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US elite join race for Calzaghe

Calzaghe is in demand after his win over Roy Jones Jr
Calzaghe is in demand after his win over Roy Jones Jr

Jermain Taylor and Glen Johnson have joined the ever-growing list of boxers desperate to keep light-heavyweight king Joe Calzaghe out of retirement.

Veteran and respected contender Johnson issued an open letter saying he would "love to fight" Calzaghe "in Wales".

Taylor and his promoter Lou DiBella made a similar plea after Taylor's win on points over Jeff Lacy on Saturday.

Calzaghe, 36, said he was undecided on retirement after his win over Roy Jones Jr took his undefeated record to 46-0.

606: DEBATE

After over a decade as a champion, the Welshman has finally won worldwide recognition of his talents.

And further big-money bouts are available to him, possibly at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium next year.

But he is also keen to bow out at the top as an undefeated fighter and there have been widespread calls for Calzaghe to quit before his formidable talents start to decline.

Undefeated WBC and IBF light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, 26, issued a challenge to Calzaghe immediately after his stunning points win over Jones in New York earlier this month.

Joe's the man. If we had the opportunity to fight the man, Jermain has never walked away from a challenge

Lou DiBella

Dawson has been pushed by US television giants HBO but he lacks the profile of recent Calzaghe victims Jones and the great Bernard Hopkins.

And the Newbridge southpaw feels that defeating Dawson would add little to his legacy.

Dawson scored a points win over 39-year-old Johnson in April, but the latter holds wins over Jones and Antonio Tarver.

And Johnson has seen three planned fights with Calzaghe fall through because of the Welshman's injury problems.

"I'm happy to see that you're finally getting some overdue credit... I think it's time for you and I to settle some unfinished business," said Johnson's letter to Calzaghe.

Former undisputed middleweight champion Taylor, 30, was regarded as the next big thing in US boxing before two defeats to Kelly Pavlik, the first a crushing knock-out.

"If they want us, we will be happy to go to Wales," said DiBella after Taylor defeated former Calzaghe victim Lacy in Nashville on Saturday.

"Joe's the man. If we had the opportunity to fight the man, Jermain has never walked away from a challenge and there is no bigger challenge than Joe.

"There's not a lot of choices for Joe if he continues campaigning. If he's not going to retire, there are not a lot of choices for him.

"Jermain is athletic enough to give Joe a good go and Joe is a great champion who is not going to fight stooges."

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Taylor added: "It's about business. This was my comeback fight and I love that [idea].

"But I don't know about going to Wales. Maybe he should come back here."

WBA super-middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler, 29, is desperate for a rematch with Calzaghe and is rated by the Welshman as his toughest opponent and the man to clear up around his weight division after he retires.

But Calzaghe claims he does not do rematches and - as well as being highly dangerous - a clash with the Dane is unlikely to be the most financially attractive to the US market.

Bernard Hopkins - who Calzaghe defeated on points in Las Vegas in April to win recognition as the Ring magazine light-heavyweight champion - is the other major name keen on a rematch with Calzaghe.

The 43-year-old's stock rose rapidly after last month's demolition of Pavlik.

'The Executioner's' reputation, his ability to sell a fight, and the personal animosity between him and Calzaghe could make a Millennium Stadium clash a lucrative proposition, although the latter insists that he will not give Hopkins another chance.

see also
Taylor beats Lacy in eliminator
16 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Dawson targeting Calzaghe fight
11 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Calzaghe eyes final Garden test
14 Aug 08 |  Boxing
Wales' greatest US fight nights
25 Mar 08 |  Boxing
Boxing & Madison Square Garden
04 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Wales' pugilist princes
07 Mar 06 |  Boxing
Wales' boxing world champions
25 Mar 08 |  Boxing
Joe Calzaghe's career in photos
12 Nov 08 |  Boxing
The Calzaghe Record
06 Nov 08 |  Boxing
BBC Sport Wales coverage
28 Oct 08 |  Wales


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