15th March 2012
Enzo Calzaghe

Renowned Welsh trainer Enzo Calzaghe took a break from boxing after the retirement of his son, former super-middleweight and light-heavyweight world champion Joe Calzaghe, only to find the lure of the sport too strong to resist.

Calzaghe is currently working with former charge Enzo Maccarinelli, who he guided to cruiserweight world title glory.  Both men have pledged to bring titles back to Calzaghe’s Newbridge gym.  With Maccarinelli in particular keen to net another world strap in order to honour the memory of his father, Mario, who passed away last month. 

Calzaghe, however, was unable to take his place in Enzo’s corner during the Swansea fighter’s routine win over Ireland’s Ciaran Healy at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on February 25 due to a delay in his BBBoC license reapplication.  However, Enzo believes that he never officially retired so should have been allowed in the corner despite requiring a first aid refresher course in order to be relicensed. 

“I’m gutted that they banned me from the corner tonight,” said Enzo.  “35-years of giving to the game for that.  It is an insult in a way.  I never properly “retired”, put that in quotes, so I can’t understand it.  I never relinquished my license, I was late paying my money and paid a fine – I apologise for that.  But I have never refused to pay my subs and never officially relinquished my license.  I did my first aid before and don’t see why I should have to do it again to be given my license. 

“It is wrong.  My boy was relying on me to go into the corner with him.  How can you allow Enzo to go in there without the trainer who has worked with him for eight-weeks?  I can’t ask for special treatment, but you don’t go to Freddie Roach or Manny Steward and ask them to do a first aid course.

“Who cares about a first aid course when I brought my son to 46-0, had 40 fights without a loss (as a trainer) and a lot of world title fights.  Why am I in this position?  It is embarrassing.  I have spoken to the board, I hope to get it sorted out, but I still don’t understand why I couldn’t work the corner.” 

The board can point to numerous ‘Enzo Calzaghe retires’ headlines, a late subs payment, the due process of reapplying for a license and the lack of a first aid refresher when defending their decision.  Enzo, though, disagrees with the need to do a first aid course whilst acknowledging that the BBBoC have a process and he must wait for the formalities to be completed. 

“Why do we have paramedics here?” Enzo answered when asked if he understands the need for a first aid refresher.  “They will help the fighter if he is hurt in the fight.  The board want you to have a first aid certificate to work in the gym, well my gym is my home, and my house belongs to me, it is nothing to do with anyone else what goes on in my house, it puzzles me.  What if Enzo had problems and needed his trainer?” 

Calzaghe believes that ‘Big Mac’ was operating beyond his natural weight limit when dropping crushing defeats to David Haye, Ola Afolabi, Denis Lebedev and Alexander Frenkel.  He said: “Listen, he was out of his weight category when he lost those fights.  Joe Calzaghe, Floyd Mayweather, name any fighter at the top of their tree and ask if it isn’t too much for them to give to be fighting above their natural weight.  What Enzo has achieved up there shows that he is a class act. 

“Enzo’s had tough times, he has a brave heart and looked destined to retire, but he can still add something to the sport.  Can I force him to fight at light-heavyweight?  No.  Can I ask him?  Yes.  So I will ask him to stay.” 

Speaking of returns, the suggestion that Joe Calzaghe may one day look at his old stomping ground and decide to come back to the sport brought a wry but firm response from Enzo.  “I would say, ‘Joe I’m happy with that, but I want 95% of your purse!’” joked Calzaghe when asked if his son has voiced any thoughts of a return.


“Joe did something many would want to do in boxing, he retired 46-0 and as a great.  All my compliments go out to Joe, but when the passion is gone, when you’ve done it all and the ambition is not there then you need to leave it behind because you can never buy that passion back.” 

By Terence
Dooley

Boxing Monthly magazine and
UK Editor at www.boxingscene.com 
Courtesy of Ricky Reeno