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Calzaghe ready to hang 'em up after Jones fightAs far as Joe Calzaghe is concerned, it's one and done. After 15 years as a pro, 11 of which he spent as super middleweight champion, the Welshman moved up to light heavyweight and won the world title at 175 pounds by outpointing Bernard Hopkins via split decision in April in his U.S. debut. Calzaghe's first defense will be his last if he sticks to the plan he outlined after beating Hopkins, one that he reiterated this week. That plan is to defeat former pound-for-pound king Roy Jones (52-4, 38 KOs) on Nov. 8 (HBO PPV) at New York's Madison Square Garden, then walk away from the sport undefeated, at the top of his game and with his good looks still intact. "I'm up for this fight," Calzaghe (45-0, 32 KOs) said this week. "You know I'm so close to doing something really special, and I really feel great and I'm really looking forward to Nov. 8. After that, I'm just going to walk away. That's it. I want to finish ahead of the game, you know? I've been fighting, but I don't look like a fighter. So I figure if I keep fighting, I'll probably end up looking like a fighter. I don't want a flat nose, man. I've been through 25 years [between the amateurs and pros], and it's stayed in decent condition. "But you can lose that straightaway, you know? Because inevitably you're going to slow down and get your ass kicked. That's what happens." Calzaghe doesn't want that to happen to him, which is why he has been touting the showdown with Jones as his swan song. When pressed, Calzaghe wouldn't say definitively that he would never fight again, but he made it clear that is what he intends.
Joe Calzaghe has spent 11 years on top of the super middleweight division, and has beaten every opponent put in front of him.
Next for PavlikAlthough Bernard Hopkins whitewashed Kelly Pavlik in their light heavyweight bout this past Saturday -- HBO's replay is Saturday at midnight ET/PT -- Pavlik remains middleweight champion and will defend the title early next year, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com. Arum said Pavlik will take the rest of the year off but will be ready to make a mandatory defense against Marco Antonio Rubio, who won a title eliminator against Enrique Ornelas on the Hopkins-Pavlik undercard, in late February or early March. He also said the bout could be back in Atlantic City, N.J., where Pavlik has drawn good crowds fighting three of his past four bouts there.
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Kelly Pavlik is ready to return to 160 pounds.
Olympian Estrada ready for prosShawn Estrada, the 2008 U.S. Olympic middleweight, is the latest team member to sign a pro contract. The East Los Angeles fighter signed this week with L.A.-based promoter Dan Goossen. Estrada, 23, will make his professional debut Nov. 29 in Ontario, Calif., on the undercard of the Paul Williams-Verno Phillips fight.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Time to get paid: Shawn Estrada is making the leap to the pro ranks.
• In September, Golden Boy announced with fanfare a deal with fledgling MMA promoter and apparel company Affliction under which it would co-promote pay-per-view events with boxing and MMA matches on the same card. But Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com that they've had a change of heart and will keep the sports separate. The companies are planning their first MMA-only co-promotion in January. The idea of both sports on the same card was heavily criticized, which Schaefer acknowledged was part of the decision. "We want to get to know the MMA market better and truly evaluate if there are synergies between the two sports," he said. "We are planning to do some focus groups where we will ask boxing and MMA fans how they would feel about it. Once we get the results of that, then we'll be in a much better position to decide which strategy to apply."
• Schaefer and Top Rank's Bob Arum continue discussing an Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley welterweight title bout, which they want to televise on HBO on Jan. 24. "Schaefer wants to do the fight, and we want to do the fight," Arum said. "Shane is willing, but he wants to know how much money there is for him if he fights Margarito or Andre Berto. He'll fight either of them, but he wants the fight that will pay him the most money. So that's what he and Schaefer are discussing, and we are talking with HBO."
Said Schaefer: "I told Bob that Shane has narrowed the field to Margarito or Berto. I am having lunch on Tuesday with Shane and [his wife] Jin, and I will present them with two deals because I am also having conversations with Berto's promoter [Lou DiBella] and, of course [HBO's] Kery [Davis]. HBO would do either fight, so I'm running the numbers. Margarito is a more expensive fight than Berto, but you have a bigger gate with Margarito. Both are good fights. It will be Shane's pick. I will give him the facts, and he'll pick."
• When ex-welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto returns to action in February for his first fight since a July TKO loss to Margarito, he'll face either former titleholder Kermit Cintron or Jesus Soto Karass, Arum said. Arum promotes Soto Karass and could make that fight easily. But he also has been talking to DiBella, Cintron's promoter, about a match between Puerto Ricans. Cintron would need to defeat Lovemore N'Dou Nov. 15. "If Kermit beats Lovemore, we'd love to make a fight with Cotto. Bob and I are talking," DiBella said. Arum is aiming for a June rematch if Cotto and Margarito win their early 2009 bouts.
