By Scott Gilfoid: If IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch (31-2, 22 KO’s) wants to keep his IBF 168 lb. title he’s going to have to face George Groves (19-0, 15 KO’s) next, as the International Boxing Federation ordered today that 35-year-old Froch has to face the 25-year-old Groves next.
If not, then Froch gets stripped of the IBF strap. Froch and Groves must complete an agreement for their fight by July 12th of this month.
IBF chairman Lindsey Tucker said to The Sun “Adonis Stevenson was the mandatory but got tired of waiting for the opportunity to fight Froch and moved up to light-heavyweight to box for the WBC title. Under the rules, when that happens we go down the list to see who is next. We got down as far as Groves and he has been made our mandatory challenger for Froch.”
This is really, really bad news for Froch because he hasn’t been all that interested in facing Groves. Froch has been talking about wanting to fight Mikkel Kessler for a third fight for his next bout, even though Froch just beat Kessler last May in a fight that wasn’t controversial. I mean, there are zero reasons, other than money, for Froch to fight Kessler again after that fight. It would be like Froch turning around and fighting an immediate rematch with Arthur Abraham after having beaten him.
I’m sure Froch will find a way to slip out of having to face Groves; whether that be by vacating his IBF title so that he can face Kessler instead, or give Groves a step aside fee to take the fight. But then again, if Groves gets an immediate fight against WBO super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz, then that could save Froch from having to fight Groves.
I’m not so sure that Hearn wants to put Groves in with Froch yet. I think Hearn wants to let the fight marinate for a little while by waiting to see if Groves can capture the WBO strap before putting Froch in with Groves for a unification match. I think that’s a mistake because Froch could get beaten in the meantime.
If Froch fights Kessler again, I can see Froch getting beaten if Kessler shows a little more motivation. Heck, a totally disinterested Kessler almost beat Froch last May, and that kind of shows you how beatable Froch is at this point in his career. Froch is in a situation where he could lose his next fight no matter which of these guys he faces.
If Kessler can use his head next time to defeat Froch’s jab in the early rounds, he beats him. And I think Groves would definitely beat Froch at this point in his career. These fights will likely wrap up Froch’s career because I see him fighting a rematch against whichever one beats him, and then losing again.
There won’t be any point in Froch fighting Andre Ward, because Kessler or Groves will pick Froch off before that. Ward isn’t going to fight someone that’s lost his last two fights, who already has a controversial decision over Andre Dirrell.