Calzaghe glad to be ending his career in a ‘dying sport’

JOE CALZAGHE has branded boxing “a dying sport” and is glad he is close to ending his career rather than just starting out.

The 36-year-old two-weight world champion will decide in the new year whether to continue fighting or retire with his 46-fight unbeaten record intact.

But the Welshman believes the sport he loves is facing a bleak future.

“I think boxing is a dying sport,” he said.

“Globally – in America for instance – you’ve got UFC (mixed martial arts), which has taken a lot off boxing, business-wise.

“There is too much politics in boxing. Too many belts and too many champions, which dilutes real champions like myself. There are four world champions in each division and it’s bad because there are no stars any more. It’s a big problem.

“America only had one medallist in the Olympics this year.

“In Britain we did pretty good but I’m glad I’m ending my career and not starting it because I don’t think it’s going to be that great in the future.”

Calzaghe also insists attempting to break Rocky Marciano’s all-time unbeaten career record of 49 fights will not be a factor in the decision-making process.

Three more wins would move him level with Marciano, yet speculation remains rife that last month’s light-heavyweight win over Roy Jones Jnr in New York could have been 36-year-old Calzaghe’s final bout.

Current IBF light-heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson, Nottingham’s newly-crowned WBC super-middleweight king Carl Froch and American Bernard Hopkins have all been mentioned as possible Calzaghe opponents in 2009.

But he said yesterday: “When things die down in January or February, I am going to go on holiday, start giving some serious thought and weighing up the options.

“I am not thinking about boxing at the moment. I am just relaxing and taking time out with my family.

“I am more concerned about Christmas shopping and stuff with the kids. You’ve got to think is there anything better than what I have achieved?

“That’s what I have got to work out. You’ve got to balance things up. Is it worth it?

“After coming off a great fight like Roy Jones Jnr in Madison Square Garden, which was like a script, how does it get any better than that?

“Marciano’s record used to be a spur to me years ago, but I haven’t really thought about achieving that.

“I don’t want to be boxing in three years’ time. Realistically, I box twice a year, which means I will have to be boxing for two or three years to beat that record, and I don’t want to do that.

“I was given an option two years ago of fighting three times a year, pick easy fights and beat the record, but I would rather fight big fights against big names. Calzaghe is currently on a whistle-stop tour of the country promoting his DVD, Joe Calzaghe – My Life Story, which documents an astounding career as told by the longest reigning world champion in boxing history.

“When I turned professional, I wanted to be undefeated,” he added.

“The last time I was beaten was in 1990 in the European Junior Championships in Prague. To think 18 years later, I would be undefeated as a professional is incredible.

“I’ve beaten two legends this year – one (Hopkins) in Las Vegas and one (Jones) in New York – and to be able to sit here, talk about it and be happy, is great.”

The DVD includes interviews with Sugar Ray Leonard, who describes Calzaghe as “the greatest British boxer of our time,” and Jake LaMotta.

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