Calzaghe to clock in for title fight

From Joe Calzaghe’s perspective, a good fight is a good fight, whether it’s at 1 in the morning or 1 in the afternoon.

The WBO 168-pound champion will be wide awake when he steps into the ring at 1 a.m. on Nov. 3 in front of 30,000 night owls at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, trying to unify the super middleweight title at Mikkel Kessler’s expense.

“It’s going to be a fantastic occasion,” Calzaghe, 33, said Tuesday. “It’s probably my most difficult fight. But that’s what it’s all about.”

Fight fans in Las Vegas won’t have to wait until the wee hours to watch. The title bout, to be televised by HBO, will begin at 6 p.m. locally.

Calzaghe, 43-0 with 32 knockouts, said he’ll have no excuses. He’s healthy. His training, overseen by his father, Enzo, has gone well. And he’ll have his fans behind him.

“I think if I bring 110 percent to the table, it doesn’t matter what Mikkel Kessler does. I’m going to win,” Calzaghe said. “I don’t think he’s faced anyone in my league with my ability and my adaptability.”

Kessler, the WBC and WBA champion who is 39-0 with 29 KOs, doesn’t seem concerned with Calzaghe. That’s fine with Calzaghe, who has held a share of the title for 10 years.

“Kessler doesn’t think I can punch,” he said. “I’m looking forward to wiping the smile off his face.”

* MASKAEV-PETER TRY AGAIN — The date is Feb. 2. The site is Madison Square Garden in New York.

Oleg Maskaev and Samuel Peter are scheduled to meet.

But will they? Maskaev and Peter were scheduled to fight Oct. 6, but Maskaev pulled out less than two weeks before the bout with a reported back injury. Peter was given the WBC heavyweight title on an interim basis, then retained it by beating last-minute replacement Jameel McCline.

The fight will be promoted by Don King Productions, which bid $3,107,000 for the rights. Maskaev, who last fought Dec. 10, 2006, when he beat Peter Okello by unanimous decision, will get 55 percent of the purse, though he is technically the challenger. But he’s the draw, at least as far as the large Russian population in New York is concerned.

* LOCAL HELP NOT ENOUGH — Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s run on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” ended Tuesday, but the children at Las Vegas’ Matt Kelly Elementary School supported Mayweather and dance partner Karina Smirnoff to the end. They made banners backing the duo and worked the phones and computers to vote for Mayweather, the world welterweight champion, to remain in the competition.

But it wasn’t enough and Mayweather is now focusing on his Dec. 8 title fight against Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand Garden.

* SPORTS CELEBRITY — How cool is it to be Kelly Pavlik these days? The new world middleweight champ has had a chance to tap into his new-found celebrity in his native Ohio. He threw out the first pitch before Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Jacobs Field on Tuesday, two days after conducting the coin flip before the Browns-Miami Dolphins game. He watched the game with Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.

Pavlik, from Youngstown, also got to meet with the Youngstown State football team after a recent practice, and he will be going with Ohio State when the Buckeyes play at Michigan on Nov. 17. The day before, he will be LeBron James’ guest at courtside to watch the Cavaliers play Utah at Quicken Loans Arena.

* ETC. — The Nevada Athletic Commission is expected to name John Bailey as chairman, replacing Tony Alamo. The three-year terms of Alamo and Joe W. Brown will end Oct. 31. … A reminder that the Nov. 3 WBC super featherweight title fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Ricardo Juarez will be at the Desert Diamond Casino near Tucson, Ariz., and will be televised by Showtime. The fight was to be Sept. 15 in Las Vegas, but was called off after Marquez suffered an injury to his right hand.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2913.

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