Boxing: Calzaghe aims to have the last word as super-middleweight

Joe Calzaghe is in the boxing history books as the longest serving British world champion and after six years as the World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight holder he knows that it is time for a change.

Calzaghe, 31, defends his belt for the 14th time tomorrow night in Cardiff at the Wales National Ice Rink against Armenia's Mger Mkrtchian in what could be his last fight at the weight and the last title fight in his native country for a year.

If Calzaghe can add the Scrabble-friendly Mkrtchian to his long and at times illustrious list of beaten challengers, there are various options available to him that would inevitably require him to walk away from the WBO's 12-stone bauble for his first fight at light-heavyweight.

During the last five years Calzaghe has been a frustrated witness as negotiations for fights have collapsed as all parties gathered closer to the all-important financial stage of the deal. Roy Jones, Sven Ottke and Bernard Hopkins have been close to agreeing terms to meet the Welshman but once the chequebook appeared all three priced themselves out of the market.

However, Calzaghe has still beaten a succession of quality boxers in Chris Eubank, Robin Reid, Omar Sheika, Richie Woodhall, Byron Mitchell and Charles Brewer in fights that have slowly convinced the Welsh public that he is, as Eubank insisted in October 1997, the "real thing".

After tomorrow's fight Calzaghe is expected to announce that he will fight the Jamaican-born Glencoffe Johnson for the International Boxing Federation light-heavyweight title. Johnson is perfect for Calzaghe and that means that his handlers will probably ask for three or four times what the fight is worth and if that happens Calzaghe's ambitions will have struck another brick wall.

First, Calzaghe has to get up for Mkrtchian, who like other less-known challengers, will enter the ring as a massive underdog. But the Moscow-based fighter is younger at 27 and has lost just once in 19 fights. He deserves his chance because he travelled to Miami last year and stopped the previous WBO No 1 contender, Freeman Barr.

During the last few years Calzaghe has sounded like an apologist for his own international shortcomings and the general lack of respect that he has received for his ring achievements. It is possible that had he agreed to take less money for one or two of the fights that collapsed, he would be in a different position today, but boxers never take less money and why should they? Talk of respect and legacy is easy, it is cheap and from this side of the ropes it is safe.

Calzaghe is the richest fighter in Welsh boxing history and in the top 10 British earners and that, as any boxer will tell you, is all that matters.

Mkrtchian will not have enough and Calzaghe will take his total wins to 37 in 37 fights and his pay, since turning professional 10 years ago, to over £5m.

Voices
voices
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
newsHad asteroid hit earlier or later in history, the creatures might have survived, say scientists
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried