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Page last updated at 22:08 GMT, Saturday, 19 April 2008 23:08 UK
Joe Calzaghe v Bernard Hopkins
Las Vegas - 20 April, 2008


To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Alex Trickett

0455: Thanks all for your lively debate. I'm glad to be proven wrong. Well done Joe. And what price Calzaghe v Hopkins part two in Wales? Goodnight all.

0420: Hopkins is not happy with the decision at all and insists that he took "Calzaghe to school". I'm not all that surprised by his reaction.

"Hopkins sat on his first round knockdown like a proud rooster and paid the price, with over-defensive, grainy tactics. From then on Joe Calzaghe's aggression impressed the judges."
samjazzyy1234 via 606

"Wow! Didn't think he had that. Well done joe. Your country will be proud and us english too."
Adrian, Coventry via text on 81111

0413: Calzaghe celebrates with stablemate Enzo Maccarinelli and then admits that he had to work very hard for that one. "It was a hard-earned victory and I had to dig deep. Obviously I got caught early and had to be wary of his right hand."

0411: Calzaghe is celebrating as if he knows he has the decision. Does he? 114-113 Hopkins, 115-112 Calzaghe and 116-111 for Calzaghe! I was wrong and I'm glad. Joe has done it by split decision. That was a triumph for work rate but boy was that a close one.

0410: Tough, tough rounds to call and this fight could go either way. The British media seem upbeat but I bet the Americans are as well. We shall see...

Round 12: The undefeated record is on the line and Calzaghe comes forward like he knows it. But Hopkins ties him up time and again. A frustrating final round for the Welshman and a frustrating fight really. Some experts disagree with me but I think Hopkins has this. Like I said before, I hope I'm wrong.

Round 11: Calzaghe needs to finish very well and Hopkins is not making it easy. The American knows when to tie up and when to punch his way out of a corner - he has even more ring savvy than Calzaghe and it has shown tonight. Explosive end to the round but I think Calzaghe needs a knockout. I hope I'm wrong but I don't think he can win this on points.

Round 10: Enzo Calzaghe is talking about knockouts and his son may yet need one. There is certainly more spring in the younger man's step - he catches Hopkins low and then taunts him which is unpopular among certain sections of the crowd. Sly Stallone at ringside is not impressed. Hopkins takes a couple of minutes to recover and we are off again. No point deduction for Calzaghe by the way.

Calzaghe pours forward on the restart but Hopkins looks more lively after his break. I still have Hopkins ahead.

Round nine: Good left hand from southpaw Calzaghe. Hopkins may have slowed a bit and is blowing quite hard. Age catching up with him? Just maybe. Calzaghe bullies him back to the ropes and Hopkins holds - not for the first time I should add. That should be a Calzaghe round.

Round eight: Hopkins is loving this - his stategy is spot on. Calzaghe just can't stick any big shots on his slippery rival and Hopkins is bound to be impressing the judges with his precise counters. Calzaghe taunts Hopkins at the bell, but he does not have much to joke about right now.

Round seven: A quietish round and that's no good for Calzaghe, who needs to force the pace. He does at the death and is staggered again after landing a few of his own.

Round six: Moment of minor controversy as Hopkins leads with his head and is not pulled up by Cortez. He is a wily old stager is Hopkins. Calzaghe's work rate is good but Hopkins is negating most of his work. If that trend continues, I fear for Calzaghe, who ends the round with his knees on the canvas. That was a stumble though folks. I think Hopkins is two or three rounds ahead at the halfway stage and Enzo Calzaghe gives his son a rollicking.

Round five: A good right followed by a straight left represent the best moment of the fight from Calzaghe. But Hopkins has a lock-tight defence. He's not a middleweight legend for nothing. A little bit of after there as the bell sounds.

Round four: Referee Joe Cortez has to step in as the fight becomes a bit messy. A messy fight is probably to Hopkins' advantage and he is probably the instigator. Fast hands from Calzaghe may have won him that round but Hopkins continues to give as good as he gets.

Round three: Hopkins is playing a waiting game and his counter attacks are precise. Calzaghe, meanwhile, is struggling to find a clean shot as his fans try to galvanise him with Wales chants. Calzaghe is marginally the busier but I'm not sure he is doing enough to win these early rounds. At the bell, father Enzo tells son Joe he is being too cautious.

