Boxing: Calzaghe to put Hopkins into 'permanent retirement'

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The Independent Online

Joe Calzaghe has promised to end Bernard Hopkins' career when the pair meet in their light-heavyweight showdown here on Saturday night. The 43-year-old Hopkins has already hinted his fight against Calzaghe may be his last and the Welshman is adamant he will leave no room for doubt on his American debut.

Calzaghe said: "I am going to put him into permanent retirement. After this fight his career is going to be over and I'm going to be the first to stop him. I'm faster, fitter and stronger. I hit harder and I have a better chin. He says he's a legend but he's seriously over-hyped. He hasn't been in any exciting fights."

Calzaghe and Hopkins made separate appearances at the Planet Hollywood resort earlier this week for their "grand arrivals" to kick off the week of big-fight hype.

The Welshman is bulging with confidence and roundly ridiculed the claims of Hopkins, who predictably stole the show by ripping off his shirt to reveal his chiselled torso. "Hopkins won't be able to touch me. He will have to resort to headbutting, spoiling and low blows just to survive," Calzaghe said. "He's succeeded in the past only because his opponents were smaller. His best two wins were against Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad, who are welterweights. He will do everything he can to knock me off my game plan and try to destroy my rhythm but it won't work. He is no better than many other guys I've fought."

Hopkins has made plans to quit before but has been lured away first by the prospect of facing coming force Jermain Taylor, then moving up to 175lb to dethrone Antonio Tarver.

But he believes that after Calzaghe there will be no more big enough names available to tempt him to lace on the gloves again. Hopkins said: "I'm looking for a fight where I have something to fight for. Whether I want to retire or not, I think I'll be forced to retire because I've run out of opponents."

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