By Scott Gilfoid: IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch turns 36 today. His promoter Eddie Hearn is talking about possibly matching him up against his new IBF mandatory challenger George Groves. However, it’s still possible Hearn will have both fighters go in different directions instead of facing other before the end of the year.
Hearn said in an interview with Sky Sports “Both fighters have plenty of options…if it makes sense for both fighters neither has a problem with making it happen. We are in talks regarding a potential blockbuster domestic fight later this year.”
That doesn’t mean that Froch and Groves will fight each other. They both could go off in other directions, so that Groves could challenge WBO super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz, and Froch could fight Mikkel Kessler yet again. If that happens, look for Froch to get stripped of his IBF title if he doesn’t vacate before they do it.
The IBF ordered Froch to start negotiations with Groves and the two fighters have until July 12th to agree on this. Froch was previously supposed to face his previous mandatory challenger Adonis Stevenson, but he was able to go around that fight with the unification fight with WBA champion Kessler.
Now that fight is finished, the IBF has created a new mandatory and they’ve selected #6 IBF Groves for some reason. Froch can’t bypass this fight because he already did with Stevenson, and the IBF isn’t going to let Froch skip the mandatory challenger twice in a row.
As such, Froch will either have to vacate, agree to fight Groves, or have the title stripped from him. Hearn also could have Groves ignore the IBF and instead focus on Groves getting a title shot against Stieglitz. I don’t think that will change much in terms of the IBF wanting Froch to defend his IBF title.
They’ll likely then designate the next guy, in this case #7 IBF James DeGale, as Froch’s IBF mandatory. Somehow I don’t think DeGale will say no to that fight if the IBF makes him the mandatory.
The problem Froch wants a third fight with Kessler badly, and if he has to fight DeGale next, then he’ll be putting himself at risk of losing the Kessler fight if DeGale beats him. As bad as Froch looked against Kessler last May, I wouldn’t rule out DeGale or Groves beating him.