Calzaghe's big fight is now to conquer America

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The Independent Online

Before the fight everybody involved knew that Joe Calzaghe would have an easy night – and he did. On Saturday, in the hour before Mike Tyson entered the ring, Calzaghe, a genuine world champion, easily beat Will McIntyre.

Calzaghe retained his World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight title for the ninth time when he dropped McIntyre, from Louisiana, in round four of a fight that was horribly one-sided and should have been stopped by the referee in round three. Still, the reason Calzaghe was on the undercard was to gain American exposure, not a test between the ropes.

McIntyre entered the ring with a record that suggested durability and nothing else and that is exactly what he confirmed. He fought on when other boxers would have been excused for pulling out and even at the end of the third, when the veteran referee Rudy Battle had the perfect opportunity to stop the fight, McIntyre just kept trying.

'"I told the referee to stop it. I don't want to see any fighter injured and I could see McIntyre was finished,'' said Calzaghe. "I didn't want to continue hitting him back but that is my job. I know he should not have come out for round four but what else could I do?''

Calzaghe won the title over four years ago when he beat Chris Eubank in a fight that was meant to propel him towards the American market, but somehow the likeable fighter from Newbridge in South Wales has been pushed to the sidelines by injuries and some bad luck. During the last 12 months many of the better-known fighters he could have met and would have beaten have simply priced themselves outside Calzaghe's pay bracket in what has become an alarming trend in modern boxing.

Calzaghe's promoter, Frank Warren, insists that the boxer will make his American debut next year, but there is a possibility that even his next fight in January could actually be back in his native Wales and not at one of the better-known American venues.

Warren is keen to attract the right opponent so that Calzaghe's marketing in America starts off correctly. The ideal opponent at this stage is David Reid, from Philadelphia, who in 1996 won a gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics and has since won and lost a world title at light-middleweight.

Reid is easily beatable but still a considerable name in American boxing and Warren will be keen to wait for an chance like a fight with Reid instead of rushing Calzaghe forward.

As usual Calzaghe entertained the press and was asked the same questions he has been forced to answer for the last three years about the prospect of a fight with the undisputed world light-heavyweight champion, Roy Jones, who in reality has absolutely no interest in the Welsh boxer. Calzaghe, possibly for the 50th time, agreed that he would like to fight Jones but admitted it was unlikely.

Calzaghe left the Parken Stadium in a limousine and one hour later McIntyre boarded local bus number No 84 for the four-kilometre trip to Copenhagen city centre. The bus was packed with disappointed Brian Nielsen fans, but they mostly had a kind word for McIntyre, who stood throughout the whole journey with a bloodstained wad of cotton wool hanging from his left nostril. He will definitely fight in America next time.

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