Joe Calzaghe smiled when Bernard Hopkins warned yesterday that he should be "willing to die" when they meet in a light-heavyweight world title bout in April.
"He can be the bad guy now but I'm going to be the bad guy come 19 April," Calzaghe said after meeting the American at a news conference. "He's good at mind games. But I've been through the mind games."
Calzaghe, 35 and super-middleweight champion for a decade, is unbeaten in 44 fights with 32 knockouts. Hopkins, 43, has 48 wins, four defeats and a draw, also with 32 knockouts.
The bout, at the 18,000-seat Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, will be Calzaghe's first in the United States. He will also step up to light-heavyweight.
"I'm under no illusions about this fight, it's going to be tough," he said. "He [Hopkins] knows what it's like to lose, he's lost four times. I've never lost."
Hopkins said he was a "modern-day George Foreman" – recalling the fighter who made a comeback to win a world heavyweight title at 45.