By Keith Idec
Rob McCracken knows what it’s like to train a favored world champion who won’t work as hard as usual for an opponent he thinks can’t beat him.
That’s what happened when Carl Froch didn’t prepare properly to defend his super middleweight titles against George Groves in their first fight. It nearly cost Frosh dearly, as Groves floored Froch in the first round of a fight Froch came back to win by ninth-round technical knockout in May 2013 in Manchester, England.
McCracken has had no such difficulty getting Anthony Joshua ready for his heavyweight title fight against Carlos Takam on Saturday night.
The hard-hitting Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) is a 50-1 favorite over Cameroon’s Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs). Unlike Froch four years ago, though, McCracken is confident his fighter isn’t at all looking past this mandatory defense of his IBF championship at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales (Sky Sports Box Office; Showtime).
“It’s very different,” McCracken told London’s Daily Mirror for a story posted to its website Wednesday night. “I remember the conversation with Carl. It was at the latter end of his career. He had just beaten Mikkel Kessler, which he had an ambition to do, and George Groves became his mandatory, which he wasn’t overly happy about. He was stubborn in camp and should have prepared better because Groves is a tough fighter, as he has gone on to prove.
“There’s none of that with AJ because he has been a pro barely four years. Carl had been over a decade as a pro when he was grumbling about challenges from the UK for his world title. He enjoys it, Anthony. He’s not daft. He’s looked at Takam and seen he’s big, dangerous and powerful. It’s a tough sport and you can’t underestimate anybody.”
Froch, then the IBF/WBA super middleweight champion, also stopped Groves in the eighth round of their rematch. That bout drew a crowd of roughly 80,000 to Wembley Stadium in London.
Froch (33-2, 24 KOs) retired after defeating Groves the second time.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.