Joe Calzaghe will be living his dream on Saturday when the undefeated Briton takes on eight-times world champion Roy Jones Jr. at Madison Square Garden for the Ring Magazine light heavyweight title.
|Calzaghe looked relaxed at the press conference [GALLO/GETTY]
The 36-year-old Welshman looks to crown his career at the Mecca of Boxing and extend his record to 46-0 against Jones, who at 39 is out to prove he still has the skills that once earned him acclaim as the world's best pound-for-pound fighter.
"Joe had a dream, to box the best guy out there at this time, second to him," Enzo Calzaghe, trainer, manager and father of the long-time super middleweight champion, said.
"He's fulfilling his own ambition. This is his dream.
"He wanted Madison Square Garden. He wants to retire undefeated.
"That's the key, the passion, the target," he continued.
"That is his goal, to be undefeated. The dream he's always had."
The southpaw has put off talk about whether he would retire should he win, going out unbeaten in the manner of heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano 53 years ago at Yankee Stadium against Archie Moore.
Calzaghe's dream also puts him in the ring against a top name after being frustrated by the politics and business of boxing that matched him with a string of lesser-known opponents.
"I struggled four or five years ago, fighting in smaller halls...not getting any respect, not getting opportunities for the big fight," Calzaghe said.
"Then I took charge of my career," added the Welshman, whose own promotions firm is putting on the fight along with Jones's company.
In his previous bout, Calzaghe made his US debut with a split decision victory over Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas.
"For years I'm fighting guys whose names I couldn't even spell, guys I had never seen fight," Calzaghe said.
"I pushed for the Hopkins bout, the same for Roy Jones, my biggest fight.
"I put my foot down and made them."
|Joe Calzaghe trains with his father and manager Enzo Calzaghe in NY [GALLO/GETTY]
Jones, a champion in four weight classes from middleweight all the way to heavyweight, wants to restore a reputation tarnished by three defeats in a row, including two knockouts, from 2004 to 2006.
Alton Merkerson, who has trained Jones for 18 years, said his fighter had that bumpy patch as a reaction to moving his weight up and down in order to win the heavyweight title from John Ruiz in 2003 and come back down to light heavyweight.
He said Calzaghe will see that Jones is good as ever now.
"Roy didn't take a lot of punishment in his boxing career," the trainer said.
"I would say Roy took more punches in the two fights against (Antonio) Tarver and the one against (Glen) Johnson than he had in his whole boxing career.
"Since those fights he's still not getting hit," Merkerson said of Jones, who claimed a unanimous decision over Felix Trinidad in January in his last bout to improve to 52-4.
Both trainers said they expected an action-filled fight.
"You're not going to see a cat and mouse game," Merkerson said.
"It's going to be like the Roman days.
"It's going to be like two gladiators in there running toward each other with big swords on horses."