Round two: Hopkins has always done the dirty things well and he has no problem with locking heads here. He waits for Calzaghe to pour forward lands a decent blow again. Closer round that one, but the American will be the happier at this stage. Make no mistake about that.

Round one: We're off. Calzaghe v Hopkins. Wales v USA. Unbeaten v rarely beaten. Champion v champion. A terrible start for Calzaghe - he walks onto a straight right hand from Hopkins and hits the canvas for only the third time in his career. He is up quickly but that is a huge warning shot and just like that, Calzaghe has a cut on the bridge of his nose. 10-8 round for Hopkins. Massive momentum for Hopkins.

0315: Your referee is Joe "firm but fair" Cortez (he did the Hatton fight) and we are officially "ready to ruuuuuumble"!

0313: In comes Hopkins, hood drawn low over his face. He is playing the role of his boxing moniker - "The Executioner" - to perfection.

0312: Calzaghe milks the applause as he makes his way to the ring - he looks cool, he looks calm, he looks focused.

0305: The Buff is in the house and he announces Tom Jones, who sings the Welsh anthem with thousands of his countrymen on backing vocals. Ray J (who he?) takes the mic for the American anthem. All credit to the Welsh fans - they observed the US anthem. As it should be. Now to the boxing.

"Joe Calzaghe, history awaits, the eyes of the world are on you! Bring him down Joe!"
DaiMoggs81 via 606

"Hopkins in 5. Too experienced too classy and too savvy for Joe. Never fought in this class. Another Mayweather night I'm afraid."
Spanner via text on 81111

0301: Roy Jones Jr, Marco Antonio Barrera, David Haye, Amir Khan, Michael J Fox (?!)... good boxers all and they are all here for Calzaghe v Hopkins, which is just moments away.

0257: A late flurry of support for Calzaghe (see messages below) as Sly Stallone, Arnie, Sugar Ray Leonard and Whitney Houston make their way to their seats. It must be late. A colleague (who shall remain nameless) just mistook the back of Ray Leonard's head for Barack Obama!

"Close fight to call to be honest but I think if Calzaghe can stay with Hopkins up until the seventh round I think Calzaghe will win on split decision"
gerrard-is-class via 606

"Joe looks good, he's probably in the best shape of his life, he looks comfortable at this weight"
DaiMoggs81 via 606

"Joe is to clever for Hopkins. I'm going for Calzaghe win in the fifth"
misterp68 via 606

0250: Catherine Zeta Jones is in the house, bringing a Welsh flavour to celebrity corner. None other than Tom Jones will be singing the anthem. I'm sure he has some Welsh connection as well. He even has dragon cuff links.

"Celebs are starting to stream in, Catherine Zeta Jones draped in Welsh flag, followed by Tom Jones and Simon Cowell, who draws plenty of boos from the crowd. I'm sitting next to the most beautiful woman in the world. I think she must be famous but I don't know who she is."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Las Vegas

"The fight was like a microcosm of Audley Harrison's pro career. Cheered into ring by the British contingent and then booed after first round. Very little sign of improvement and you have to think that a quality fighter would have got Barnett out of there a lot earlier."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Las Vegas

Ben adds that there is little suggestion that the main event is just minutes away. But I'll keep you posted on that...

"I was so confident that Joe Calzaghe will win tonight I added a clause in my Pre nuptial agreement that if Bernard Hopkins wins, I'd hand over 45% of my property and future earnings to my wife at the time of our inevitable divorce!"
NickStone22 via 606

That's just plain bizarre.

0240: OK - to the serious business. It's time for Calzaghe v Hopkins. I'll stick with my unlikely prediction of a draw, Jez is going for Calzaghe on points, as is Ben Dirs in Las Vegas - who says he would not be surprised if it's very close or even a split decision.

"Brit boxers are all heroic losers. Joe will spill his guts in the ring but Hopkins to win inside the distance"
WhiteRoseExile via 606

Come now. Where's the fighting spirit?

0225: Harrison is caught in round five but follows up with a booming body punch to send his rival to the canvas. Barnett is up on the count of nine before the referee waves off the fight. A limp end to a limp fight. The win is Audley's, but his detractors will not be convinced that this marks a turning point in his disappointing professional career.

