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Virgil Hunter: McCracken has no confidence in Froch thinking on his own.
June 07, 2011
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: VIRGIL HUNTER
By Doveed Linder
On Saturday night, Carl Froch defeated Glen Johnson via majority decision as part of the semi-finals of the Super Six World Boxing Classic. The stage is now set for WBA 168-pound champion Andre Ward and Froch, the WBC 168-pound champion, to face each other in the final fight of this tournament. BT recently spoke with Wardís trainer, Virgil Hunter to get Hunter's take on the Showtime Super Six Tournament.
What are your thoughts on the fight between Carl Froch and Glen Johnson?
Virgil Hunter: It was a good fight. I thought Froch fought the fight he needed to fight to win. I think he thought that he was going to be able to box him the whole time. If he hadnít had fought him in spots, I donít think Glen would have faded during the last two or three rounds. He didnít fade to the point he couldnít work, he just couldnít put it together like he wanted to. I thought Froch fought a good fight considering who he was fighting and my hat goes off to him.
BT: Going into the Super Six, many viewed Froch as the least capable of the bunch, mainly because he was shut out for most of the fight when he faced Jermain Taylor [although Froch won by last-round KO]. Are you as surprised as some that heís proven to be a legitimate top guy?
VH: No, Iím not surprised. Without stamina problems, Jermain Taylor is a formidable fighter. You take away the stamina, you take away the chin problems, and youíve got a tough kid. Itís like a horse race. Nobody remembers who was winning three quarters of the race, you remember who crossed the finish line. And Froch crossed the finish line. So that in itself tells you something about him. And I thought he beat Mikkel Kessler. I thought he lost to Andre Dirrell, but I thought he beat Kessler. And I thought that Arthur Abraham underestimated him because of the Kessler fight. He went to war with Kessler and he figured if he fights me like that Iím going to be able to walk through him. So he underestimated him and thatís a no-no in this business. And Jean Pascal fights in spurts and he was in a war with Pascal (which Froch won). But you have to take your hat off to him.
BT: Have you started breaking Carl Froch down as a fighter? Will you be formulating a game plan or just sort of going with the flow?
VH: Well, you know, Iíve watched him. And Iíve watched the adjustments that heís made and the adjustments heís made are very interesting. Initially, he wanted to be an Arturo Gatti type warrior. But the Kessler fight got him thinking. He was 32 years old when he fought Kessler and he fought that type of fight and he felt it. Youíre going to ask yourself some questions. Am I going to fight every fight like this? Toe to toe, give and takeÖ So he made adjustments. And the very type of fighter he ridiculed is the very type of fighter he had to become if he wanted to continue in this sport. He wonít be able to box against us and I already know that. So I donít think thereís really a complicated game plan for Froch. When you have advantages, those are the advantages that you use. If I have a sawed off and you have a .38, Iím not going to try to use a 9mm. Itís simple. I use the sawed off. So in that respect, I think as the fight goes on that we are going to be able to adapt to whatever he does. But more so in this fight, weíll be able to dictate to him what we want to dictate at given times. Thatís not taking anything away from him. But thatís what I feel weíre going to be able to do.
BT: Do you believe that Froch will be Andre Wardís toughest test so far?
VH: When I think tough testÖ I donít want to say yes and I donít want to say no. But I feel that weíve been tested. I thought Kessler was his toughest test so far. He was the number one guy, he was formidable, and he was legitimate. And heís a guy who can fight his butt off. So I thought Kessler was our toughest test. I donít know if Froch will be the toughest test. The last guy standing doesnít necessarily mean the toughest test. I think this fight will be more intriguing than anything. I believe Froch has a lot of bravado, but heís contradicted this with some of the things heís said and some of the mistakes heís made. Heís unsure of a lot of things about himself. And one of the things thatís going to hurt Froch in this fight is his coach.
