Boxing: Calzaghe agrees Hopkins fight date over a hamburger
Thursday 24 January 2008
The fight was made six weeks ago but it was made official yesterday at a hamburger restaurant in London when Frank Warren confirmed that Joe Calzaghe will meet Bernard Hopkins for The Ring magazine's light-heavyweight belt in Las Vegas on 19 April.
The fight will take place at the Thomas and Mack Centre on the outskirts of the city but the build-up will take place at the Planet Hollywood Hotel, which is sandwiched between the Paris casino and the Harley Davidson Cafe. Last December Calzaghe stayed at the hotel during his bleary-eyed 60-hour visit to watch his friend Ricky Hatton fail to beat Floyd Mayweather in their welterweight fight.
"I know that all great fighters want to fight in Las Vegas in a big fight, in a test," said Calzaghe. "This is what I have wanted and it's what I've been waiting for. This fight is perfect."
Warren made it clear that 5,000 tickets for the 18,000-seat venue would be made available in Britain for travelling fans, which is 2,000 more than fans could legally purchase to watch Hatton last December. The fight will be broadcast on Setanta as part of their monthly subscription package and not as a one-off pay-per-view event.
"This is just the latest big fight to happen to British boxing in what has been an amazing 12 months," said Warren who will co-promote the fight with Golden Boy, which is run by Oscar De La Hoya. In 2004 Hopkins knocked out De La Hoya and since then they have been promotional partners.
Last December at an impromptu meeting the two fighters exchanged pleasantries and good-natured insults until Hopkins declared that he "would never lose to a white boy". Hopkins was, however, smiling as he uttered the words but from that point until yesterday's announcement the fight was inevitable.
Hopkins turned 43 last week and is widely considered one of the best fighters of his generation and Calzaghe will be 36 when the first bell sounds. There are several options for the winner and a quick return to Las Vegas is clearly one of them.
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