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Jones inspired by Obama victory

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 and BBC Radio Wales from 0100 GMT (Sunday AM), live text commentary on BBC Sport website.

By Ben Dirs - BBC Sport in New York

Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jr
Jones is unbeaten at Madison Square Garden

Roy Jones Jr says he will draw strength from Barack Obama's presidential win when he fights Joe Calzaghe for the Ring Magazine light-heavyweight crown.

Jones, 39, faces Calzaghe in New York's Madison Square Garden on Saturday in the "Battle of the Superpowers".

"That made me feel so good to be an American again and I'm so proud to be an American," said Jones, referring to Obama's historic election win.

"This country's about change and I'm about change."

Antonio Tarver dethroned Jones - a four-weight world champion - as the undisputed light-heavyweight king with a second-round knock-out in Las Vegas in April 2004.

Jones then lost to Glen Johnson before losing his re-match with Tarver.

But the veteran fighter has won his last three fights, including a unanimous points victory over Puerto Rican great Felix Trinidad at Madison Square Garden in January.

Jones, who has 52 wins from 56 fights, is unbeaten in his four fights at New York's iconic sporting amphitheatre and insists that on Saturday night he will prove he is "still the man".

I'm hungry, I realise I am so close to achieving something special, retiring undefeated, and I'm not going to let it go

Joe Calzaghe
He said: "It's 20 years since I represented this country [Jones won a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics]. I poured my heart out then and on Saturday night I will pour my heart out again.

"Joe Calzaghe, to me, is the best pound-for-pound fighter out there right now but this country is about change and I will be doing my best to change things on Saturday."

Calzaghe, who is making his first visit to the Garden in his final fight, says the opportunity for Jones to redeem his legacy will make the American a dangerous opponent this weekend.

Wales' Calzaghe, 36, and Floridian Jones met for their final pre-fight news conference on Wednesday.

"This is redemption for him," said Calzaghe. "Beating me would smooth over those three defeats to Tarver and Johnson.

"He is a dangerous customer. Judging by his last couple of fights, he has still got his speed and is in great shape, the best he has been in for years. And he is relishing his underdog status."

There was a big media turnout for Calzaghe and Jones' head-to-head at BB King's Blues Club & Grill with both men affording each other respect as has been the case throughout the build up.

It was left to Calzaghe's father and trainer Enzo to provide some needle, telling Jones his man was in New York to give him a beating.

Calzaghe, however, refused to be drawn in, saying: "I don't need bad mouthing to get into the zone.

"I'm fighting Roy Jones, one of the greatest fighters there has been, at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of boxing, where fighters like Rocky Marciano and Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fought. I feel humbled.

606: DEBATE
fizzjambo
"Three or four years ago, I was struggling, fighting in small halls against guys whose names I could not spell. So to be fighting these sorts of fights - Mikkel Kessler in front of 50,000 people in Cardiff, Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas and now this. It seems so surreal.

"But I am taking everything in my stride. People are saying how can you handle all those cameras following you around, but as I have always said, give me the opportunity and I will adapt. I let everything go over my head, I am completely relaxed.

"I'm hungry. I realise I am so close to achieving something special, retiring undefeated, and I'm not going to let it go.

"All the fans who are coming over, they are in for a treat, it's going to be one hell of a fight. I am going to take Jones out."

Calzaghe, who is unbeaten in 45 fights, had previously said that he thought Jones was past it following three successive losses to Tarver and Johnson.

But the Newbridge southpaw said he had changed his opinion after seeing Jones win his last three fights, including an unanimous decision over Trinidad.

Joe's legacy assured - Enzo Clazaghe

"I'm in great shape," said Calzaghe, knowing six of his last eight fights have gone the full 12 rounds.

"I'm really happy, my hands have been great, I'm really quick and I just can't wait to get to Madison Square Garden and give another fight to remember."

see also
Obama wins historic US election
05 Nov 08 |  US Elections 2008
Joe Calzaghe's career in photos
06 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Calzaghe ready to cement legacy
05 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Brits at the Garden
03 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Doubts over Calzaghe retirement
29 Oct 08 |  Boxing
Calzaghe given Jones Jr warning
29 Oct 08 |  Boxing
Calzaghe eyes final Garden test
14 Aug 08 |  Boxing


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