By Mark Vester
Following his split-decision win over Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas, Joe Calzaghe praised the Philadelphia veteran by labeling him as the toughest opponent of his career. Calzaghe admits that it wasn't his best performance and knew the clash of styles would lead to an ugly fight.
"I knew this wouldn't look pretty tonight," Calzaghe said. "He's so awkward. He gave me some good shots. It wasn't my best night, but I won the fight. The world title in a second division and a win in America is just icing on the cake for my career."
Calzaghe was knocked down in the first round and was being outhustled by the older fighter for the first few rounds. He knew that in order to win, he had to let his hands go to wear Hopkins down. The defensive skills of Hopkins gave him the most trouble.
"I had to let the punches go as the fight wore on," Calzaghe said. "He was very defensive. I was only hurt one time, but he never caught me with a clean punch. It was the toughest fight of my career. He's very clever. I'm very proud."
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