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Interview with Joe Calzaghe

Nat Gottlieb

Peter Manfredo is in a similiar position that you were in 1997 when you first fought for the title against a long-time champion, Chris Eubank. Do you remember what it was like for you in the days leading up to that fight?

Joe Calzaghe

I remember the week leading up to it very well - it was the most nervous week of my life! It was the moment I had been working towards all my life to finally challenge for the world title.

Unfortunately it had to be Chris Eubank in the other corner! Even though it was nerve wrecking I never lost focus on what I had to do and that was to win the title. When I dropped Eubank in the first round I thought it was all over but then he got up and got through the round and after three rounds I was fucked! Grit, heart and determination got me through and I beat him on points. It was the worst experience but also the best of my career.

Nat Gottlieb

Of all your title fights, which one will you remember above all others, and why?

Joe Calzaghe

Three fights stand out. Byron Mitchell for drama; he knocked me down for the first time in my career but I got straight back up and dropped him and stopped him in the next round. It was a real toe-to- toe fight. Next I would say Chris Eubank for winning the world title. And finally Jeff Lacy which was the best performance of my career. Everyone expected him to come over here and kick my arse.

But I gave him a real masterclass lesson in boxing and completely shut him out for 12 rounds. I landed over a thousand punches and took about 5 in return. I will remember that night for the rest of my life.

Nat Gottlieb

From 1992 to 1996, the super middleweight division had four big name fighters in Nigel Benn, James Toney, Michael Nunn and Roy Jones Jr. By the time you won the title in 1997, three had moved up in weight class and Benn was retired. How do you think you would have matched up against them had they been there to fight?

Joe Calzaghe

I think that on my night I could have beaten any of those guys.

I wanted Roy Jones Jr the most. He was unbeaten and recognised as the pound for pound best at the time. I would have completely destroyed him though, I just wish that I could have got to him before Antonio did. I would have liked to bust up James Toney but he's eaten his way into the heavyweight division and there's no way I can catch up with him now also I didn't fancy holding the fight at a burger bar. Nigel Benn would have been a cracking all British showdown but when I became champion a lot of the big 168 pound name in Britain like Benn, Collins, Eubank were towards the end of the their career

Nat Gottlieb

What does Joe Calzaghe do for fun when he isn't in training?

Joe Calzaghe

I've got two great kids who I like to relax with. I go to the cinema with them and just generally hang out with them. I'm a cool dad! I also like to listen to music and I like watching the Italian team Juventus play football on TV.

Nat Gottlieb

What has it been like for you to have your father at your side for this nine-year journey as champion?

Joe Calzaghe

Absolutely tremendous. My dad is fantastic and I couldn't have asked for a better father. He's like my best friend but we do fight like cat and dog in the gym from time-to-time! He taught me how to box as an amateur and we've gone all the way to the world title together and we are still together 42 pro fights later and I'm delighted that we have shared the success together. He's a great trainer and you can see the improvement in Enzo Maccarinelli, Bradley Pryce, Gary Lockett and the guys in the gym because of him.

Nat Gottlieb

What is your favorite all-time movie and why?

Joe Calzaghe

It would probably be The Godfather, I love Italian/American gangster movies.

Nat Gottlieb

If you couldn't have been a boxer, what profession do you think you might have gone into?

Joe Calzaghe

My dad's a musician so I would like to have been in a band or something like that but I'm a crap singer. My other love was football, I wasn't great but I was quite a nifty little player!

Nat Gottlieb

After you retire, would you consider becoming a trainer or a promoter, or are there things outside of boxing you would like to pursue?

Joe Calzaghe

Boxing's in my blood so it's hard to imagine not being involved in it when I've retired. I would probably like to work in the gym with my dad or become a TV pundit.

Nat Gottlieb

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so apparently is a fighter's legacy left to the eye of the media. If you could write your own legacy, how would you describe it?

Joe Calzaghe

I can't write it yet because it's not finished. There are still a few chapters left and the best is yet to come. I still have plenty of ambitions to achieve and have a burning ambition to be the best.

My career has been fantastic up to now and I just want it to continue.

Joe Calzaghe vs Peter Manfredo

HBO WCB - Apr. 7, 2007

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