Calzaghe relishing final fight

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The Independent Online

Joe Calzaghe admits the prospect of fighting Roy Jones Jr at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night has restored his hunger for the fight game.

Undefeated Calzaghe, 36, will fight for the 46th time and what he claims is the last time in his professional career, putting his Ring Magazine light heavyweight championship on the line against Jones, a four-weight, eight-time title-holder who in 2003 became the first former middleweight champion in more than 100 years to win a heavyweight title.

It is those credentials and the legendary New York venue that has got the former super middleweight champion excited again following a split-decision win over Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas last April that Calzaghe admitted had failed to get his boxing juices flowing.

"The key to winning will be just to go in and be myself. It won't be easy but I've just got to go in there with my work rate, my strength, my heart and pure speed," Calzaghe said.

"It takes two to tango and unfortunately in the Hopkins fight he just wanted to hold and he tried to steal the fight. Roy, he likes to entertain, I like to entertain and it's going to be an exciting fight.

"I'm definitely more up for this fight. I've been a lot more focused for this and a lot more psyched up for it and I'm excited. That's the big thing, I was not excited about my last fight.

"I underestimated Hopkins a little bit which I nearly paid for. So to fight Roy Jones at Madison Square Garden outside my comfort zone is a big deal.

"You know you have to perform to win and you have to go out and control it to win the fight and win it decisively and that's what we aim to do."

Despite the experience, Calzaghe said he felt his form had since been franked by Hopkins' victory last month over the previously undefeated undisputed middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.

"After the way Hopkins boxed against Pavlik he showed everybody that Bernard Hopkins isn't just some old, washed up man," Calzaghe said.

"He's come back and been sensational in his win against Pavlik, which I think puts into context how good my win was against Hopkins.

"So I'm quite happy with that result, although I'm not best friends with Mister Hopkins."

Calzaghe insisted once more that Saturday's fight with Jones would be his last fight.

"There are loads of ifs and buts. At the moment I feel like I don't want to fight on," he added.

"When I was 26, I said I was going to retire at 30. Now I'm 36. I don't want to fight until I can't fight any more. I don't want to go to the well and find out there is nothing there.

"I respect fighters like Lennox Lewis when they just say, 'that's it' and walk away.

"I'd like to finish on top. I'm still in great physical shape but I've got to motivate myself and how does it get any bigger after this?"