Welsh boxing star asks B-Hop for one last dance

In what is the first but by no means the last challenge to light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins by fighters eager to prove their mettle, Welsh boxing superstar Joe Calzaghe has issued an impassioned plea to the possibly recently retired B-Hop to lace up the gloves for one last dance.

“It’d be the punch-up every boxing lover in the world would want to see, Calzaghe told icWales. “People would be queuing around the block to get their hands on tickets as it has all the ingredients to be an absolute classic. Hopkins is tremendously fit, a great counterpuncher with a good chin, but I’m powerful with fast hands and the style to expose him.

Whether or not Calzaghe has the style to expose Hopkins is something words can’t say, and even though we’re all eager for competitive world-class matchups, what exactly is in it for Bernard?

“It would be one of the most anticipated fights for ages, stated Calzaghe. It wouldn’t just be Calzaghe vs. Hopkins (or Hopkins vs. Calzaghe) but Britain versus the Yanks them against us. Hopkins and I are the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and it’d be a travesty that my newfound status with American TV couldn’t get me the fight of my life.

Problems pervade fight game at almost every level and Joe ought to be able to parlay his newfound status with American fans without resorting to playing the travesty card.

“He (Hopkins) defended his middleweight title a phenomenal 20 times while I’ve defended my super-middleweight belt 18 times. There would be no shortage of money available for a super-fight like that from American TV. They’ll want to lap it up. It’s not all about money, though. It’s the respect of beating a legend like Hopkins. But I won’t deny the cash would come in handy.

When does cash, flash or otherwise, not come in handy? But Hopkins, while maybe not rolling in dough, certainly isn’t hard up, so what’s the lure to draw Ex back into the ring for 12 more rounds of active duty?

“Hopkins owes me a favor, Calzaghe insisted, as he got to Tarver before I did, so he should have the decency to give me my big fight. I was devastated that Hopkins bashed Tarver up so badly and won, as I was planning Tarver as my big payday. That was my big pension fund. So Hopkins has cost me big-time. He exposed the myth of Antonio Tarver; I wanted to do that and earn a few quid in the bargain. Now Tarver is worth diddly-squat.

Tarver may indeed be worth diddly-squat these days on the open market, whether he’s a shot fighter or not, but the 34-year-old Calzaghe, with his history of hand problems, cancelled fights, etc., first has to get by TBA for his 19th WBO title defense in September. One can’t blame Calzaghe for beating the drum loudly for a mega-bout with Hopkins, but, Joe, first things first.