calzaghe.jpgJoe Calzaghe admits he will head to Las Vegas next week desperate to get his gym back on the winning track after a series of setbacks for his father’s Welsh boxing odyssey.

Calzaghe’s stablemates Enzo Maccarinelli, Gavin Rees and Kerry Hope have all tasted defeat in recent weeks – a feeling 36-year-old Calzaghe has not had to cope with since his amateur days.

Calzaghe said: “It drives me on to go and do it for the gym. Obviously it was disappointing on a personal level but as a professional I’ve just got to concentrate on the things that keep me unbeaten.

“Enzo and Gavin were in two massive tests and Kerry just came up short as well. But I’m sure they’ll bounce back stronger from defeat. I don’t have that option because I’m too long in the tooth now.”

Calzaghe is putting the finishing touches to his preparations in the Cwmcarn this week before jetting out to America to face former middleweight great Bernard Hopkins on April 19.

Calzaghe said: “I’ve always wanted to top the bill in Las Vegas and the fact that I’m doing it in one of the biggest fights for years shows how much I want it. Hopefully Hopkins is going to come and trade – but I won’t hold my breath.

“Hopkins is good at making people look bad but he won’t do that to me. That’s the only way he can handle me and that’s why he’s not a well-loved fighter.

“Hopkins has hardly ever been in any exciting fights and he’s very negative. He’ll do everything he can to knock me out of my rhythm because he knows I’m stronger, faster and fitter than him.”

Calzaghe says he is delighted that experienced referee Joe Cortez has been announced as the official for their April 19 showdown, despite being perceived to have done Ricky Hatton few favours against Floyd Mayweather.

“I don’t do holding and mauling and Joe Cortez is well aware of that,” added Calzaghe. “He’s an experienced referee and he’ll enjoy a quiet night because all he will have to do is count to 10 and save Hopkins.”