By Frank Warren
Carl Froch defends his IBF super-middleweight title this evening at the Capital FM Arena in his home city of Nottingham against American Yusaf Mack.
Mack, a second tier fighter, hasn’t weighed inside the 12 stone, super-middle ‘cut-off’ for over five years.
People are continually banging on about the series of tough back-to-back fights that Froch has had. But that’s what he signed up for when he entered Showtime’s Super Six tournament and he was remunerated accordingly.
Has his opposition really been that great? Jermain Taylor and Arthur Abraham were essentially ‘long-in-the-tooth’ middleweights yet the former came to within 14 seconds of defeating Froch.
Andre Dirrell was unlucky to lose by the judges in Froch’s home city in October 2009. Glencoffe Johnson, though still a fine fighter, was already 42 and dipping, when Froch nudged home on a majority decision.
Certain vested interests are trying desperately hard to pass Froch off as one of the greats of British boxing. Do me a favour!
Carl’s a tough, gutsy so and so who owns a granite chin and he’s done England proud, especially with his wins over Lucian Bute at home and overseas, for a number of years now. But he’s definitely no legend. Legends sell out quickly in their home city, especially when they claim to be coming off the finest win of their careers!
Let’s not forget that the Midlander conceded by unanimous decision to Mikkel Kessler in 2010, and it was a lesser version of Kessler. The Great Dane has never been the same force since Joe Calzaghe – now there’s a great – comprehensively bashed him up before a proper crowd, exceeding 50,000, at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium back in 2007.
Subsequent to that, Froch was systematically taken to school - and again unanimously outpointed - by California’s Andre Ward in the final of the Super Six. The Cobra’s CV is littered with good wins but no great ones and, at 35, it’s unlikely that any lie ahead.
Let’s get one thing crystal clear. Just like Bernard Hopkins, Froch swerved a fight with Calzaghe. Twice, when he was out of contract, I met with Froch and offered him the title shot but all he kept bleating on about was when did Joe intend moving up to light-heavy.
Though the Welshman was five years older and well into his mid 30’s at the time, he’d have the beating of Carl. I knew it, Carl knew it and more importantly Joe Calzaghe knew it!
He should look good tonight in getting Mack out of the way.
WBO light-heavy king Nathan Cleverly made a big splash across The Pond last weekend when he defended his belt with a top class eighth round stoppage of industrial tough Native American Shawn Hawk in Los Angeles.
My son Francis, who was present, said that ‘Clev’ received big applause from the notoriously Brit-sceptic US media at the post-fight press conference. Clearly they were won over with the unbeaten Welshman’s fitness, industry, skills and clinical finishing.
Of course, at 25 years old there remain areas for improvement. For a start, Nathan needs to adopt a diet more commensurate with that of a world class athlete and must also shed his craving for wars with fighters who are technically inferior.
His father Vince does a good job delivering Nathan to the ring in supreme fighting fettle, but a little fine tuning needs to be done on the technical side if ‘Clev’ is to flourish at the highest level. However, Nathan certainly shan’t be hooking up with Freddie Roach in Hollywood. The Californian coach hardly worked miracles with Amir Khan.
Injuries and inactivity made 2012 a difficult year but hopefully ’13 will prove lucky for the 25 year old. Mandatory commitments loom large but I’ve a loose agreement in place with Golden Boy Promotions for Cleverly to meet Bernard Hopkins next year.
The fight I’d really love to put together would be Cleverly against Froch, indoors or out, at The Millennium Stadium. It’s a no brainer. Froch won’t even need to put his super-middle world title on the line.
Despite Froch’s ‘greatness’, I’d be backing the boy from the Rhondda heavily. He’s still to peak, has searing speed, an excellent engine and can hurt you; all the ingredients Froch has struggled with in the past!
Tune in to BoxNation this evening (SkyCh.437/Virgin Ch.546) to catch a butcher’s at Adrien Broner who hardnosed US critics insist is the ‘Next Big Thing’.
The flash, trash talker from Cincinnati, who orders his dad to brush his barnet prior to conducting post-fight interviews, challenges grizzled Mexican Antonio DeMarco for the WBC lightweight crown in Atlantic City.
The Yanks, who’ve not had a lot to scream about recently, are whipping themselves into a lather about ‘The Problem’, 23, who is unbeaten in 24, with 20 knockouts.
If he comes through tonight, and WBO king Ricky Burns sees off Norfolk’s Liam Walsh on my big Christmas bash at The ExCel Arena on December 15th, a deal is in place for the pair to collide in a unification bash in late February or early March.
Broner is blessed with sizzling hand speed and appears a special talent. But so is Burns and I’ll tip him to burst Broner’s bubble. The Scot has beaten far superior opposition to anything Broner has faced.
Liverpool talent Paul Butler landed a sensational body shot to flatten John Donnelly last week to win the British Super-Flyweight title.
Boxing’s lightest weight division are sometimes seen as unglamorous, but the exciting, all-action Butler could change that in years to come.
It was perfect body shot, one of the best I’ve seen in recent years, and Butler said afterwards, “He was never getting up. It was that type of shot – a sickener. It went in one side of his body and came out the other.”
He once had heavyweights cowering in fear, but Mike Tyson was too scared to touch a koala bear in Brisbane this week.
Asked by a woman if he was afraid, Tyson said, “I just don’t want to be attacked by it. Good animals go bad sometimes.” The former world heavyweight champion is in Australia for a five-day motivational tour.
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