JOE Calzaghe is set for one of the biggest honours of his career this weekend as he’s inducted into boxing’s hall of fame as a first ballot entrant.
Ahead of his trip across the Atlantic, Joe sat down for an interview with Argus boxing writer Michael Pearlman.
This is part one of a four part special with the Calzaghes ahead of their huge honour. See Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s Argus Sport for the concluding parts.
Today Joe acknowledges his honour and reignites an old feud with man of the moment, Carl Froch.
Joe on... the call from the hall
“It’s massive, the biggest honour in boxing and I’m not sure it has sunk in properly, I’ve never been to the ceremony so I don’t know what to expect.
“When I got the news a few months ago that I was a first ballot entrant I just thought ‘what an honour’ and I couldn’t wait to take my dad out there because this has been our journey together.
“To go in with Oscar de la Hoya and Felix Trinidad, on the 25th anniversary of the Hall of Fame, it’s extremely special.
“America has been very receptive to me because of the way I ended my career, I conquered America with two extra special victories, against Bernard Hopkins in Vegas and Roy Jones in Madison Square Garden.
“Hopkins was linear champion, Jones was the Ring magazine champion, two different weights; it was such a special time for me.
“How many British boxers will ever be first ballot hall of famers? I have no idea, but I don’t imagine it’ll end up being a very large number.
“People have said to me for a few years I’d probably get in one day, but you don’t like to think about it, it’s one of those things where you just wait for that phone call.
“It’s brilliant, but I’d say I deserve it! 46-0 and a two-weight world champion who defended his world title for 11 years?”
Joe on... comparisons with Carl Froch and the debate on who is superior
“I saw the piece written in the Argus about missing the two generations of big pay days, but I don’t have any issues or insecurities about how I rank compared to any of the boxers, from Chris Eubank and Nigel Been to Carl Froch and George Groves.
“People say that Froch has had 13 world title defences, well I had 25. People say he’s a three time world champion, but that just means he lost twice, whereas I was undefeated. You can’t compare Carl Froch to me; it’s not a fair comparison.
“Carl has never been the best of the best. He wasn’t when he lost to Kessler and everyone now would acknowledge he’s not at the same level as Andre Ward.
“He (Froch) has struggled in the biggest examinations of his career, even against George Groves who was 19-0; you would say it could have gone either way.
“Mikkel Kessler was undefeated when I beat him, at the peak of his powers and then I went to America.
“As far as I am concerned there is no comparison. I finished at the top, I got there and stayed there and I honestly don’t believe a fight between us would even have been close.
“Carl has a good chin and he hits hard, but styles make fights and I’d have been much, much too fast for him.
“When I watch him fight it frustrates me, because I think what I could have done, but its all hindsight.
“Eubank, Collins and Benn all dipped at the end of their careers and that’s why I wouldn’t change anything.
“My time was my time; I can’t do anything to alter how history will view the names who I beat.
“For the Americans to give me the respect, which took years, I felt like I went out in dominant fashion and I can’t have regrets about that. But I suppose part of me wishes I could’ve fought and beaten Carl.”