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Joe faces new wait problem after Glen says 'no'.

Byline: By Peter Shuttleworth Wales on Sunday

Joe Calzaghe is prepared to take a step down to make the step up.

After a troubled year to date, the WBO super-middleweight is mulling over drastic action to get his career back on track.

A few months back everything was mapped out for the Newbridge southpaw.

Having been frustrated in his bid to land a career-defining fight at super-middleweight, Calzaghe made a decisive move by announcing his intention to move up a weight, to light-heavy. A match with IBF title holder, Jamaican Glen Johnson was all set up for last month - but it never happened.

Calzaghe, weighed down with domestic problems as his marriage to childhood sweetheart Mandy hit the rocks, was forced to abandon his big-fight plans due to a back injury. Now, it seems certain that his fight with Johnson is off - permanently - after one postponement, leaving Calzaghe, his team and his promoter Frank Warren to ponder his next move.

Calzaghe wants to get back in the ring after a difficult time and one option, which he's seriously considering, is putting the move up a weight on the back-burner. So Plan B, for the time being, could be to defend his super-middleweight belt for a record-breaking 15th time.

'I will become a double-weight world champion one day,' said Calzaghe.

'Hopefully I will get the right fight at light-heavy but I won't dwell on what is happening. I might defend my WBO super-middleweight title again.

'That's my back-up plan. I'm currently sorting it out with Frank. Staying at super-middle will just be for the interim period because I will definitely win a light-heavyweight crown. I say that without arrogance. I say it with confidence.'

Word among the boxing fraternity had it that Calzaghe's personal problems were the real reason for him ducking out of the Johnson fight - not his back spasms. But Calzaghe dismisses such talk.

'Look, I'm a professional boxer and my personal life would not distract me,' he said.

'Unfortunately, things happen in people's personal life and that is just part of your life. People split-up all of the time. I'm human and it was a difficult time, especially for our three boys, because I'm in the public eye and it was splashed across the newspapers. Couples just come to the end of the road and that's what happened in this case. Neither of us did anything wrong. And because we've split, yes, I will see other people and so will my ex-wife. We're free to do whatever we want. The most important people are the children.

'They've taken it as well as could be expected and they are happy, that's the main thing.

'The only thing that's really got me down in the last few months is pulling-out of the Johnson fight. I'm tip-top now and back in training.

'I'm happy and starting a new chapter in my life as I'm buying a new house nearer my gym in Abercarn.'

Calzaghe's career, however, is not so cut and dried. His immediate light-heavyweight ambition is in limbo. Johnson is now sizing up a mega-money clash with light-heavyweight has-been Roy Jones Jnr, who lost his WBC belt to Antonio Tarver. But Calzaghe is already plotting a future beyond the Johnson debacle.

He added: 'The only reason Johnson was coming over here was so he could give up his title.

'And for that I was getting a lot less dosh to fight him because I've had to pay him twice more than I've ever paid someone just to make the fight possible. I got more cash from my last five super-middleweight defences against worse opposition. He just wanted a pay-day and that's what I was giving him.

'I just saw Johnson as a stepping-stone to a unification bout with Tarver.

'So I was speculating to accumulate as that would be my big pay-day. But it's not all about money, I want to take Tarver's title and prove I'm the world's best.'
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 11, 2004
Words:660
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