Hopkins was probably my defining win: Joe Calzaghe big interview, part three

9:37pm Thursday 5th June 2014

JOE Calzaghe is set for one of the biggest honours of his career this weekend as he’s inducted into boxing’s hall of fame as a first ballot entrant.

Ahead of his trip across the Atlantic, Joe sat down for an interview with Argus boxing writer Michael Pearlman.

This is part three of a four part special with the Calzaghes ahead of their huge honour. See Saturday’s Argus Sport for the concluding part.

Today Joe re-evaluates the ‘best’ win of his career and argues that he was indeed, a two-weight world champion as well as bemoaning the fact he missed the era of social media.

Joe on... being a two weight world champion (but not officially)

“The thing you have to remember, is being world champion today doesn’t necessarily mean you are the best in the world.

“There are four titles, many people hold titles, but when I beat Jeff Lacy, I was world champion, I was the guy in the super middleweight division and then again when I beat Mikkel Kessler.

“I know technically you can debate if I was a two-weight world champion but in my mind I definitely was, because Hopkins was the Ring Magazine champion and I beat the guy who beat the guy if you like, Hopkins beat Tarver and then I beat Hopkins.

“Being the best at two weight divisions, that was the ultimate for me.

“I know officially I am not a two-weight world champion, but the Ring Magazine title means you are the best.

“It annoys my dad, that it’s not an official accolade, but boxing people know the score, everyone knows the technicality doesn’t matter, the reality is world champions are number one in their weight division and that’s what I was. The Ring Magazine accolade is the linear one.

“I was the best super middleweight in the world and I was the best light heavy. I confirmed that by beating Hopkins who was the best in the world, and probably still is.”

Joe on... the legacy of the Hopkins fight

“The Hopkins win is one that I view differently over time, that’s a fair statement.

“Was it the best or the most exciting fight I’ve been involved with? Absolutely not, never in a million years.

“It wasn’t a fight I would want to look back on and watch, I enjoy watching the Lacy fight and the Kessler fight, because I battered them, (chuckles).

“But in terms of legacy, the Hopkins win stands out now.

“He was feigning injury, doing everything to spoil and that’s a compliment to me because he couldn’t deal with the pace of the fight and in hindsight, it’s the biggest win of my career isn’t it?

“He’s beloved in America now and when we fought he was booed out of the building, but he’s just enhanced his legacy with every fight since.

“It seems ridiculous now that people at the time were calling him an old man. He’s an even older man now and he’s utterly dominant.

“I always like seeing ex-opponents do well, it enhances your legacy.

“I couldn’t help laughing when I saw Sakio Bika and Mikkel Kessler calling out Froch on Saturday. Bika is a world champion now, of course. When I beat him though, people couldn’t dismiss him enough and called him a bum. Now seven years later he’s a champion.

“I’ve probably beaten eight or nine world champions, looking back, but it’s hard to define your own career, even now I struggle to do it.

“I had a Q and A recently with Sky Sports, almost like a quiz about my career and I only got seven answers correct out of 13! It’s my own career!

“I’ve definitely been retired too long now I can’t even remember my own career.”

Joe on... Missing out on the era of social media

“It almost sounds facetious, but I’m dead serious, I wish Twitter had been around when I was boxing!

“Seriously, so many fights get made on social media.

“Darren Barker, my good friend, got a world title shot off the back of Twitter; I think Enzo Maccarinelli did as well.

“I still get guys calling me out on Twitter and every time I just wish it had been around when I was chasing supposedly big names and couldn’t get the defining fights I wanted.

“Mikkel Kessler wants another rematch, Antonio Tarver called me out on Twitter, Andre Ward and it makes you think what might have been.

“Let’s be honest, there were 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium on Saturday because of how well the two fighters hyped everything up!

“They used social media, the regular media, they hyped it and they hyped it and the British public were very receptive to the idea of a grudge match.

“The actual fight was disappointing, it was a boring, average fight, never explosive and that was that, but you give credit to the boxers for using the media so well.”

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