By Terence Dooley
Carl Froch's rematch with George Groves will not go to purse bids. The IBF have confirmed to BoxingScene that both parties have reached a private agreement. The Super middleweight title fight should be announced on Sky's Ringside show on Thursday evening and is likely to take place in May.
"We have been informed by Carl Froch's people and George Groves's people that they have come to an agreement, so it will not go out to purse bids," said Daryl J. Peoples, the IBF's President, when speaking to BoxingScene over the phone.
"It is an excellent fight, great for the IBF and the U.K., and I understand that there's been quite a demand for it (the rematch) — they're two top-notch fighters. We haven't been notified of a venue just yet — they're trying to finalize those details — but I understand that the contracts will be with us soon."
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom confirmed that an extension to the deadline was agreed by the IBF and that a deal is being worked on, but he sounded a cautionary note. "We asked for an extension last Friday," said Hearn. "We sent an email saying we'd made progress and would get the contracts to them in due course, so it's still ongoing, but close. We have made significant progress, but they (the IBF) haven't got contract yet and until we send them it's not done.
"Without a question," he said when asked if it is a viable a stadium fight. "I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I took this indoors because you never know what it could have done."
It ends the "Will they, won't they" soap opera saga that has dominated British boxing's headlines ever since referee Howard Foster stopped their first fight in the ninth-round in November. Many felt that the stoppage at Manchester's Phones 4U Arena was premature, despite the BBBoC backing Foster over his decision, and calls for a rematch have reverberated throughout the domestic scene over the past few months.
Groves has consistently maintained that his head was clear when Foster stepped in; he even went as far as lobbying the IBF for a rematch, citing the referee's decision. His wish was granted last month when the governing body upheld "Saint" George's complaint and ordered a return. A February 8th deadline was imposed, beyond this point it would have gone to purse bids, but the parties managed to work things out in time.
IBF purse bids rules meant that Groves could have been facing an 85-15% split in Froch's favour; Groves appealed against this decision but was unsuccessful; that split is now moot as a deal has been reached.
Groves has also attempted to have the result changed to a No Contest, he submitted his case to the BBBoC last week and it is being heard today. It means that, as things stand right now, Groves is still 19-1 (15) going into the return bout, but he will have learned a lot from the first fight. The 25-year-old is likely to give "The Cobra", 32-2 (23), another rough night.
Froch, though, believes he was in the ascendency and has argued that the stoppage prevented him from a glorious, and clean, KO win. The 36-year-old champion will no doubt hope to underline his credentials by removing any lingering doubts doubt come fight night.
Please send news and views to [email protected] or Twitter @Terryboxing.