Now, Froch has a great coach [Robert McCracken, 33-2 as a pro and lost a 2000 WBC middleweight title bid to Keith Holmes]. But his coach made a statement and I picked up on this a long time ago. He said, ďIf he listens to me, heíll win.Ē Thatís very profound. What heís saying is that he has no confidence in him thinking on his own. If you make that kind of statement, youíre saying that you think he can be kind of boneheaded at times. And Froch has shown that, so McCracken is justified in saying that. Now, we go back to the Dirrell fightÖ ďPlease, mate! Donít blow this!Ē You see, here comes the false bravado about what heís going to do to Dirrell. In the tenth round, heís telling Froch, ďPlease donít blow this!Ē
In the ninth round when Froch comes back to the corner when heís fighting Mikkel Kessler, he says, ďCome on, man! You gotta pick it up!Ē Froch says, ďIím tired. Iím so tired.Ē Weíve seen him in these types of fights where heís mindless and heís not thinking. And I watched him last night when he was getting into the ring. And McCracken didnít stay out of his ear for one second before the fight started. Now to me, thatís really nerve-wracking, but maybe heís used to it. But if something isnít working where heís not doing what he wants him to do, thereís going to be chaos in that corner. Because Frochís instincts are going to kick in and McCrackenís stubbornness is going to kick in. And if McCracken stays on just one game plan, heís going to get him beat up. And if Frochís instincts kick in, thereís going to be chaos in that corner.
BT: Those are some interesting observations.
VH: Well, I like to know them (the opposition). I get to know them. And Froch, more than Abraham, is a really engaging person. I like everything about him. I like his whole get up from his team down to the lovely Rachael. I met her in Vegas and I was like, ďYouíre gonna take a picture with me.Ē She was so genuine. And I mean, manÖ She just cares for this guy. So with me being a human being, I just think itís fascinating. And Iíve gotten deep with the situation. Because sometimes it goes deep when you get into the ring. You have to know the whole makeup.
BT: What are your thoughts on Andreís performance against Arthur Abraham?
VH: You know, in this particular fight, I felt if the referee had left us alone, I think he would have stopped Arthur Abraham. Working inside was a big part of our plan, but the ref didnít let us work inside. They didnít want it on the inside. But youíre not going to be able to stop him picking him at the end of the punches. You can catch him on the end of your punches and beat him up, but youíre not going to stop him. You have to get inside and wear him down and get him with those short punches that heís never been trained to defend against. So that wasnít allowed to happen and in that respect, I give Andre an A because he followed the plan to a tee. We said, in the first three or four rounds, letís just see what he wants to do and all we need to do is break even. And thatís the first time I asked him to do that. Letís just break even with him. That doesnít mean that heís hitting you. That means that your activity might not be that high and he might simply throw more than you that round. The judges will give it to somebody, but letís make sure we donít give up more than two in a row. Weíll find out what he wants to do. And we just made the determination that he was going after the knockout, so letís attack the knockout. Letís attack the knockout and discourage him and thatís what happened.
BT: The fight everyone is starting to look ahead to is Andre Ward-Lucian Bute. What are your thoughts on Bute [the IBF 168-pound champion]? Does he deserve the credit he has been getting, given the fact that he has not been facing top guys?
VH: Of course, he deserves the credit. Whoís out there for him to fight? Everybodyís tied up in the tournament. Librado Andrade wasnít anybodyís joke. Thatís for sure. And heís done what heís supposed to. Heís done away with them. And thatís all you can ask for. You canít take anything away from him, because thatís all thatís available to him. I think heís an outstanding fighter. Heís developed a left hand as a major weapon and thatís a weapon everybodyís going to have to take seriously. Heís a big draw in Canada, so my hat goes off to him in that respect. Thatís big in this business. Heís going to make money. You know, I love fighters. I love fighters. And you got a kid who can draw in his hometown, heís willing to fight the Super Six winner, and heís willing to fight the guys who have fallen off the Super Six. I think heís an outstanding fighter.
BT: Well, hopefully the fight happens.
VH: Iíll put it like thisÖ If we win the Super SixÖ And Iím adamant about this, I donít think that Bute should be rewarded with a top fight like that right away. I think that he should go through the process like anybody else. Because there are very formidable fighters in the Super Six, but I believe that he will fight somebody of the Super Six caliber before Ward and Froch takes place. You have Glen Johnson, you have Kessler, you have DirrellÖ And thatís whatís funny, because nobody is talking about Andre Dirrell.
From Boxing Talk . com