Joe Calzaghe will put his WBO crown on the line this Saturday night for the sixteenth straight time when he heads to Braunschweig, Germany for a second go round with that organization's lanky number one contender Mario Veit. At thirty years of age, the man from Wales looks at this mandatory defense as a step in the wrong direction and is promising to deliver the full force of his anger upon his German host.
After brutally rubbing out the then unbeaten Mario Veit within one torrid round almost four years ago to the day, Joe Calzaghe, 38-0 (30), never expected to have to retrace his steps and once again face the German, let alone in the challenger's home country. But the sport of boxing is full of ironies and the man from Newbridge, Wales isn't at all in good humor about the turn of events that will place him in the Volkswagen Halle this weekend, surrounded by 8,000 screaming Mario Veit fans. "I'm going back over trodden ground that I covered four years ago," sighed a bitter Calzaghe. "It's because of this situation that my previous scheduled fight with Brian Magee was called off last month.
I trained really hard for that fight but it was all for nothing and I will make Veit pay for that." Mario Veit, 45-1 (23), suffered his only career loss when he met the WBO champion four years ago but has seemingly rebounded to become a much more focused fighter. The six foot four super middleweight has since strung together victories over the likes of Charles Brewer, Kabary Salem and Lolenga Mock. "I've tried not to think about the first Veit bout because since then he's an improved fighter who's won fifteen in a row," said the resolute Welshman. "His confidence is going to be high, especially after stopping Charles Brewer. I do think Brewer was way past his best and looked to be a shot fighter, which is always hard to see, but Veit did put a good performance in beating Brewer because he did what he had to do."
Should Joe Calzaghe manage to beat back the challenge of both MarioVeit and Germany's notorious tradition of hometown scoring, he does have something considerable to look forward to. A much anticipated jump up to the light heavyweight division or a unification fight with IBF titlist Jeff Lacy are reportedly both in the cards. Lacy in particular has been calling out Calzaghe after recent wins and is likely fighting one of the WBO champ's domestic rivals, Robin Reid, largely to try and force the issue. "It's good that Lacy is interested in fighting me because that's what I need, a unification fight or a light heavyweight fight," enthused Calzaghe. "It's always been ambition to be a two world champion so I better get crackin on that given the stage my career is at. "But at the end of the day it's no good to just jack my super middleweight title in and move up without a title shot because financially it wouldn't work out for me.
The only exception to that would be to move up and fight Glen Johnson, who is known as the best at light heavy right now. He and Antonio Tarver are head and shoulders above the other fighters at light heavy but first and foremost, Glen Johnson would be the best fight for me after I get rid of Veit again."
Boxingtalk.com would like to thank Joe and Enzo Calzaghe, Frank Warren and Richard Maynard for making this article possible.
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