Former undefeated world middleweight and light-heavyweight champion “The Pride of Wales” Joe Calzaghe admitted Monday that he has battled cocaine abuse since he retired from the ring after he trumped Roy Jones Jr. by unanimous decision in November 2008.
Calzaghe (46-0, 32 KOs), one of the few titlists to ever hang-up the gloves with an unblemished mark, acknowledged he used the addictive narcotic in response to an exclusive story published in the News of the World newspaper about the Welshman.
“In talking directly to my fans, I am deeply sorry if anyone feels let down and I will make sure that nothing like it happens again,” said Calzaghe, 38, a dominant southpaw who Ring Magazine consistently ranked as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
“I very much regret my occasional use of cocaine in what have sometimes been the long days since my retirement from the ring. I am fully aware of the bad example that this sets to other people and particularly to youngsters and I apologize to my family, friends, and fans. It’s not a major problem in my life, but it is something that I am actively addressing.”
Athletes have long been plagued by difficulties adjusting to life after fame.
However, no athletes have historically encountered tribulations quite like boxers upon quitting The Sweet Science.
“It has to be tough to go from being the center of everything to a thing of the past,” said Brad Sherwood, 29, a South Boston resident who works as a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym in Medford. “I’m sure he thinks about returning to the ring all of the time.”
For the sake of Calzaghe, his family, fans, and legacy, hopefully “The Pride of Wales” can become happily acclimated to life outside of the ring.
Joe Calzaghe is not the first boxer to experience “long days since (his) retirement from the ring.”
Hopefully, Calzaghe will rebound sooner rather than later.
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