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Carl Froch: ‘I still want Joe Calzaghe’

Joe Calzaghe
Carl Froch gets a little carried away on his podcast while Joe Calzaghe dismisses all talk of coming out of retirement, writes George Gigney

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LAST week it was promoters Bob Arum and Dana White, this time it’s Carl Froch and Joe Calzaghe exchanging barbs over the airwaves while the rest of us can only imagine what it would look like if they actually fought.

Speaking on his Froch on Fighting podcast, Carl revealed that he’d been approached by his former promoter Eddie Hearn about taking part in a “virtual press conference”, potentially with Calzaghe.

I’m assuming these virtual press conferences would be another form of content to keep fans happy while actual boxing remains at a standstill, and in all honesty I can see the appeal. Froch-Calzaghe, Hatton-Witter, Benn-Eubank (seniors). OK, there wouldn’t be any actual fights to discuss, but imagine the verbal warfare. I live for that kind of drama.

However, Froch would like to take things a step further with his fellow retiree Calzaghe: “I said to him [Hearn], ‘Forget the virtual one, we’ll do the press conference, but if we can get him out of retirement, I fancy a bit of that.’

“I’ve always said I’ll come out of retirement for the right dance partner. Obviously I’m not gonna jump in there with a current world champion who’s been active, but someone like Joe Calzaghe, I mean, I’m not being funny. I’d definitely fancy a bit of that… But he ain’t gonna wanna come out because he knows he’d get absolutely flattened, because I’m in good shape.”

Carl Froch vs Joe Calzaghe
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Calzaghe, speaking to talkSPORT’s Fight Night show, is far less invested in the idea.

“It’s mad, I’m still living in his head after all these years,” he said.

“I’ve done everything you can achieve in boxing. I know what would have happened and I don’t take much notice of what he says.

“I’m 48 and I’ve been retired 10 years, I’m happy with my career. When I was at my peak I’d have been too fast and too sharp for him.”

At 42 and 48 respectively, and with legendary careers defined, there is absolutely no need for Froch or Calzaghe to lace up the gloves again, though I suspect most of this isn’t said in much earnest.

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A slight deviation from boxing here, but worth exploring; UFC president Dana White told TMZ Sports that he had secured a “private island” on which to host fight cards during the coronavirus lockdown, starting this weekend. The location wasn’t revealed to the media – or any of the competing fighters – but it all seemed to be going ahead until ESPN, the UFC’s broadcast partner, and Disney, ESPN’s parent company, stepped in and put a stop to the whole thing.

Obviously this is a different sport, but White’s and the UFC’s actions before Disney and ESPN halted them were setting a dangerous precedent. Even if you ignore the potential risks in spreading Covid-19 by staging these cards, what sort of medical provisions would there have been? Was there a fully functioning hospital on this island? If not, would they have built one? Plus, the medical staff they would have used could be better placed fighting the pandemic.

Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed but in boxing, we have fewer of those. If rogue promoters get some ideas from this, can we trust that there are enough structures in place to stop them? For example, former super-lightweight champion Regis Prograis was urging Hearn to stage a card on a private island so he could face fellow American Maurice Hooker.

Kubrat Pulev, who is scheduled to challenge unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua on an unspecified date, told BILD that he will donate 50 per cent of his purse for that fight to help medical staff in the battle against coronavirus. If he follows through, that’s a fantastic gesture, and might go some way to improving his public image after the “kissing scandal” last year.

Tyson Fury spoke to talkSPORT about his planned third fight with Deontay Wilder, and doubled down on his comments that their rematch – which he won in emphatic style – would be his “easiest fight.”

He also gave his view on why Wilder, despite the thrashing he received, has elected to take up a third fight: “I don’t think it’s too tempting to get an absolute beating, but he would be tempted by the money. I think that’s the reason he’s taking the fight, for the money.”

However, when it comes to money, there might never be a fighter better than Floyd Mayweather. Even in retirement, he’s still finding ways to get fans to part with hard-earned cash. In a statement, he confirmed that he’s teamed up with the owner of the fuboTV streaming service, FaceBank Group – and ONE Entertainment Group to manage his digital likeness, “Virtual Mayweather.”

Floyd, in this virtual form, will be pitted against former legends in “real-time simulations” based off an algorithm that takes into account “actual performance, velocity of punches, speed of reaction, strategy and stamina.”

And yes, you guessed it, it’s pay-per-view. I can’t imagine who would pay to watch something you could just have more fun recreating on a Fight Night game, but then KSI vs Logan Paul was a roaring success, so who really knows anymore.

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In a lengthy interview with Yahoo Sports, Mike Tyson further proved how much he’s grown as a person since his troubled fighting years. He was asked about the mooted trilogy fight between Fury and Wilder, and offered some advice to the recently defeated American.

“Wilder’s stuff’s a lot of energy I once had,” he said.

“We have to be able to stand up and say, ‘The best man won.’ We can’t be consumed with our egos. We always look for excuses… He’s not gonna stand a chance with Fury if he doesn’t beat himself.”

That seems spot on to me. If you’re looking for some light relief – and let’s face it, who isn’t – then search out a clip from a Ukrainian channel which streamed an online fitness class for children, featuring none other than Oleksandr Usyk. He’s basically just performing some of his madly hypnotising dance moves while inexplicably wearing mismatched trainers and a baby blue tracksuit. It’s like a fever dream.

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