By Keith Idec
Carl Froch finds it amusing that Lucian Bute has tried to simulate the noisy Nottingham Capital FM Arena experience while training for their super middleweight title fight in Froch’s hometown Saturday night.
Bute’s handlers have even gone as far as using audio recordings of Froch’s fiancée, Rachael Cordingley, who can often be heard screaming from her ringside seat throughout Froch’s fights.
“I don’t know if it’s going to [help] or not,” Froch said. “I think it’s very comical, if you want an honest answer. It’s quite funny that he’s doing that. But other than laughing about it, I don’t really have anything else to say, to be honest. It can only be worse with Rachel screaming while I’m trying to train, bloody hell.”
All kidding aside, Bute believes having recorded crowd noise blaring through speakers while he spars and works with trainer Stephan Larouche has helped acclimate him to what he’ll hear during a rare fight outside the comfortable confines of Quebec.
“We try to re-create as much as we can,” Bute said. “I’m sure it’s going to be a little different in the ring, but I know that this fight … there is going to be an amazing atmosphere, something I’ve never tried before.”
All but four of Bute’s 30 professional fights have been contested either in his adopted hometown of Montreal, mostly at Bell Centre, or Quebec City, mostly at Pepsi Coliseum. The unbeaten IBF super middleweight champion has boxed outside of Quebec just twice in the last 7½ years, both times in his native Romania.
The 32-year-old Bute (30-0, 24 KOs) has thus never really fought before a large crowd that didn’t favor him since the popular southpaw turned pro in November 2003.
Froch (28-2, 20 KOs) last fought in Nottingham in October 2009, when the two-time former WBC champion edged Andre Dirrell (20-1, 14 KOs) by split decision in a 12-rounder that was part of Showtime’s “Super Six World Boxing Classic.” Both boxers thought they won a very closely contested bout, but one thing definitely was clear --- a raucous sellout crowd of nearly 9,000 gave Froch an obvious advantage.
The 34-year-old Froch figures to receive the same assistance Saturday night (EPIX; 6 p.m. EDT; 3 p.m. PDT), when they’ll square off in what could be a home-and-home series if Froch wins.
“[Hearing] Rachel screaming isn’t going to prepare him for 9,000 people in the Nottingham Arena,” said Froch, who has fought in Nottingham 13 times since he turned pro 10 years ago. “It’s not just the noise. It’s the feelings, the vibrations. You can feel the noise. You can’t just hear it. It’s deafening in the arena.
“I mean, I know he’s fighting in front of 17,000 fans or whatever it is in the Bell Centre, but they’re a very reserved crowd that sort of sit there and behave and don’t make much noise. The atmosphere in the Nottingham Arena, he’s not going to be ready for that. And you know, playing the tapes and making noise, it may or may not help him.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.