[Boxing] Calzaghe Becomes Free Agent

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Welshman Joe Calzaghe has split from long-term promoter Frank Warren.

Super-middleweight and light-heavyweight king Calzaghe has been promoted by Warren since 1996.

But with Calzaghe eyeing up a career swansong, possibly against Roy Jones Jr later this year, he has ended his 12-year association with Warren.

"I am now a free agent with no contract and intend to be self-managed from now on," the 36-year-old Calzaghe said in the South Wales Argus.

Warren's Sports Network company was contacted by BBC Sport but a spokesman declined to make any comment about the split.

The Newbridge-based Calzaghe is currently big box office in the United States following his points win over Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas in April.

And with the southpaw vowing to box one last time, he has decided to split from Warren and promote the fight himself.

"My intention is to fight Roy Jones Jr, a four-weight world champion fighter," said Calzaghe.

"That would be a special event for me against a legend of the sport.

"There are issues to be resolved with my former promoter Frank Warren and I hope they can be done so amicably."

Under Warren's management, Calzaghe became the undisputed super-middlweight champion of the world and added the light-heavyweight crown with his defeat of Hopkins.

He fought 26 times under Warren's Sports Network banner, including career-defining bouts against Chris Eubank, Byron Mitchell, Jeff Lacy, Mikkel Kessler and Hopkins.

In April, Warren said he would offer Calzaghe the chance to become a partner at Sports Network, an offer the Welshman has passed up on.

"Joe can become a partner at Sports Network. I am very serious about what I am saying," Warren told The Sun.

"Joe has been a great signing for me, personally, and for boxing. His experience could prove invaluable but Joe will decide how he wants to play it."

Meanwhile, Calzaghe, who was recently awarded a CBE for his services to sport, has been accused of running scared of big-hitting American Kelly Pavlik.

Calzaghe has ruled out a big-money showdown with fellow unbeaten star Pavlik, the WBO and WBC middleweight champion.

But Pavlik's trainer Jack Loew said: "How many more excuses is this guy going to make? If Joe Calzaghe fought Kelly, he'd be in trouble.

"There's no way he'd beat Kelly, he's just a slap-happy Welshman."

Pavlik has told 10-year champion Calzaghe he wants to "get it on" but the undisputed super-middleweight wants to fight ageing great Jones Jnr.

Although Calzaghe insists he would beat Pavlik, the powerhouse from Ohio would be a risk to the Newbridge fighter's unbeaten record at this late stage in his career.

The legendary Jones is a four-weight world champion but is considered by many pundits as yesterday's news, with rising star Pavlik the promising new kid on the block.

Calzaghe's stablemate Gary Lockett, trained by Calzaghe's father Enzo, was demolished by Pavlik inside three rounds earlier this month, and Loew admitted: "Jones Jnr is a smarter fight for Calzaghe.

"This is what happened: his dad went back and said 'don't fight this killer, he is gonna knock you out'.

"I'm ticked off as he's telling us that we don't want to fight him. But yes, we do want to fight Joe Calzaghe. He doesn't want to fight Kelly Pavlik."


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he's just a slap-happy Welshman

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That made my day!

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