Carl Froch delivered a performance of devastating brutality to snatch Lucian Bute's IBF super-middleweight title before revealing he had considered retiring after losing his previous fight. The popular Nottingham 34-year-old was regarded as the underdog heading into the contest with unbeaten Romanian Bute, who was making a rare foray outside of his Canadian stronghold.
But Froch proved emphatically that defeat by Andre Ward last time out was by no means the beginning of the end for him, stopping the stunned Bute in the fifth round to add the IBF crown to the WBC belt he held twice in the past.
Froch, whose record read 28-2 with 20 early wins coming into the fight, admitted in the build-up to the contest that he had much to prove after losing to Ward in the Super Six tournament final in America before Christmas.
He was at least able to rely on home support for the first time in three years after a daunting run of fights on foreign soil while Bute, 30-0 with 24 knockouts before Saturday, also wanted to answer his critics who questioned his unblemished but untested record.
"My decade of training as a professional with my trainer Robert McCracken has come together [on Saturday] and it had to, because after the devastating defeat to Andre Ward I was left questioning my future in the sport," he revealed.
"The desire has never been in question because I've always wanted to win the four belts and become a legend and remain at the top of the game until I get sick of it. I'm not sick of it yet. I still love boxing, I still love getting up in the morning and running, I love seeing my body change over the training camp. All that tonight has been brought to a head with this win. A lot of people, who are entitled to their opinion, had a lot to say. There's been a lot of negativity floating around but that drives me on and fuels me.
"But I did this [on Saturday] for myself. Because if I didn't win, I would have been left questioning my future in the sport. I may have even thought about announcing my retirement. But I'm so far from that after that performance because it was so clinical and devastating. I felt so strong and fit, I felt like I turned back time.
"I knew it was do or die. I knew that if I couldn't perform at this level any more then I don't want to go back to fighting for British and Commonwealth titles. But that was the very best of me [on Saturday] and there's a lot more to come in the future."