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[Boxing] Hopkins turns up heat on Calzaghe


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American great Bernard Hopkins says he will beat Joe Calzaghe "easily" and give him a "free facelift" if a proposed fight goes ahead in 2008.

And Hopkins, 42, reiterated that he would only meet super-middleweight king Calzaghe, 35, in the United States.

"Calzaghe is cute, but he ain't going to be cute after this facelift," Hopkins told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"If he steps out of his backyard, he will be handed his first defeat. I will beat Joe Calzaghe easily."

Former middleweight king Hopkins, now campaigning at light-heavy, added: "If you don't want your countryman to get his ass whupped, then don't let him come over here.

"I love to fight southpaws. I've had 11 wins and no defeats with eight knockouts against southpaws. He's going to run into a bad doctor.

"When I fight Joe Calzaghe, I'm fighting a champion. When Joe Calzaghe fights Bernard Hopkins, he's fighting a legend.

"If Calzaghe and Frank Warren are serious, they can cross the Red Sea and come over to the United States, because we're the best in everything we do.

"Joe Calzaghe never fought outside the UK [he has, twice], he never fought in America. I've fought in Paris, I fought in Quito, Ecuador.

"Let's see how he fights when he hasn't got 40-50,000 of his own fans behind him. To me, a great champion can go anywhere in the world, out of his comfort zone and still deliver.

"I'm not convinced [by Calzaghe], America is not convinced. Let him leave his home town and try to invade the United States and beat Bernard Hopkins, a great champion, a legend."

The Philadelphian, with a career record of 48 wins, four losses and a draw from 54 fights, added that he felt under no pressure to make the fight happen, despite the intense public and media clamour.

"I've never ducked anyone. Bernard Hopkins has beaten people that nobody else wanted to fight - Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver. I knocked out Felix Trinidad easily, Oscar de la Hoya with a body shot, I had world title 20 defences.

"If it happens it happens, if it don't it don't. He mentioned my name after the fight, I didn't mention his.

"I was sat at home in my rocking chair, sipping a cup of tea, with my teeth in a glass, minding my own business.

"I'd get more attention and more out of it if I waited to fight the winner of Roy Jones-Felix Trinidad [due to take place on 19 January]."

Hopkins, who turns 43 in January, added that he was not interested in fighting London's David Haye, who claimed the WBA and WBC cruiserweight titles from Jean-Marc Mormeck in Paris on Saturday.

"The cruiserweight division is nothing but a stopover for the heavyweight division," he said.

"If David Haye moves up and wins a heavyweight title, that would be a fight that would get me really aroused, but I'm not getting aroused about fighting for a cruiserweight championship."

Haye has already stated that he intends to relinquish his 200lb belts and step up in pursuit of a world heavyweight title.

I feel Joe could take Hopkins but its a step up from where he is now so who knows we laughed when he took on Tarver and Hopkins won.

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