JOE Calzaghe has told Bernard Hopkins to “get in line” if he wants to fight the Welshman – and not to expect any showdown automatically to be in the US.
‘The Executioner’ called out Newbridge’s long-reigning WBO super-middleweight champion after outpointing Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright in Las Vegas at the weekend, suggesting New York’s famous Yankee Stadium in the spring.
While the venue would have a certain historic attraction – it is where Tommy Farr made his brave challenge to Joe Louis in 1937 – Calzaghe scoffed at the idea.
“Why go to America and fight in front of a half-empty arena?” said Joe. “Hopkins and Wright are supposed to be two of the top pound-for-pounders, yet the fight didn’t sell out the Mandalay Bay.
“It drew something like 9,000 people and the majority of them will have been given away by the casinos. My fight with Mikkel Kessler is on course to sell 60,000 and my last one, against Peter Manfredo Jr, sold 35,000.”
And the Welshman was less than impressed with last week’s action.
“At least my fight with Kessler will be a real fight, unlike the dancing and holding that pair did on Saturday night,” he said.
“Hopkins is just a name that would look good on my record if we fought now.”
Not that Joe is rushing to accept the offer.
“Hopkins can just get in the line and wait for me because of all the messing around he’s caused me,” he said, referring to the occasion when B-Hop agreed to face him in Britain, only to double his financial requirements 24 hours later.
Calzaghe insisted he was focussed on his November 3 unification clash with unbeaten Dane Kessler at the Millennium Stadium on . But afterwards, wellmaybe ...
“Once that’s done I’ll look at ol’ Popkins,” he promised. “But judging by his performance against Wright there isn’t much competition there anyway.”