Decorated and unbeaten former fighter Joe Calzaghe fought the likes of Roy Jones Jr and Bernard Hopkins but it is another man that he has cited as the best he ever faced.
Welshman Calzaghe was a generational great who went 15 years without losing despite facing some of the best ever in his division including Chris Eubank, Robin Reid, Richie Woodhall, Charles Brewer, Jeff Lacy, Sakio Bika and Mikkel Kessler.
Speaking to Ring TV, Calzaghe was asked about some of the best fighters he ever faced. He claimed Jeff Lacy had the best chin, Hopkins had the best defense and was the smartest fighter, Ritchie Woodall was the best boxer and Sakio Bika was the strongest, but he just about stands one man alone as the best overall opponent he ever faced.
I would say when I beat him, he was at his peak, 39-0. I think I was a bit older than him. It was my last fight at Super Middleweight. Massive pressure at the Millennium Stadium, 50,000, he held three belts. The Mikkel Kessler I beat was the best Mikkel Kessler. Kessler just edges it between him and Bernard Hopkins.”
He also said Kessler had the fastest feet.
“I tried to force the fight in the first four rounds but because he’s so good with his feet, I was falling short, and he was moving back and catching me with the right hand and uppercuts.
He busted me up twice in the fourth round. I sat back on the stool and my dad said, “What’s going on?” I said, “I’ve got to change something.” I started to outbox him from the outside. He was waiting for me and was good with speed and timing. I’d probably give Kessler the edge.”