Joe Calzaghe's final fight in New York in November 2008 was a family affair
By Peter Shuttleworth
Joe Calzaghe will always be boxing's Prince of Wales but the fighting hero insists he will never be the comeback king - because of his sobbing son.
The undefeated former two-weight world champion left boxing exactly two years ago on Monday.
But since his 46th successive professional victory over the legendary Roy Jones Jr in New York, Calzaghe has been inundated with invitations to return to the ring and hear the chi-ching of a big-bucks pay day.
Old-timer Bernard Hopkins and new light-heavyweight number one Jean Pascal, who clash in Canada in December, want to tempt the 38-year-old out of his dancing slippers.
Joe Calzaghe was unbeaten in a 15-year 46-fight professional career
But unlike a lot of pugilistic peers that have gone before, Calzaghe does not miss fighting, the paydays or the adulation that comes with such a unique and celebrated unblemished record.
"A comeback is not going to happen," father-of-two Calzaghe wants to place on record.
"I feel contented and blessed to come out of 15 years as a professional boxer unbeaten, not smashed up and I have all my faculties in place.
"I've made a promise to my mum, I made a promise to my kids and I made a promise to myself.
"My mum, who was always too afraid to watch me fight, would be annoyed if I went back in the ring but I'm more concerned about my youngest son Connor.
"He came into my dressing room before the Roy Jones fight crying his heart out because he saw me get knocked down against Bernard Hopkins a couple of months earlier.
"He had also spent the Jones build-up watching footage of Jones' glory years, when he was at his peak, on You Tube.
"Connor was sobbing 'dad, he is amazing' and I tried to reassure him 'don't worry son, Jones isn't that good anymore.'
"So while I was supposed to be psyching myself up for a huge fight on the pads and getting into my 'zone,' I had to give my little boy a hug to stop him crying.
"Then in the first round, Jones knocked me down which didn't help - Connor couldn't watch it. I can't put him through that again.
"Anyway I lost the love for boxing before Roy Jones, I didn't want to do it anymore. The hunger that drove me to the top had gone.
Archive: Why I'm hanging up the gloves - Joe Calzaghe
"I always made sure I was in amazing shape but that started to ebb away in the build-up for Roy Jones as I started to cut corners so I had to get out before I got beaten and lost the honour and mystique of being unbeaten.
"And I was put down in my final two fights and that is a sign - I'm not invincible and wanted to be one a few fighters that quit at the top and unbeaten.
"Normally fighters have to come out of retirement because they need the money but I invested well, have other business interests so I'm financially secure and don't miss boxing."
Calzaghe struggled to adapt to post-boxing life and was forced to apologise for taking cocaine as there was a void of "discipline and lack of focus" that boxing training had given him for the previous 28 years.
But he has now moved to London to take up acting lessons.
He gained universal notoriety after appearing on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing show - and while his quickstep was not as successful as his uppercut, Calzaghe ultimately gained personal happiness with dance partner Kristina Rihanoff.
Joe Calzaghe and girlfriend Kristina Rihanoff met on Strictly Come Dancing
Calzaghe now lives in swanky Notting Hill and his only training these days is a twice-weekly run around Hyde Park and has only been "on the pads" in the gym twice in 12 months.
"It took time for me to adapt to life after boxing but I feel settled now...I have a few TV projects in the pipeline and am reading two or three film scripts.
"I'm 39 in March and I have to find other things than boxing as I will be a long-time retired.
"My legacy cannot be improved, just endangered and the likelihood of getting beaten increases the older I get.
"After becoming a world champion, all I wanted to do is retire unbeaten and on my own terms. And I finished my career the way I dreamed.
"I became undisputed super-middleweight champion by beating the young pretender Mikkel Kessler in front of 50,000 of my home fans in Cardiff.
"Then I beat two legends in their own back yard in America - and fighting in two iconic locations.
"Beating Hopkins in Las Vegas and Jones in Madison Square Gardens is what us actors would call a Hollywood ending!"
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