Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch (33-2, 24 KO’s) is still a man without an opponent after twelve months away from the ring.
The former four-time world super-middleweight champion has been teetering on the edge of retirement for the past few months, but as of late, speculations have been rife as to whom he will choose to end his career against.
Froch held two belts going into 2015; the IBF and WBA Word super-middleweight titles. He was stripped by the WBA last month due to a lengthy period of inactivity and he vacated his IBF strap in January after being ordered to defend it against fellow Brit James DeGale (21-1, 14 KO’s).
DeGale claimed that vacant title against Andre Dirrell in Boston, Massachusetts a fortnight ago in an entertaining, close fight, to become the first British Olympic gold medalist to win world honours.
Despite this confirmation of his talent, Froch still believes he would make short work of DeGale, as he explained to talkSPORT in an interview reported on ESPN
“I would love nothing more than to show the British people what I would do against someone like James DeGale. I know what would happen in that fight. That’s an easy fight for me. He’s a bit of a novice pro.”
Seeing as Froch has had numerous opportunities to do just that, these comments seem a wee bit disingenuous. He was mandated to face DeGale and vacated his belt. DeGale himself has been calling him out at every opportunity to no avail.
Froch, who has has surpassed all reasonable expectations of a man with his technical flaws, has become one of the greatest fighters ever to come out of the UK.
From 2008 onwards he ran a gauntlet of current and former world champions to compile a resume that would rival anybody’s.
Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler twice and Andre Ward were all on the menu. He lost some but won most in a fashion that was remarkable in his ability to take punishment and drive onwards to break his opponents’ wills.
He has climbed to and stayed at the top of the 168 lb. division and it is obvious he feels DeGale is still lacing up his hiking boots.
He was unimpressed with DeGale’s title-winning performance against Dirrell, who back in 2009 travelled to Nottingham to face Froch and was very unlucky to be judged the loser after he made the hometown man chase shadows for twelve rounds.
“I thought DeGale just did what he had to do to win the fight [against Dirrell]. I thought he could have pressed it home a little bit more when he got the knockdown when he seemed off the pace and on the back foot towards the end.
“If he fights someone like me, he wouldn’t get past round eight on that performance. He would get absolutely knocked out.”
DeGale appeared to coast throughout the latter stages of that fight. It was a dangerous tactic fighting on foreign soil and if he put on a similar showing against Froch -who looks like he could go five more rounds every time he goes the championship distance- he would certainly be in a world of trouble.
But we don’t know that for sure, and Froch’s dismissiveness towards DeGale is all too similar to the contempt he showed George Groves on the eve of their first bout in November 2013.
In the build-up that meeting, it was obvious from Froch’s comments and demeanour that he felt he would walk through Groves in no time at all. The opening bell rang and he was floored with a booming counter right hand not long afterwards.
What followed over the next seven rounds was the worst hammering he has taken as a pro. Froch managed to pull out the win in the ninth, but the contentious nature of the stoppage warranted a rematch between the pair, which Froch won decisively with an eighth round KO; he took that one seriously.
It has to be acknowledged that DeGale does not offer the same financial rewards as someone like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. would have before his most recent defeat, who Froch was targeting for a Las Vegas showdown before his elbow injury, nor does his reputation rival that of middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin (33-0, 30 KO’s), whose name has been increasingly linked to Froch’s over the past few weeks.
That fight would undoubtedly satisfy the ‘super-fight’ criteria for Froch to end his career with.
If that one fails to materialise, Froch may have to take the fight with DeGale or retire as he has so often hinted he will. His promoter Eddie Hearn would have no problem cultivating enough public support for another big Wembley showdown if it signalled a farewell to The Cobra.
He would get a massive payday and possibly become a five-time world champion. But does he want to chase a tricky southpaw, who is ten years his junior, around the ring for twelve rounds?
He obviously doesn’t want to fight DeGale for whatever reason, but he may just end up doing it.
A fight with DeGale is obviously way safer than fighting Golovkin at this stage in his illustrious career.