It would be hard to conjure an argument against Carl Froch’s merits as a fighter. Hard-hitting, good selection of shots, fit, brave with quick hands. On the evidence this far, he’s a rounded contender and a stand-out challenger for the winner of Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler’s clash tomorrow night. But I can’t help thinking I’ve been hearing how good Froch is for an awfully long time.
Froch’s promoter; Mick Hennessy has become a deft strategist with the elite members of his stable. Carefully negotiating the maze of internal politics to present Junior Witter and Howard Eastman with British, European and WBC world title shots. Clearly, the game plan is similar for Froch.
I can’t criticise it. The classic route through the British belt, Commonwealth, European before a pursuit of the most revered of the sanctioning bodies is admirable and the world of boxing would be healthier if more promoters adopted it. An old fashioned but worthy course. No sidelines in WBU, no inter-continentals. Just good, plain meaningful fights.
Of course, this singular path requires an additional personality trait, from both the fighter and his fans. Patience.
Eastman waited a long time to get Hopkins in the ring. Witter needed to wait for an abdication to make good on his mandatory ranking. Similarly, Froch has been hovering in the top five for what feels like an eternity. Injury has intervened and nobody can plan for that, but to my mind Froch is arguably over a year behind schedule.
I had the good fortune to interview Carl in late 2005, and the talk was of a European shot and then on to world honours. Now in late 2007, Froch is still facing a British title challenger rather than a champion or fellow top tenner.
2008, has to be the year Froch finally lands a shot, or his prime may yet pass him by unbeknown to all of us. For the record, here is a press release capturing some of the Nottingham man’s thoughts on the seminal super-middleweight fight tomorrow.
PRESS RELEASE – 31-10-07
Carl Froch is calling on Joe Calzaghe to fight him after his world title bout with Mikkel Kessler on Saturday.
‘The Cobra’ defends his British Super-Middleweight Title for the fourth time against former world champion Reid Reid at the Nottingham Arena on a Hennessy Sports show with title partners GoldenPalace.net on November 9. Sky Sports will televise live.
Undefeated Froch wants to face the winner of the fight for Calzaghe’s WBO Title and Kessler’s WBA and WBC Titles.
Froch is aiming to show the boxing world who the real number one in the super-middleweight division is the weekend after world champions Calzaghe and Kessler box in Cardiff, Wales.
“I’ve been a big Joe Calzaghe fan over the years but have not been impressed by the way he doesn’t want to fight me,” said Froch.
“I think Joe Calzaghe should fight me really. He has had a couple of really soft voluntary defences rather than fighting me and I’ve got the hump with him over it.
“Okay, Kessler is a good fight, but he says he wants only big fights now and fighting me would be just that. There would be huge interest in Britain for it.
“I want Joe to win, and I think he will. But it’s probably better for me that Kessler wins, because then I’m more likely to get a world title fight quicker.
“I’ve been ranked in the WBC top three for the last year now and am due a shot at the title. But Joe has not wanted to fight me yet and is now talking about stepping up a division.
“If Joe loses and I fight Kessler and beat him, I can say I beat the man who beat the man. People won’t be able to say Joe would have beaten me then.”
Froch tips Calzaghe to out-point Kessler, although the ‘Cobra’ sees it as a risky fight for his fellow British super-middleweight.
“It’s a difficult fight to call,” said Froch. “Joe can be caught because he is getting vulnerable. Anything can happen, but when Joe is under pressure he rises to the occasion.
“I think Joe will do what he has to do to win on points. But if he gets knocked out, he will probably have to retire. He is talking about big fights in America, but he will not get any of those if he gets stopped by Kessler. You have to give Joe respect for taking the fight – it’s no formality.”
Hennessy Sports in association with GoldenPalace.net Proudly Present FROCH VS REID @ NOTTINGHAM ICE ARENA Friday 9th NOVEMBER 2007.
Doors 6pm, Boxing Starts 6.30pm.
£25 Unreserved Tiered & Reserved Floor
£30 Premium Tiered
£75 Outer Ringside
Call the Box Office on: 0870 121 0123
Book via the web: http://www.nottingham-arena.com