By Michael Marley
Cocky Carl Froch, England’s boxing star who yearns for superstardom at home and abroad, played the part at a press conference Wednesday at the Edison Hotel Ballroom in midtown Manhattan which hyped his Showtime super middleweight tournament bout Saturday night against Glen “Road Warrior” Johnson.
While “Frochie” was kind and respectful to underdog Johnson, the Nottingham lad took a shot at the Florida by way of Jamaica fighter’s trainer, well respected Orlando Cuellar.
“Glen Johnson’s trainer is delusional,” Froch said. “Glen Johnson is not going to win the fight.
“He is not going to win a round. I will dominate, it will be a dominating performance.”
The two fight in Atlantic City’s Adrian Phillips Hall, a cozy setup inside the larger Convention Hall hard by the famous Boardwalk. Froch, age 33, owns a pro record of 27-1 with 20 KOs while Johnson's ring resume reads 51-14-2 with 25 knockouts.
Earlier, Johnson was his typical gentlemanly self.
“I am not about lip service, I’m not about the (prefight) talk,” the 41 year old Johnson said. “I’m about the fight and I will have the rest of the conversation on Saturday night.”
Speaking on how he came down from his decade long weight of 175 to 178 pounds, Johnson showed a bit of humor.
“I was a 175 old man but now I am lean, mean 168 fighter…but still an old man. I have a lot of respect for Carl Froch and you have to. He is a two time world champion and you have to respect that.”
Looking back, Cuellar’s podium remarks were hardly incendiary.
“On Saturday night,” Cuellar said, “you will have Glen Johnson, no fuss but in your face. No man has ever beaten up Glen Johnson and this is not going to be the exception,” the trainer said.
“I don’t expect the fight to go the distance. We know Carl’s strength, weaknesses and we’ll exploit them. He (Johnson) is the most successful underdog of the last 10 years.”
For his part, Froch stressed how a switch in promoters (Mick Hennessy dumped in favor of Barry and Eddie Hearn) led to a major “platform,” meaning that Sky Sports will screen the fight across the United Kingdom.
“It’s a big opportunity for a massive audience and a chance to be a supertar,” Froch said. “It’s the penultimate hurdle (in the tournament). People talk about the (Mikkel) Kessler fight but it could’ve gone either way, it was very close.”
Unebaten American Andre Ward remains the favorite to be the ultimate winner in Ken Hershman’s tournament. Ward is already seeded into the tourney finale fight.
Froch trainer Rob McCracken, a former British Commonwealth middleweight champ and considered by some the top coach in England, also got in a verbal jab.
“Glen Johnson is a true fighter, he’s been known as the Road Warrior but now the journey is over,” McCracken said.