The ‘Will They Won’t They’ Joe Calzaghe-Mikkel Kessler saga took a new twist last week with promoter Frank Warren claiming the Welshman is happy to travel to Denmark to meet the Dane in a battle of unbeatens later this year.
So far it’s been the respective promoters doing most of the talking with the fighters themselves keeping a dignified silence.
In the meantime, I asked the ‘Viking Warrior’ for his verdict on the potential superfight.
ITV: Let’s get right down to it. There has been much talk in the media about you and Joe Calzaghe meeting to find out just who is the best super-middleweight in the world. The two of you seem to want the fight and boxing fans and those in the trade are clamouring for it so why, in your opinion, is the bout yet to be finalised?
MK: It must be difficult for Frank Warren, because he knows as well as you, that it may be Calzaghe’s last fight if he meets me. Therefore he has to figure out how he can earn the most. That’s pure business.
ITV: Do you feel that perhaps Calzaghe sees you as too much of a threat and this is why he is instead mentioning people like middleweight star Jermain Taylor or veteran Bernard Hopkins as his possible next opponent?
MK: I think that both Hopkins and Taylor are great boxers and as mentioned before it’s all about how to keep the wheels running in his business. On top of that it would be an easier fight for Calzaghe to meet Taylor, who is not a natural super-middleweight.
ITV: I know you regularly attract huge crowds at home in Denmark but if the money was right would you be willing to face Calzaghe in American or Great Britain?
MK: That is 100% sure. I haven’t got any problem whatsoever with fighting Calzaghe anywhere in the world. Besides I’m more English than him, my mother is from Salisbury. That must give me some fans at least in England!
ITV: At 28 you are unbeaten in 39 fights and more or less at your fighting peak. I’m assuming you have made some decent money from the sport so now for you is it more about fighting the best on a regular basis and proving yourself as the best fighter of your generation?
MK: I just want to be the best and proving that by beating the ones who say that they are the best. I also want to give the viewers what they want and be recognized as a good skilled boxer.
ITV: ITV viewers saw your brutal destruction of Markus Beyer last year. Were you surprised with how easily you handled the German?
MK: I hoped for it and had an excellent preparation prior to the fight, which gave me that little extra. I think that I boxed well, but never had it in my mind that I could lose.
ITV: Of your 39 wins so far which do you regard as your greatest performance and why?
MK: I think it was great to beat (Manny) Siaca and thereby claim the title. It was a dream come true and what I had hoped for since I started boxing. I also think that I made a good performance in my last fight against a tough opponent.
ITV: You were an impressive winner against Mexican tough nut Librado Andrade back in March. Are you back in the gym yet and have you had any word on when we might next expect to see you fight?
MK: I always train a lot, but not always boxing. I love training and therefore it’s only short breaks, like one week. I only use sparring when I’m in Denmark, which I’m prior to a fight or when visiting. I haven’t got a clue, but think I’m going to fight in September or October
ITV: If the Calzaghe fight can’t be made then how eager are you to test yourself against the top Americans and fight at the big venues in Las Vegas and New York?
MK: That could be possible, but will they fight me? I’m ready. As you know it’s my manager’s job to make the fights happen and not only me.
ITV: I know you are fiercely proud of your Viking heritage and this is shown by an impressive tattoo down your right side. What’s the story behind it?
MK: Like the Vikings I want to “conquer the world” and on my body I have a got a Viking who’s fighting an Alien as a symbol for the unknown future. This can be seen as a reflection on my life. You never know what’s coming next, but you can be prepared to fight anything anywhere.
ITV: Finally Mikkel. You have a growing number of fans in Great Britain. Do you have a message for them?
MK: I hope that I won’t disappoint them and that I can show them that I’m a worthy champion. I already got a lot of cheers on my homepage from fans in Great Britain which I’m really happy for. I feel that a part of me belongs to England as my mother is English and my brother Mark still lives there. I know that Great Britain might lose a great champion in Calzaghe, but I assure them that they will get a new one and not lose anything.