Froch on the edge of Recognition?
By Jordan Stoddart: For a moment, I nearly inserted Greatness in place of Recognition. I will put that down to the hype and excitement of this weekend’s fight, and a slightly biased view from myself of Carl Froch. Actually, cancel that too; I am praying that Froch performs well and can be crowned the savour of British Boxing and leader of the new world.
It is a lot to ask a ‘slow’, ‘mule like’ and ‘unskilled’ boxer from Nottingham, England; about 225 miles from the town of Newbridge, home to the unbeaten and now retired/new found ballroom dancer Joe Calzaghe, and about a million miles away in Boxing Terms from the Mecca that is Madison Square Garden’s or a sell-out 70, 000 crowd in Cardiff’s millennium stadium.
Froch initially found fame on the domestic scene publicly calling out Calzaghe, time and time again. At the time, he had beat a steady flow of average, but solid, fighters, most from the UK, with standout KO’s of Brain McGee and Robin Reid. ‘Super Joe’ had just fought Roy Jones at the Garden in NYC to retain his Ring Light Heavyweight title and more importantly his ‘0’. He retired with a perfect 46-0 record, with 32 KO’s along the way, cementing himself as one of the finest European Boxers of all time. Sure he had his critics, mostly in the US, but were it not for a certain Filipino, Calzaghe would have retired top of Pound for Pound listings. The late surge in Joe’s career was in stark contrast to Froch’s average at best record. All that changed for The Cobra when he challenged Canada’s Jean Pascal for the vacant WBC super middleweight title; a belt held by his old and new foes Calzaghe, and Mikkell Kessler. The fight won acclaim both sides of the Atlantic for its frantic pace, brutal punishment, and pure heart and determination shown by both corners. Enthralling as it was, it did highlight an astonishing (some would say flaw) attribute of Froch’s; the ability to have your head hit with dynamite punches for 36 minutes without kissing the canvas. It’s a fantastic skill to stick on the CV, not so great to add to the dementia and Memory Loss that will kick in about age 40 if it continues to happen.
Carl Froch’s first defence was against the former double conqueror of Bernard Hopkins, a boxing legend who still sits pretty in the top 5 of most people’s greatest active fighters today. Amazingly, he was beaten convincingly twice by the recently schooled Kelly Pavlik. Taylor had pedigree, and a fantastic record, but obviously questions had been raised about his motivation and punch resistance since his 7th round TKO to Pavlik. Nonetheless, Taylor looked sharp and fast when Froch met him in Connecticut. One could argue that the first 6 rounds, especially with the 3rd round KO (Froch’s first KO at any level of his career) were a sign that Froch could not compete at this sort of level on the world stage. Froch continued to show awesome punch resistance, and from rounds 9-12, an amazing display of courage and heart folded out to the viewers watching worldwide. Rounds 11 and 12 saw Taylor wobbled badly, and he himself displayed a great chin, albeit to taste the canvas with 14 seconds remaining of round 12. It was an amazing feat, and caused shockwaves in the Boxing press. Yahoo Sports claimed that the morning after the fight, Froch was the most searched sportsman on the internet.
Fast forward 6 months and we see Froch keeping in the spotlight, entering the super six Tournament with a scheduled first round opponent in Andre Dirrell. Dirrell has an outstanding amateur record, and is a former Olympian who fights with a southpaw stance and possess’ excellent hand speed. Many say Dirrell will be a threat to The Cobra’s aim to win the tourney and to cement himself as the best Super Middleweight on the planet. I do disagree but I feel this fight will go the distance. What is imperative for Froch is that he shows he can fight on this stage, without displaying the nerves and lack of confidence he clearly showed fighting Taylor. You can somewhat understand this though, as it was an extremely hostile crowd, and one that Dirrell will be facing himself on Saturday. Froch V Kessler is a genuine stand out fight, and I can sense a certain Welshman getting itchy feet should Froch perform as expected.
He has a hometown crowd for his first fight; a decent display should see him gain some much needed confidence and momentum. The Kessler fight would be an absolute treat for any Boxing fan and promises to be a classic. I feel Froch can rule the world at his weight. As most British fighters do, he gets a lot of stick, but I feel with the exception of a talented, but recently disappointing, Haye; he is the best Boxer fighting out of these shores since the Pride of Wales retired. I would not be surprised if 2010/2011 sees Froch fighting Calzaghe, whether that is before or after the closing of this tournament. This excellent format has one glaring flaw itself; it is planned over an extremely long period which could see most likely injuries or retirement; but money spinning offers to fight in between the 3-6 month gaps that are planned are a more dangerous threat, or bonus; whichever way you look at it. I cannot say if Froch is a genuine contender for Calzaghe of Kessler for that matter. I just have a sneaky feeling that this fighter will produce the magic again. He has the X Factor, something which makes him stand out. If he continues to beat everyone put in front of him, and produces KO’s then his critics will have no choice but to stand up and take notice. This lad seems a bit special, I will be watching Saturdays events very closely.
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