The RING magazine lauds Calzaghe, but others say not so fast
IBF/WBO super middleweight king Joe Calzaghe was honored by The RING magazine today in Manchester in recognition of his position as the true world super-middleweight champion. But the undefeated Welsh superstar’s celebration was short-lived when two of boxing more influential figures pleaded with him to hope on a plane and fight in the U.S.
Calzaghe, who is presently the longest reigning champ in boxing, won the crown nine years ago when he defeated Chris Eubank to claim the WBO title, but it wasn’t until he defeated America’s hope Jeff Lacy that the hue and cry about Joe’s upping the ante in the U.S. reached deafening levels.
Joe fights this Saturday at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England, against Cameroon’s Sakio Bika, a bout which few people expect Calzaghe to lose. But as Kery Davis, HBO’s Senior Vice President said, according to The Guardian, “If we can get Joe Calzaghe in a big enough fight and do it in the hallowed grounds of Madison Square Garden I think many British fans will follow him, and that would be quite a spectacle here in New York.”
And Davis is not alone. Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard said that [Calzaghe] has to come over here, without question, for the American fans to gravitate towards him and so they know who Joe Calzaghe is. Not just boxing fans, but non-boxing fans . . . general sports fans. That’s when you transcend the sport, that’s when you become bigger than life, and I think Joe Calzaghe has those potentials.”
“Of course I’d love to fight in America, asserted Calzaghe, but only if it’s right. If it’s right for me and if I get a right opponent.”
But as Nigel Benn, who knows a thing or two about fighting overseas, stated, “Sometimes you say, ‘You know what, I’ll cut my money to fight you. That’s how confident I am.’ These are things you’ve got to do. You’ve got juggle it, go round roundabouts, and make the fight.”