As speculation continues to mount surrounding the selection of "Super" Joe Calzaghe's next opponent, the Welsh Wizard goes into his scheduled July 8 outing at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium still riding high from the utter domination of Jeff Lacy less than two months ago. "Against Lacy, I think that I fought the best I ever have and also I think that maybe he took the fight for granted," said Calzaghe. "I had Lacy on my mind morning, noon and night for a few months. I had never been so psyched up and so focused on any fight. It was a dangerous contest and I knew I had to perform. I set myself a standard in the last fight and now people will be expecting that kind of performance from me all of the time."
It's still not clear who WBO/IBF Super Middleweight Champion Calzaghe, 41-0 (31), will face on the 8th of July but the sharply skilled southpaw comments on recent reports that American fighter Peter Manfredo, who received widespread notoriety on both side of the Atlantic for appearing on NBC's "The Contender" TV program, is being considered. "Peter Manfredo is just one of the fighters that we've taken a look at on the list of who was available to fight," said Joe. "For obvious reasons, we'd prefer to fight an American. If you asked me about Manfredo six months ago, I probably would have laughed, but at the end of the day he's stepped up and had a good win over Pemberton and got himself ranked, so he's a possibility."
One fighter that Calzaghe is not particularly interested in facing is Roy Jones, Jr., despite the fact that the former pound for pound king of the sport was at the top of the Welshman's hitlist for years. "Jones has been knocked out in two of his last three fights, so of course I'm not looking to fight him the way I used to," said Calzaghe. "I don't think that fight is going to happen because my promoter Frank Warren was speaking to Jones' people the other day and I think Jones has just basically priced himself out, asking for too much money. He's been knocked out a couple of times now and if I knock him out then people will say 'big deal, he's an old man'. Or, if all of a sudden Roy Jones has a good fight then I'm gonna get slagged off for that. I'd rather fight a good fighter in his prime rather than a good fighter that's on the slide."
Calzaghe is fully aware that the bout on July 8 is the most dangerous of his career given the enormous potential opportunities that will go down the drain should he lose. "I'm looking forward to getting an opponent that I can focus on and getting back into training and fighting in the ring," he said. "Obviously, more people are going to take notice of me next time I fight, so I want to give a real performance again and make a good impression. Against Lacy, I showed what I could do as a boxer.
"For 12 entire rounds, every single minute of every single round, I put on a masterclass. So, whatever I do in the future now, I want to go onto bigger and better things but I do feel a big, massive relief as far as my boxing career goes. I finally silenced the doubters and people who said that I had never fought anybody. Although I'd been a champion for eight years, I was never really given recognition because people said I was a protected European fighter who avoided all the top Americans. Right now I'm basically getting 100% recognition all around and that's great."
To learn more about Joe Calzaghe's next fight at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday, July 8, log onto www.joecalzaghe.com