As a world champion boxer, Joe Calzaghe faced some terrifying opponents, says a hackneyed newspaper intro. But now he could be facing the ‘fight of his life’, according to a well known set up, and this time it’s outside of the ring, says the predictable punch line.
According to the well-worn journalistic formula, the popular pugilist had millions of friends when he was at the top of his game. There was no shortage of hangers on. The famous 3AM girls would throw their knickers at him, and BBC game show producers would prostrate themselves – or their researchers. Everyone wanted a piece of Joe, if only to liven up their blokey panel shows and sport supplements.
But that all changed when Joe retired. Now, in accordance with strict media guidelines on sports careers, his story has taken a different trajectory. His career is about to hit the canvas and be counted out. ‘There’s only one way for Joe’s story arc to go now, and that’s down,’ said one newspaper legend yesterday. ‘He’ll know he’s reached rock bottom when he finds himself giving a tearful interview to Piers Morgan – and not feeling utterly disgusted with himself.’
‘I’ve been through some tough fights in my years as a boxer. But the toughest opponents I ever faced were inside my own head,’ Joe didn’t say, though the hack attributed the quote to him anyway. Impossible though it would seem to ordinary members of the public, waking up drenched in your own tears on Piers Morgan’s sofa has happened to many a sportsman who gets hooked on celebrity.
Last night, friends of Joe Calzaghe feared that if he loses his temper altogether, the red mist may make him forget to chin Piers Morgan. ‘If he could just find it in his heart to deck Piers Morgan, people may learn to love Joe Calzaghe again,’ said a story editor, ‘and he could pick up the pieces of his life and become a world champion all over again – this time in the sport of life.’