Former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor is eyeing up a super-middleweight showdown with Joe Calzaghe, according to the American’s promoter.
Taylor, who lost his WBO/WBC middleweight belts to Kelly Pavlik in September in Atlantic City, has exercised a rematch clause in the original fight contract and the two will meet again in Las Vegas on February 16 in a non-title contest at super-middleweight.
But a fight with undefeated Welshman Calzaghe, who was named as the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday, is already in Taylor’s sights according to his promoter Lou DiBella.
“It’s hard to look past this fight but knowing Jermain, if he beats Pavlik, Joe would be the fight he would want,” DiBella said.
“Joe is the best and Jermain has always reached out for the best so knowing that he will never fight at middleweight again, if he succeeds in this rematch I would be very surprised if he didn’t say ’Go pursue Calzaghe’.
“At this point in time I think anyone who knows boxing knows that the second best fighter in the world is Calzaghe and that’s only because Floyd Mayweather is out there.
“I think Calzaghe has had a tremendous year and has stamped his status as one of the great super-middleweights of all time.
“So if I know Jermain and he beats Pavlik, that’s where he sends me looking.”
Calzaghe’s promoter Frank Warren has said he is close to agreeing a deal to fight Bernard Hopkins in New York in early 2008 but the American is a notoriously tough negotiator.
DiBella, who helped develop Hopkins as a fighter before an acrimonious parting of the ways ended in a libel dispute that the promoter won, said he was not convinced that match would be made, despite the two boxers talking up the fight when confronting each other in Las Vegas last Friday before the Ricky Hatton-Mayweather showdown.
Should Hopkins agree to fight Calzaghe, however, DiBella said the Welshman would win easily against a fighter who will turn 43 in January and whom Taylor defeated twice on points in 2005.
“I’m not confident that fight will happen because I’m not confident they can make a business deal with Bernard.
“But I don’t even think it’s competitive. That’s no disrespect to Hopkins who was one of the great fighters of all time, but I just don’t see Calzaghe losing to a 43-year-old man who can’t punch.
“I think Hopkins can frustrate him and maybe win a few rounds but Calzaghe has too much and too young.”