LONDON -- The long-awaited fight between Bernard Hopkins and
Joe Calzaghe will take place in Las Vegas on April 19.
Six years after Calzaghe's camp tried to set up a matchup with
Hopkins, the unbeaten Welshman's handlers announced Wednesday that
the fighters will meet as light heavyweights at the Thomas & Mack
The bout for Hopkins' Ring magazine light heavyweight championship will be Calzaghe's first fight at light
heavyweight after 21 consecutive world title defenses at
super-middleweight. After unifying three world titles by taking the
WBA and WBC titles from Mikkel Kessler on Nov. 4 to move his record
to 44-0, Calzaghe knew he had to move up a division to take on
"He definitely needs a facelift and I'm going to sort him
out," Calzaghe said at a London news conference. "I just hope
he's not going to run."
Hopkins, who is 48-4-1, last fought in July last year when he
scored a victory over Ronald "Winky" Wright.
Before fighting Wright, Hopkins had retired in 2006 after a
career highlighted by 21 straight middleweight title defenses and a
stunning win over Antonio Tarver at light heavyweight.
The 43-year-old Hopkins has built a big reputation with some
stellar performances in the United States, unifying the world
middleweight titles with a ninth-round knockout of Oscar De La Hoya
in September 2004.
The 35-year-old Calzaghe, meanwhile, has struggled to make a
name for himself outside of Britain despite beating all the major
contenders at the super-middleweight division.
Calzaghe took the WBO title from Chris Eubank in 1997 and, after
a series of routine but unspectacular defenses, impressively beat
both Jeff Lacy and Kessler. He has overcome concerns about his
suspect left hand, which he has broken or damaged several times
during his career.
"I have new goals, new things to achieve," Calzaghe said.
"With the Kessler fight I achieved everything I wanted to achieve
with regards to the super middleweight division. I've also got to
fight in the States before I retire."
Calzaghe, who will turn 36 before the Hopkins fight, said he
hopes to take two more bouts.
"I could go until I'm 40, but in boxing it's easy to take one
fight too many," he said. "There are very few that retired
undefeated at the right time."'
The fight, expected to draw 18,000 fans at the Las Vegas arena,
will be televised by HBO in the United States.
"I'm going in with an American referee and three American
judges and that's a challenge in itself," Calzaghe said.