Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Hard night: Lucian Bute
Picture: Chris Vaughan

CARL Froch may have defined a career on Saturday, in a pulsating, unexpected manner in front of  a delirious crowd.

The Nottingham boxer wrested the IBF super-middleweight crown from previously undefeated Lucian Bute, finishing his foe in the fifth round of a bout which will be considered one of the greatest fought on these shores in many years.

But Froch’s achievement in claiming his third world championship was eclipsed a bigger accomplishment.  Written off by the bookmakers, some pundits and sections of the press – and contemplating his own retirement should he have met failure on Saturday night – Froch produced arguably the finest performance of his career.

From the pivotal third round, when Froch’s power changed his opponent’s expression to grave doubt from quiet confidence, the home fighter pursued his adversary with almost overpowering zeal.

And in the final stanza, the truth emerged. A man considered by the majority as the hunted – he was to be swinging fruitlessly at thin air while his supposed more skilful opponent moved away with ease – finished with killer instinct. It was a surprising finish, an outstanding finish. It was better than performances against Pascal or Abraham, Froch’s finest moment.

“I came to this week with the pressure on me,“ said Froch. “I need to be in world-title fights. I showed what I can do when I’m focused. I still feel young, fresh and ready for more.”

After clambering away from the precipice of retirement, Froch holds all of the cards as regards his plans. Suggestions that Bute may opt out of the contracted re-match in Canda – or even quit the sport altogether – are surely premature. He showed plenty of class following the defeat and is now likely to take reasonable time contemplating his options.

Froch, meanwhile, can consider a re-match against Mikkel Kessler, attempting to avenge a narrow defeat in a fine showing in Denmark during the Super Six. Andre Ward, now standing alone as the division’s top talent, could lie in wait as the final test of Froch’s career.

Irrespective of his next move, Froch will now take his place as one of British boxing’s greats. And most pleasing for those who love the sport, he earned every bit of it.


Froch to fight in Nottingham on May 5

Posted: January 24, 2012 in Opinion

Following on from talks about a two-fight ‘home and away’ deal with Lucian Bute, Carl Froch has begun to prepare for the final leg of his career by announcing a May 5 date against a “top 10 opponent”.

The “Cobra” believes he has no more than two years remaining in a career that has seen  him capture ‘world’ titles on two occasions – but most recently was punctured by the disappointment of a comprehensive loss to the undefeated Andre Ward in the final of the Super Six.

While the jam-packed super-middleweight division offers plenty of opportunity for Froch, the Nottingham boxer is likely to pick only a ‘decent’ name for his home-town fight before a summer re-match with Mikkel Kessler – who inflicted his first career defeat – or Bute.

The first name which sprung to my mind after hearing the news was a former Bute victim, Librado Andrade. He has a 30-4 record but has lost three of his past six, including a 12-round points decision and a fourth-round knockout, both to Bute.

Froch needs to look good and regain some confidence following the Ward disappointment, and this is plainly a tune-up fight. His other options, in general, don’t appear to fit at this point. James DeGale and George Groves are busy enough progressing in their careers and Froch is at a point where domestic wars carry more risk than reward. Anthony Dirrell is, at this point, simply too dangerous.

Dimitri Sartison would be the other option – and this could come to fruition-  but whatever the opponent, all eyes will turn to whatever summer offerings Froch is a part of. A comprehensive defeat to either Bute or Kessler could then bring forward the end of a career in which the Cobra has fought, and earnt, plenty of respect. Let’s hope he can stretch it further than this summer.