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Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Sports Personality 10: Joe Calzaghe

Joe Calzaghe

Sports Personality of the Year
Venue: Liverpool Echo Arena Date: Sunday, 14 December Time: 1900 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport website.


Joe Calzaghe has gone on from strength to strength a year after picking up the 2007 BBC Sports Personality award.

The Welshman first defeated American boxing legend Bernard Hopkins on a split decision in April having moved up to light-heavyweight.

The 36-year-old then stayed in the division to beat Roy Jones Jr by a unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden in November.

His record is now 46-0 and remains undecided on his future in boxing.

Jonathan Davies
By Jonathan Davies
Former Wales rugby union & GB rugby league player

Jonathan Davies has closely followed the career of fellow Welshman Calzaghe.

Here, the 46-year-old former rugby league and union player, and now BBC analyst on both codes, explains why he thinks the boxer deserves to win his second BBC Sports Personality of the Year title.

Joe is one of those guys many underestimated for a large part of his boxing career.

He's now getting the recognition he deserves. He was voted the 2007 Sports Personality after a great year and has since gone on to defeat two American boxing legends in their own backyards.

To overcome Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas and then Roy Jones Jr at the world famous Madison Square Garden was simply remarkable.

The American boxing fraternity are now ranking Joe alongside former world heavyweight champion and British boxer Lennox Lewis, and deservedly so because Joe is a great sportsman.

606: DEBATE

What makes a great sportsman? Inner belief, talent and, perhaps most importantly, a hard-work ethic. You can have all the skills in the world but if you're not willing to graft then that talent will be wasted.

Joe is also a magnificent tactician with very good hand speed - he has the lot. He's 100% prepared for every fight and although the rewards have come late in his career, at least he's benefiting now.

For me personally, I'm delighted to see a Welshman, who's proud of his heritage, get to the top of his sport.

Wales have sporting legends such as footballers John Charles, Ryan Giggs and Ian Rush and golfer Ian Woosnam, to name just a few.

We've also had some fantastic boxers such as Howard Winstone, Tommy Farr and Johnny Owen - Joe is up there with them all, he's a Welsh icon.

What I also like about Joe is that he hasn't abandoned his roots and still trains in a gym close to where he lives. It's not the most hi-tech place in the world, but he knuckles down and just gets on with it.

Joe's reaping the rewards as a result of being the grounded man he is. In such a tough sport, he's done it all. He's done it his own way with Team Calzaghe and his father.

If Joe hasn't got anything to say then his father Enzo does. They're an entertaining pair and you can see how close they are. For some individuals it would be difficult to work so closely with their nearest and dearest, but not in this case.

I know Joe is currently undecided whether he wants to continue or not in his profession. As a sportsperson, when you come to the end of your career, it's a defining moment and an important one.

In Joe's case he may feel that he can carry on, there's also the lure of the dollar and the cache of another big fight. Of course, he runs the risk of losing his unbeaten tag. I hope Joe makes the right decision - only he knows if he can carry on.

Back to this year, I think he fully deserves a second Sports Personality title. I'm not surprised he proved most popular last December because, having met him on numerous occasions, he's a nice guy like he has always been and that's why people like him.

You could see the shock on his face, standing next to fellow boxer Ricky Hatton, when he was named the 2007 trophy winner - it highlighted his true modesty. He's just an ordinary guy with an amazing talent.


Jonathan Davies was talking to BBC Sport's Saj Chowdhury

Stories from Calzaghe's year:



SPORTS PERSONALITY:
Sun 14 Dec, 1900 GMT,
BBC One & BBC Radio 5 Live.

see also
Sports Personality 10: Rebecca Adlington
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Ben Ainslie
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Joe Calzaghe
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Nicole Cooke
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Lewis Hamilton
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Chris Hoy
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Andy Murray
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Christine Ohuruogu
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Rebecca Romero
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Bradley Wiggins
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality


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