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Calzaghe ready to cement legacy

ROY JONES JR v JOE CALZAGHE
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York Date: Saturday 8 November
Coverage: Live on Setanta Sports 1 from 2300 GMT. Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live (start time to be confirmed), and BBC Radio Wales from 0100 GMT (Sunday AM), live text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones - tale of the tape

By Peter Shuttleworth

Saturday's battle with Roy Jones Jr is much more than just a fight for Joe Calzaghe; his whole legacy hangs on the result of his final fling in the ring.

For Calzaghe it is not just about beating Jones at the world's most iconic boxing venue - it's about defining how history will remember him.

Should Calzaghe beat Jones, he will secure the ultimate boxing immortality of retiring unbeaten - an achievement that proved beyond some of the greatest names in the sport's history.

And it is added pressure and motivation for the man known as "Joe Cool".

Joe Calzaghe
I know what is at stake when I face Jones and all of this retirement talk is dangerous because I still have a job to do.

Joe Calzaghe
"I have to be as hungry for this as my first world title fight because I know so much depends on it," Calzaghe told BBC Sport.

"It's about creating history, I want to be one of the very few fighters in boxing to come out undefeated."

His father, trainer and mentor Enzo Calzaghe added: "This fight means so much to Joe because he wants to retire undefeated."

Calzaghe is desperate to emulate his hero Rocky Marciano, the heavyweight champion of the world between 1952 and 1956, arguably boxing's greatest unbeaten icon.

"I know this will be my last fight but I can't think about that," added Calzaghe.

"Boxing is not a sport where you can wind down, if I'm not at my best I'll get punished.

"I know what is at stake when I face Jones and all of this retirement talk is dangerous because I still have a job to do."

Floyd Mayweather Jr is another fighter to have retired undefeated but legends like Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard all suffered blots on their copy book.

"A lot of top-rate world champions have not managed to bow out undefeated," said Calzaghe.

"Marciano and Floyd Mayweather are the undisputed champions who have achieved that.

606: DEBATE
matchboxmaster
"To do something Marciano did would be mind-blowing for a regular guy from the south Wales valleys."

Calzaghe enjoyed a record-breaking reign of the super-middleweight division for 11 years after defeating the great Chris Eubank for the vacant WBO crown in 1997.

That success in Sheffield and his unification victories against Jeff Lacy and Mikkel Kessler were superb displays; the destruction of Lacy was a boxing lesson.

By his own admission, Calzaghe has endured some bad days at his office but the sign of a great sportsman is, whatever his performance, he keeps on winning.

Rocky Marciano
To do something Marciano did would be mind-blowing for a regular guy from the South Wales valleys

Joe Calzaghe
The 36-year-old stepped up to the light-heavyweight division to fight Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas in April where his points victory won Calzaghe the prestigious Ring Magazine title.

He has since vacated all of his super-middleweight belts but a 46th successive professional victory for Calzaghe would be a fitting finale to the end of a incredible sporting career.

"I feel after Jones, my motivation would be gone," he said, before the first and only defence of his Ring Magazine title.

"I know in myself it is time to retire. I've had enough

"I have achieved what I wanted to achieve and I'd like to think I'm smart enough to get out ahead of the game.

"There are more important things in life than fighting and as I get older it becomes more of a job rather than my life.

"Finishing unbeaten, though, would be the icing on the cake.

"If I win in style then great but I'd rather fight a stinker and win, than a superb glorious defeat."

see also
Jones braced for prime Calzaghe
03 Nov 08 |  Boxing


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