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 it's outside of the ring, says the predictable punch line!
According to cliche, the popular pugilist had millions of friends when he was at the top of his game. There was no shortage of hangers on. 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 deadly dull bloke-ish panel shows.
But that all changed when he retired. Now, in accordance with strict media guidelines on sports careers, his story has taken a different trajectory. His career is about to hit rock bottom. "There's only one way for Joe's story arc to go now, and that's down," said newspaper legend yesterday, "he'll know he's reached rock bottom when he finds himself giving a tearful interview to Piers Morgan - and not being disgusted with himself."
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. "One day you'll find yourself on a strange settee, with your clothes drenched by your own excretions," says one ex footballer . "You'll hope that it's your own urine, but it's not. It's worse than that. Your clothes are drenched in your own excretions alright - but it's a salty combination of sweat and tears, brought about by an intrusive interview under hot studio lights."
Last night, friends of Joe Calzaghe feared that if he loses his temper altogether, the red mist may make Calzaghe forget to chin Piers Morgan. "If he could just find it in his heart to deck Piers Morgan, people may learn to love Joe Cazaghe again," said a story editor, "and he could pick up the pieces of his life and start again."