Like any great champion, Joe Calzaghe has his opinions. One of his is that Mikkel Kessler is better than Kelly Pavlik.
Joe Calzaghe has dismissed the suggestion that he should be fighting Kelly Pavlik next - and not Roy Jones Jr.
”Pavlik? It's like deja-vu. I was asked the same about Mikkel Kessler - who I think is a better fighter than Kelly Pavlik, by the way - and I've beaten him," Joe said in an exclusive interview with Setanta Sports News.
"Now all of a sudden there's a guy who's had one or two decent wins and they call me out. It's always going to be the case - how long can you go on for?
"The choice between Pavlik and Roy Jones was easy to make. Remember that Pavlik was my first choice after Jeff Lacey [sic] and he declined the fight. Now he's calling me out!
"I still don’t think Kelly Pavlik has really proven himself.”
Some fans -- mostly Americans, I'd guess -- are a bit up in arms over Joe's latest quotable.
Now, I've been critical of Mikkel Kessler in recent months. The way he turtled out of the fight with Edison Miranda was disgraceful, and his team should still feel shame and embarrassment about that. I also find it disappointing that Mikkel appears to be more than content to stay over in Europe and fight regional-type guys like Dimitri Sartison and now Danilo Haussler.
I find it disappointing, though, because Kessler is a fantastic fighter that has all the tools to be a star worldwide. And when Calzaghe says Kessler is better than Pavlik, he's not slamming Pavlik. He's complimenting Kessler, a man he's been in the ring with.
Frankly, I think it's a perfectly fair argument. Kessler has dominated in his career except for a single fight against Joe Calzaghe, where he fought as well as anyone ever has matched up against Joe. Kessler is a superb fighter, and actually one of my "would love to see it" fights is Pavlik-Kessler at 168 pounds.
As an aside, as much as I love Kelly Pavlik and the idea of him reigning over the middleweight division for a while, it's just not going to happen. There are so few marketable fights for him at 160 pounds that he's going to leave officially sooner rather than later. He fought Taylor at 164, defended against Calzaghe's chump stablemate Gary Lockett, and now he's going to 170 to fight Bernard Hopkins. A Pavlik-Abraham fight is going to be harder to make than most people want it to be. And after Abraham, what else is there? Winky Wright barely counts anymore.
Anyway, I can't get all silly hating on Joe for saying Kessler is better than Pavlik. He really might be. It's not an outlandish claim.