MANCHESTER, England -- Hampered by a fragile left hand and frustrated by boxing politics, Joe Calzaghe believes he is only two fights away from unifying the super middleweight titles.
The unbeaten Brit (41-0) defends his IBF and WBO belts against Australia-based Sakio Bika of Cameroon on Saturday at MEN Arena. Boxing's longest reigning world champion, Calzaghe will be going for his 19th successful world title defense.
The hand injury and lack of a suitable opponent have kept the 34-year-old Calzaghe out of the ring since his lopsided decision over IBF champion Jeff Lacy in March. He can now see a route to holding all the titles.
Although Calzaghe says he will be concentrating on Bika, he will have an interest in Saturday's other super middleweight fight in Copenhagen, where Denmark's unbeaten WBA champion Mikkel Kessler faces Germany's WBC champ Markus Beyer.
"I want to fight until I cannot fight any more," said Calzaghe, who has defended the WBO title for nine years but has never beaten a truly big name such as Roy Jones Jr. "But it is a rare breed of fighter who actually gets out on top.
"I think that is a realistic goal for me. I would like to fight another four or five fights but not beyond the age of 36."
In Copenhagen, Beyer weighed in Friday at 167.7 pounds, with Kessler at 167.9. Beyer, who at 35 is eight years older than Kessler, is nicknamed "Boom Boom" and has a 34-2-1 record with 13 knockouts.
"I am ready, I feel good and I am fit," Beyer said.
Kessler, nicknamed "The Viking Warrior," is 37-0, with 28 knockouts.
"The way I see it, he stands no chance," Kessler said. "If I spot a chance, I'll go for the knockout, but otherwise I am ready for 12 rounds."
A powerful left-hander who fought virtually the perfect fight to take the IBF crown from Lacy, Calzaghe has been chasing the likes of Jones and Bernard Hopkins since he took the WBO crown from Chris Eubank nine years ago.
"I would love to go over [to the United States] and fight," he said. "But these guys are avoiding me because Hopkins retired and Roy Jones got himself beat. But it would great to have at least one fight in America."
Before that, he must take care of Bika, who has lost one of his 23 fights, a majority decision to Australia's Sam Soliman four years ago. He fought Beyer in May but the fight was declared a technical draw after four rounds when the German sustained a bad cut.
Bika's trainer, Angelo Hyder, said Calzaghe's punching power was overrated.
"Joe is a nonpuncher," he said. "He hit Jeff Lacy 5,000 times in his last fight in March and could not knock him out."
Calzaghe is the best boxer out there at the moment. For some reason fighters have to go and fight in America to gain notoriety and be revered as one of the greatest and with all this undue bias to Floys Mayweather and other American fighters guys like Clinton Woods, Ricky hatton and Calzaghe get ignored even though all of them have title in the respective weight divisions Floyd is yet to dominate a division like Calzaghe and I cant wait for him to meet the 'Hitman' Hatton(also unbeaten) in the future now that is gonna be a fight and I hope its held in my hometown (Manchester where hatton is from) cos I wont wanna miss that one.
I remember the hype around Lacy and he got annihalated.
The best boxers come out of Britain. the UK is the Cuba of the pro game
when Calzaghe unifies the super middleweight belts his next goal should be to beat someone down in the States and go for Louis' record
its almost been a decade of successful title defences for Calzaghe and he still maintains his perfect record since beating fellow Brit Eubank for the title in 1997.
Its about time more of the US fighters got taken down a peg or 2. Starting with O Neil Bell,
David Haye will take Bell's cruiserweight titles next year I know it.
Britain has 5 world Champions
Calzaghe, hatton, Witter, Woods and Harrison
with Haye and Arthur likely to have title fights in 2007 and Michael Hunter not long after