Joe Calzaghe's never been a huge trash-talker, really. He's made some cracks here and there, but rarely does he really let loose.
Mikkel Kessler, his opponent on November 3 in Cardiff, has gotten under his skin.
Kessler hasn't said a lot in the lead-up to the fight, but he recently vowed to knock Calzaghe out, and said that he doesn't think Calzaghe will stand toe-to-toe with him.
Geez, Joe, whaddaya really think?
And, actually, I'm with Calzaghe on this one. I've never noted him as someone prone to shying away from an exchange in the ring. He's tough, and he'll mix it up.
I think sometimes there's a tendency to doubt a fighter's toughness because of how good he often looks against inferior opposition -- and by that I don't mean a selection of purposely inferior opponents, just a guy that more or less manhandles the majority of his opposition. People questioned Jones' chin, and yeah, Tarver knocked him out, but it was a beautiful left hand that Jones never saw coming.
It also reminds me of Lennox Lewis' quote, which was something like, "People always said the Vitali Klitschko fight was my best, and I'd say, 'Why, because I got hit a lot?' And it turns out that that really was the reason."
Calzaghe won't stand still in front of Kessler, but he won't back down from him. Mikkel Kessler is a good fighter, and no one is saying he's not. But this is uncharted water for him. Calzaghe has been here before. Mikkel has not. I have to wonder if Kessler will be able to adapt to Calzaghe's style should it trouble him early on, as I expect it very well may. I also have to wonder if he will have the all-around tools to handle Calzaghe's pressure -- I do not wonder if Calzaghe can handle Kessler's, because I know he can.
I'm getting really excited for this fight, maybe more than I am Cotto-Mosley, and definitely more than I am Mayweather-Hatton. It should be a real treat. My only hope is that it will end in time for me to catch Marquez-Juarez live on Showtime, which I think it should.
In other news pertaining to the Cardiff card, WBO cruiserweight champion Ezra Maccarinelli is now searching for a new opponent on short notice, after the British Boxing Board of Control blocked Ezra Sellers from fighting Macca on the undercard. How very, very odd, really, as the Board cited Sellers' inactivity and "substantial defeats" as a reason for putting a stop to the fight. The WBO apparently agreed, which leaves one to wonder why the hell they sanctioned the fight in the first place.
The BBC article does mention Darnell "Ding-a-Ling Man" Wilson as a possible sub, which would make me very happy outside of the fact that I wouldn't get to see it until after the show. I love Wilson, but I don't get crazy about him -- I figure whenever he DOES get a title shot, he's going to lose rather convincingly. He's a cruiserweight David Tua, all haymakers and guts. But, whatever, that's FUN.
It's a relatively slow weekend, but after that, it all kicks off heavy again: Calzaghe-Kessler, Marquez-Juarez and Guerrero-Honorio on the third, and Cotto-Mosley, Margarito and Casamayor on the 10th.