• Arum said junior welterweight titleholder Kendall Holt's rubber match with ex-titlist Ricardo Torres, scheduled for Dec. 13 (Showtime), will take place in Atlantic City, N.J. He said that he made a deal with Ken Condon, who handles boxing events for sponsor casino Caesars Atlantic City, for the bout to take place in the 3,000-seat arena upstairs at Boardwalk Hall. Torres stopped Holt in the 11th round in a wild first fight in 2007 in Colombia. Holt, from Paterson, N.J., won the title in July, going down twice before knocking Torres cold in their blazing 61-second rematch.
• After four previous postponements, bantamweight titlist Joseph Agbeko (25-1, 22 KOs) of Ghana is scheduled to make his mandatory defense against Nicaragua's William Gonzalez (21-2, 19 KOs), promoter Don King announced. They're scheduled to meet Dec. 11 (Versus) on the undercard of cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham (21-1, 11 KOs) in a mandatory against Tomasz Adamek (35-1, 24 KOs) in Newark, N.J. The Agbeko-Gonzalez bout had been scheduled for Sept. 13 but was called off because Agbeko had malaria. He claimed a vacant belt in September 2007 but hasn't fought since.
• HBO's Emmy-winning reality show "24/7" returns for its third installment Sunday night (8:30 ET/PT), this time for the first of three episodes that will follow the buildup to the Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones light heavyweight championship fight on Nov. 8 (HBO PPV). The opening episode takes viewers behind the scenes at the training camps of each fighter, as Calzaghe prepares in Newbridge, Wales, and Jones trains in California, Pa. The series proved to be a big hit last year. The four-part "De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7," which debuted in April, averaged 4.7 million viewers each week. It returned in November with the four-part "Mayweather/Hatton 24/7" and averaged 3 million viewers per week.
• Welterweight titlist Paul Williams, who fought his most recent bout at middleweight, will fight at junior middleweight against Verno Phillips on HBO's Nov. 29 "Boxing After Dark" at the new 11,000-seat Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif. They'll meet for the WBO's vacant interim belt, so Phillips will either give up or be stripped of his IBF version of the title because it wouldn't approve the fight. Phillips had a mandatory looming against Cory Spinks (whom he beat for his title earlier this year), and Williams wasn't rated by the IBF because he holds a WBO title. Regardless, the fight is on after weeks of discussion. Opening the telecast, heavyweight Cristobal Arreola will face Travis Walker.
• Junior middleweights John Duddy and Ronald Hearns, both eyeing the upper ranks of the 154-pound division, are supposed to meet on HBO's "Boxing After Dark" Jan. 17 in New York, but not unless both win upcoming fights. Hearns (19-0, 15 KOs) is first in action against Paul Clavette (14-1-1, 2 KOs) on Friday night (Showtime, 11 ET/PT) on the card in Montreal. The headline bout of the card will pit Lucian Bute (22-0, 18 KOs), who's defending his super middleweight belt, against Librado Andrade (27-1, 21 KOs). Duddy (25-0, 17 KOs) returns Nov. 21 in New York to face battle-tested Sam Hill (17-9-1, 10 KOs). Middleweight prospect "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin (20-0, 15 KOs) also was supposed to fight Nov. 21, but he's out because of a sore right hand. He didn't want to further injure it ahead of his appearance in the Duddy-Hearns co-feature against James McGirt Jr.
Ponce De Leon
• Daniel Ponce De Leon (34-2, 30 KOs), who was smashed in one round and lost his junior featherweight title to Juan Manuel Lopez in June, is ready for a comeback. He'll fight in his native Mexico for the first time since 2003 when he meets Argentina's Damian Marchiano (15-5-1, 5 KOs) in a 10-rounder Nov. 1 in Chihuahua.
• Former junior welterweight titlist Gavin Rees, who is trained by Enzo Calzaghe, has withdrawn from his fight against Frankie Figueroa on the troublesome Nov. 8 Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones HBO PPV undercard. According to promoter John Wirt of Jones' Square Ring, Rees said he suffered a broken nose and can't fight. It was to be Rees' first bout since losing his title to Andreas Kotelnik in March. Junior welterweight Dmitriy Salita, who is also on the undercard, had two opponents pull out on him, Kotelnik and Willie Limond. Salita is now slated to face journeyman lightweight Derrick Campos unless a better foe can be signed.
"I've been doing this so long, it's part of my life and my profession. The nine-month layoff was good for me. It allowed me to set some new goals for myself and to take a good look at where I am in my career and where I want to go." -- former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, who returns Nov. 15 (HBO) to face 2000 Olympic teammate Jeff Lacy in attempt to shake off a long layoff and consecutive losses to Kelly Pavlik.