions that he might be too far out of his comfort zone on the Vegas Strip.

"I'm a chilled out, relaxed sort of guy and I don't really think that much about it," said Calzaghe.

606: DEBATE

"I don't let things get to me and regardless of where the fight is, the ring is a ring and that's my home.

"I'm fighting in Vegas with an American referee, it's my first fight at light-heavyweight and all those combinations make it a difficult fight.

"If this fight was in Wales it wouldn't be a race. But this isn't America versus Britain, it's not a colour thing, it's just a fight and I'll kick this guy's backside any place we fight.

"I know some people don't think I can win in Vegas, but I'll be showing everyone what I'm all about come Saturday night."



see also
Calzaghe v Hopkins photos
15 Apr 08 |  Boxing


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