NEW YORK-Ring Magazine light-heavyweight champion Joe Calzaghe recently issued a statement in which he called boxing “a dying sport.” Light-heavyweight contender Shaun George took offense to those words, criticizing the undefeated Welshman for being part of the problem.
“All he is doing is fighting the older guys,” says Shaun George, 17-2-2 (8 KO), a native of Brooklyn, NY. “He’s not letting the younger fighters in the division come up. The way boxing creates new stars is by having the younger guys pick up where the older guys leave off. By fighting people in their 40’s like Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins, Calzaghe is feeding into the problem.
“Boxing is not dying, but what hurts the sport is when the top stars don’t want to fight the rising contenders in their divisions. Why not fight a young guy like me or Chad Dawson? He won’t because he just wants to cash in.
“The light-heavyweight division is loaded with talent. You have Adrian Diaconu and Zsolt Erdei, both are undefeated champs. There are also exciting newcomers like Tavoris Cloud, Chris Henry and Yusaf Mack. I would not hesitate to fight any of those guys. In fact, HBO should do a ‘Night of the Young Light-Heavyweights’ tournament to showcase how hot this division is.”
The 29-year-old George is rated #7 by the WBC, #10 by the IBF and #12 by the WBA. He is currently recovering from a hand injury sustained in training camp which has temporarily sidelined him. George wants to pick up in 2009 where he left off after his star-making knockout of two-time heavyweight champion and future Hall-of-Famer Chris Byrd earlier this year.
“I’ve never ducked anyone. I’ve fought in other countries, in my opponent’s hometowns, I’ve never been afraid of a challenge. If HBO or Showtime is willing to have us, I’m ready and willing to fight anyone in the division. I don’t care if you’re southpaw, orthodox, tall, short, undefeated, my contract is already signed. Call my promoter Lou Dibella and let’s get it on.”