By Clive Bernath: Promoter Frank Warren has put together a short list of opponents he would like WBO super-middleweight king Joe Calzaghe to face if he beats Peter Manfredo Jr on Saturday (April 7) night. The list is in fact so short it only includes two fighters-American Jermain Taylor and Danish superstar Mikkel Kessler.
The undefeated Welshman must first take care of business against Manfredo Jr at the Millennium Stadium in Wales but Warren is looking ahead and sees both Kessler and Taylor as ideal high profile opponents for Calzaghe in July.
Talking to PA Sport Warren said: "Joe is looking for the big fights and if he does what I believe he is capable of doing against Manfredo, it could set him up for a fight against Kessler or Jermain Taylor in July.
"I hate counting chickens because we have all seen major upsets happen in boxing before. But Kessler is definitely one of those fighters I would love to see Joe get into the ring with."
With HBO broadcasting Kessler’s f impressive debut win against Librado Andrade only two two weeks ago and the fact they will televise Calzaghe vs Manfredo Jr live free to air, surely indicate they would be receptive to bankrolling a clash between the two best super-middleweights in the world even if they are both from Europe. With the aforementioned in mind and the fact that Kessler’s manager Bettina Palle has confirmed to SecondsOut that Kessler is willing to fight Calzaghe anywhere ’as long as the money is right’ means this fight can happen.
First though Calzaghe but take care of business against reality tv star Manfredo. The general feeling is that the 35 year-old Welsh southpaw will have little trouble defending his WBO crown for the 20th time. With all due respect to Manfredo he is just not big enough and strong enough to cope with a peak Joe Calzaghe and one cannot argue that Manfredo only gets his chance to face Calzaghe purely because he is known worldwide for his appearances on ’The Contender’ series rather than his legitimacy as a genuine world class contender.
HBO televise Calzaghe vs Manfredo Jr live on April 7 at 5pm ET/2pm PT and replay the same day at 10pm/ET/PT.
The opening bout is a 10-round lightweight clash between Amir Khan (11-0-(8) and fellow Briton Steffy Bull,24-4-1-(5). Khan won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and has been on the fast track since turning pro.
“A year ago, we introduced a new twist: presenting fights from Europe live in the afternoon and replaying them again later in prime time. We’re delighted to offer the same viewing option again for fight fans,” says Kery Davis, senior vice president, programming, HBO Sports.
April 5, 2007