"I was wide awake before this Audley fight, now I'm struggling - this is a terrible, poor showing"
robbie951 via 606

"I still believe Audley G Force Harrison will dominate the heavyweight division in years to come."
Anon via text on 81111

Funny that the latter text is anonymous. To be fair though, Harrison is not having much trouble with Barnett. Then again, I'm not sure that Ricky Hatton would either and he is a light-welterweight.

0214: First two rounds two Harrison, but it's almost like the "Little and Large" show in there. Harrison is playing the role of Eddie Large by the way.

"Would love to see Nikolay Valuev vs Jason Barnett."
Scottrf via 606

Come on now, play fair Scott! (For those that don't know Valuev is seven-foot tall.)

0206: Audley is up against Jason Barnett from Florida. The guy is a journeyman with 10 wins and six losses. If he picks up his 11th win tonight it is surely the end of Audley Harrison's career.

0200: Ooops. It has just been pointed out that I didn't add my byline to this live commentary. Very remiss of me. Let's start again. Good evening fight fans. My name is Alex Trickett and I'll be talking you through Calzaghe v Hopkins. First though, it's Audley Harrison...

"Is it just me that finds buffer annoying and smug?"
Anon via text on 81111

Yes - it's just you. The man is a genius. How many other people get paid bundles for doing so little?

"IT IS A FORCE TIME. The Greatest of all time. Audley beat Williams who beat Tyson who beat Holmes who beat ALI!!!"
Del Boy via 606

I like your style Del Boy - Audley's got to be in anyone's top five all-time. Let's see what he's got in store for us tonight.

"Calzaghe to execute the Executioner & put the old man into retirement for good...St Bernard is all bark & no bite"
Abs M via text on 81111

"David Haye is being mobbed by British fans at the Thomas & Mack Center, everyone wanting their picture taken with the future heavyweight champ of the world."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Las Vegas

Incidentally, Haye is going for a close decision for Hopkins. Sorry Calzaghe fans, but I guess this is more evidence that many of the boxing cognoscenti think this will be a tight one for our Joe.

0140: A quick reminder of the stats ahead of the big fight. Calzaghe, as most of you know, is 36 and unbeaten in 44 pro fights. Hopkins is 43 and has lost four times, with 48 wins and a no contest. It's worth remembering that the American has the scalps of Oscar de la Hoya, Felix Trinidad, William Joppy, Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright and Howard Eastman to his name. He also hung in with fighter of the 1990s Roy Jones Jr. That's no mean record. In fact it's a pretty sensational one.

Joe Calzaghe (left) and Bernard Hopkins

"I have been sparring and grappling with my dad all day, in the clinches I have tucked my chin tight on his shoulder as he always tries to elbow me wildly. I chewed his ear in homage to tyson at one point."
Farrside via 606

Blimey - you Calzaghe fans are hands on aren't you? I'm feeling a bit sub-standard here. I may go and fling a few right hands at Jez, who is working the night shift with me at Television Centre.

"Calzaghe's stable-mate Cleverly looked impressive on his Vegas debut. Looks like a very Skillful fighter but he hasn't got much of a punch so plenty of long nights ahead for him in the future. David Haye is in the building and there has been some talk about him fighting Audley Harrison if Audley wins his comeback fight."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Las Vegas

That Harrison fight is coming up at 0200.

"I'm so excited about this fight, I've been shadowboxing with my cousin for the last 2 hours. I just hope i don't break stuff with the emotion running through. p.s Michael Buffer has the best voice ever. I wish I could have him follow me around for a day introducing me."
Shaygood via 606

Shaygood - go easy on the furniture fella and who's winning the shadowboxing? As for ring announcer Michael Buffer, what an excellent idea. He could precede me into the office and introduce me each morning. My colleagues wouldn't be irritated in the slightest.

"I can't see Calzaghe taking this lightly, he's been after this fight for ages. Would be great to see him do to Hopkins what he did to Lacy"
RoverinFrance via 606

Absolutely right and he does look in great shape. But then again Hopkins looks razor sharp as well. 43? He could probably pass for 23.

"My wife Smity is expecting anytime soon! Calzaghe or baby?"
Farooq, Oldham, via text on 81111

That's got to be a "no brainer" as an American might say. This is fight night after all.

