News October 2007

26.10.07 Joe Calzaghe

Joe Calzaghe is relishing a return to the role of challenger as he completes preparations for tomorrow week's massive world super-middleweight title unification fight at the Millennium Stadium.

Calzaghe

Calzaghe said: "I'm always excited to defend my WBO title but it's great to go into a fight where I know I can get something else out of it - in this case Kessler's WBC and WBA belts. I'm going in as challenger as well as champion.

"But I'm never overconfident. Over-confidence is a weakness because it stops you training as hard as you should. It has happened to fighters like Naseem Hamed and Lennox Lewis (right).

"Even when I fight a late substitute like Tocker Pudwill I prepare in the same way. It is one of my strengths. I never think I'll skip on that run or that round of sparring.


"Complacency beats fighters. Even if I think I could beat that guy with one hand I train the same. Obviously mentally you get up for some fights more, but physically you take nothing for granted in this game."" Only once in his 20-fight, 10-year reign as WBO 12-stone champion has the unbeaten Welshman gone into a fight with the extra hunger required to take something away from an opponent. That was in March 2006, when Calzaghe wrested the IBF title from Jeff Lacy in a contest which defined his career as one of the greatest fighters the British Isles has ever produced.

Now Calzaghe has a similar incentive as he bids to wreck Mikkel Kessler's own 39-fight unbeaten record and take home the Dane's two belts in the process.

Calzaghe is certainly not taking Kessler lightly. This is a showdown he has long craved, and a dynamic performance in front of a crowd projected to be over 50,000 will provide his crowning moment.

Kessler has emerged as the other pre-eminent super-middleweight of his generation but the Welshman, having done his homework, insisted: "I can see myself doing a job on this guy. The best Joe Calzaghe beats anybody in the world.

"I can adapt my style in any way required. Kessler is one-dimensional. He's a very good European-style fighter and his style suits me fine."

Calzaghe also gave short shrift to Kessler's claims that he is a weak puncher. "I love the fact he says that. I love that false sense of security he's got. I'm going to smash that out of him. He's had it all cushy so far in his career and I'm going to take him to a place he's never been."

JOE CALZAGHE


AGE: 35

Reach: 73 inches

Height: 6ft

Titles: WBO & The Ring Champion Belt

Fights: 43 - Wins: 43 KOs: 32

KO PERCENTAGE: 74.4%

WORLD RANKING: 1

MIKKEL KESSLER


AGE: 28

Reach: 73 inches

Height: 6ft 1in

Titles: WBA & WBC Super-middleweight champ

FIGHTS:

39 - Wins: 39 KO: 29

KO PERCENTAGE: 74.3%

WORLD RANKING: 2

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