One and done: Calzaghe keen on quitting while he's ahead

Updated: October 24, 2008

AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

What's left to prove? Joe Calzaghe is happy with his 15 years of accomplishments inside the ring.

Calzaghe ready to hang 'em up after Jones fight

As 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.

Omar Sheika, Joe Calzaghe

Graham Chadwick/ALLSPORT

Joe Calzaghe has spent 11 years on top of the super middleweight division, and has beaten every opponent put in front of him.

"I just want to go in and win this fight. I've been boxing for 25 years, and I just feel like I don't want to fight anymore after this fight," said Calzaghe, who defended his super middleweight title 21 times and claimed all four alphabet belts at one time or another. "I think that you know it's important to me to get out at the top. Hardly any fighter's managed to do that. To be undefeated for 46 fights would be amazing. I basically have beaten everybody to beat, and I don't think there's anything else to achieve."

Calzaghe downplayed the possibility of a possible rematch with Hopkins, who lost a contested split decision to Calzaghe, then went on to thrash Kelly Pavlik last week.

"You know I don't really do rematches and things," Calzaghe said. "You know I beat Hopkins once. OK, he fought a good fight, but you know he didn't beat me. He fought a one-dimensional fighter in Pavlik."

Calzaghe feels as if he has nothing left to prove if he defeats Jones. He will face Jones after back-to-back wins against Hopkins and Mikkel Kessler, two tough opponents.

"I basically picked my last two opponents, and they were the most difficult opponents I could pick," he said. "No. 1 was Kessler. Everybody said I was afraid of this guy. I took care of business there. I always knew Hopkins would be a perfect style for me, and I went to America for Hopkins and came out on top there. As far as I'm concerned, I fought the best fight I've been able to fight."

At 36, Calzaghe is younger than several star fighters. Jones is 39, and Hopkins is 43, for example. But age isn't a factor in his decision to retire after the Jones fight. Calzaghe said he feels great physically. The hard part, he said, is motivation.

"It's difficult, and it's more difficult as you get older," he said. "And that's part of the reason I'm going to retire. I think physically I feel just as good as I felt five years ago, but I think mentally it's more difficult to keep yourself motivated.

"The more you achieve in boxing and the more fights you have, it's more difficult. That's why I need big fights, you know, like Kessler, Hopkins and now Roy Jones. I need these fights. That's why I honestly believe after this fight there's nothing really for me to go for, nothing to get excited about. When a fighter just fights for the money, that's when he gets beat. You have to have goals. I'm really happy with what I've achieved, and I think this [Jones fight] will be the icing on the cake of my career."

Next for Pavlik

Although 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.

Kelly Pavlik

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Kelly Pavlik is ready to return to 160 pounds.

"If Kelly comes through against Rubio and has his legs back at middleweight, then we hope to make a fight with [middleweight titlist] Arthur Abraham next spring," Arum said. "But Kelly is coming back to 160. He showed us he's really a middleweight, not a light heavyweight."

Manager Cameron Dunkin said he and Pavlik were on board with Arum's plan.

Arum, who had trepidation about making the fight with Hopkins in the first place, said he regretted doing it.

"Sure, I regret making the fight. I would be a liar if I said I didn't," Arum said. "But we really had no other choice because of the absence of opponents."

Olympian Estrada ready for pros

Shawn 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.

Shawn Estrada

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Time to get paid: Shawn Estrada is making the leap to the pro ranks.

The 6-foot-1 Estrada won his opening-round bout in Beijing before losing to eventual gold medalist James DeGale of Great Britain the day before his ill father, Juan, who was unable to travel to China, died.

"We are very excited to be part of a tough and talented local young fighter of Shawn's caliber and character," Goossen said. "His Olympic story was a compelling -- and heartbreaking -- one, and to be able to compose himself to get into the ring in Beijing speaks volumes as to his heart and dedication."

Estrada said he will be right at home after signing with Goossen Tutor Promotions because one of his co-managers, Arnulfo Bravo, used to fight for Goossen and was trained by his brother, Joe Goossen.

"I can't wait to make my pro debut and see all my fans cheering me on," Estrada said.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.

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QUICK HITS

Schaefer

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