0107: Easy points win for Cleverly - 80-72, 80-72, a complete shutout. That's got to be great experience for the 21-year-old even if he is disappointed not to have stopped Baker.

0102: Last round for Cleverly and he is way ahead. Baker has a lump the size of a golf ball over his left eye for his trouble. Meanwhile, here is some love for B-Hop...

"Age is not a factor, look at the UFC Heavyweight legend Randy Couture, 44-years-old and still the best ever. BHop is an extremely clever fighter, look to him to take control mid-rounds and win by split decision"
scibase via 606

"As much as I want him to win, Calzaghe is out of his depth. Hopkins to win in 9, easy stuff. Far too good for the dragon."
Paul, Reading, via text on 81111

0055: Lots of support for Calzaghe as expected, but who is going for Hopkins? Get in touch to explain why the American legend will prevail at the age of 43.

"I'm with the Welsh crowd in Vegas watching the undercard fight. I hope the Italian Stallion can pull a rocky 7!"
Rahulio via text on 81111

0050: Comfortable for Cleverly. He looks relaxed and composed. And so does his trainer Enzo Calzaghe. It will be a long night for Joe's father. But he is loving every minute of it. You can see as much in his eyes.

"Joe to win on points. I have my manliness AND my house keys on it. Help.."
The Rosk via text on 81111

Sounds worrying. Very worrying...

"I see this ending either of two ways, Hopkins knocking Calzaghe out or Calzaghe winning a gritty points decision"
leejames1 via 606

0040: Cleverly is unbeaten in 11 pro fights and he has the upper hand in this one. He also catches Baker below the belt - enough to make the eyes water that and the American takes his time to compose as allowed by the referee.

"I'm at the Thomas & Mack Center - I got a cab over with the radio chaps and Duke pointed out that the cab ride was always the hardest part of the fight for him because a fighter is in limbo."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Las Vegas

0030: It's 1630 in Las Vegas and young Cardiff fighter Nathan Cleverly has just started his bout with Antonio Baker on the undercard. He gets a nice reception from the Welsh fans, but most of them are still outside the venue, having a drink or a gamble or both.

"Joe calzaghe the Italian dragon is going to dominate this American OAP. The executioner he may be, but St George he ain't, and there will be no dragons slayed tonight. Calzaghe by points, boom."
Anon via text on 81111

Well quite...

"I'm more and more confident about Calzaghe winning the closer the fight gets, this morning i said he'd do it on points, Then about 3 i was saying inside 8, now i think in 4, if my optimism continues there could well be a forfit on our hands."
Gunnerlot via 606

Now I think you may be over-reaching there. I reckon Hopkins might step into the ring after all this build-up!

0010: Apologies guys and gals. Just had an emergency computer change. Back in the saddle now. There is quite a lot of chat about a draw in Vegas tonight and I confess that I have had a very modest flutter on that result. The thinking is that if Calzaghe appears to win a close contest on points, he may lose the odd point or two to the home fighter, which would make a split decision or even a draw likely. Personally, I think it is almost certain to come down to points one way or another.

"I fancy Calzaghe to win but the more i think about the fight the less i like it!"
Alsilvo via 606

"Just wondering what time fraudley harrison is on? I know hes english but i love seeing him get knocked out!"
Neil, Rugby via text on 81111

Not especially charitable Neil. But I'm led to believe that our Audley is on at about 1800 Vegas time - 0200 in Rugby. Calzaghe v Hopkins is set to start at 0300 UK time. Just over three hours to go...

2330: As ever, we'd love to hear from you so get involved via 606 or via text on 81111.

"This will be a wonderful send off to the boxing legend, Bernard Hopkins."
Simon, Oxford via text on 81111

2310: Good evening fight fans and welcome to another massive British boxing night. We've had it good lately. Hatton v Mayweather, Haye v Macca, Woods v Tarver and now Calzaghe v Hopkins. But will Calzaghe have it good in Las Vegas? All of Wales thinks so, most of the rest of Britain agrees and a large chunk of the crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center will be wearing Wales red.

But I'm not so sure. I think we may be in for a close one tonight. Hold on to your seats or beds. This could be a rollercoaster ride.

see also
Calzaghe v Hopkins photos
19 Apr 08 |  Boxing

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