Boxing


Calzaghe vs Hopkins - Joe: "It's Just Me And My Pa!"

While Ol' Bernie Hopkins prepares with his 'Dream Team' of trainers for his super-fight against Joe Calzaghe at the Planet Hollywood Ring on April 19 in Las Vegas, for Calzaghe it will be the same formula that has worked for his entire career: just father and son. Hopkins yesterday revealed his 'Execution Squad' that includes Freddie Roach, Nazim Richardson, John David Jackson and Mackie Shilstone for the Ring Magazine light-heavyweight Championship showdown who he believes will help him inflict the first defeat on the unbeaten Welshman's record..

By contrast none of the following specialist are required in the Calzaghe camp: conditioning, southpaw, nutritional, cardiac or confidence. Just one fiery Sardinian taskmaster, Enzo Calzaghe, the Ring Trainer of the Year, and Joe wouldn't have it any other way.

" That's a relief. I thought Ol' Popkins was going to reveal that he had brought in NASA, the US Army and the ER team to help him out!" laughed Calzaghe.

" Does it worry me? Of course not. It's the old cliché, it will be just be me and him in the ring on the night and the fact that he has all these people working with him tells you something: he's worried about me,"

" Jeff Lacy had the highly respected Dan Birmingham in his corner but look what happened to him,"

" Poppy's employed all these people to try and figure out how to beat me but if he can't figure it out himself then he's got a problem. There are no big secrets with me, my fights are all out there on DVD and he can get hold of them,"

" These are all just mind games from him. He tried to get to me during the media tour but I wasn't bothered by him. I'm a strong character and my own man, I'm not going to fall for his bull,"

" Remember, this is the hard guy from Philadelphia who threw a fit because a warehouse was too cold to film a TV commercial in and then sulked off because the producer told him to wear socks!"

He added, "It's just been me and my dad since I started boxing when I was 8-years-old. I don't need anybody else and have never wanted to bring in anybody else. It's worked for over 25 years including my amateur and 44 pro fights and in that time I have unified world titles, held the WBO world title into a record eleventh year and made 21 title defences so I'm not going to change now,"

" All I need for a training camp is my dad, a mountain to run up, clean fresh air, a boxing ring and plenty of sparring parters. That's it plain and simple. No other experts required,"

" Ultimately it is down to me what happens in the ring on the night and if I haven't trained properly I will be found out. But I can tell you know now that I have never been more confident preparing for a fight in my career,"

" My dad has been putting me through sheer hell in training, absolutely kicking my arse. I know what is in front of me against Hopkins and all I need is my skill, stamina, heart and unbeatable will to win to beat him,"

" When's his 10 game plans haven't worked and he's forced into going toe-to-toe in the trenches with me, how is Freddie going to show him he has to use his heart to win? He can't. That's fighting instinct and I'm going to take him somewhere he has never been before,"

" I'm telling Hopkins now, don't worry about my dad pulling me out because that situation won't come up. Just make sure you know which one of your 'Dream Team' will have the compassion to throw in the towel when you are getting seriously bust up,"

Calzaghe finished by saying: "Come fight night it's just you and me in the ring Bernie, the rest of your team will be safely tucked away in the corner and then we will see how you cope."

Article posted on 20.03.2008



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