Carl Froch - The Importance of Patience

By Greg Double - As the dust settles on what some consider to be the fight of the year, it becomes clear that one man has some very important decisions ahead. On Saturday night, having spent most of his career in the imposing shadow of Joe Calzaghe, Carl Froch battled his way to a profile and potential superstardom.

Superlatives rapidly appear in short supply when describing the fight - put simply it was brutal and breathe-taking entertainment.. The British boxing press are always prone to sensationalist exaggeration but, for the first time, the comparisons made to the epic Eubank-Benn encounters are valid. Huge punches, imperfect defence and granite chins - Nottingham had not seen this many bombs land since German aircraft targeted the city in 1941.

The exciting nature of the fight coupled with the significant exposure generated by terrestrial television and the prestigious WBC title leaves “The Cobra” in a strong negotiating position. Big title fights against the likes of Mikkel Kessler and Jermain Taylor could be just months away, while continued success could see Froch achieve his long-term dream of tempting Joe Calzaghe back in to the jungle. The key question that needs to be raised is whether Froch could undo all his hard work by fighting one of the above too soon.

I firmly believe that Froch has the capacity to beat the elite fighters in the super-middleweight division but he would improve his chances of victory with a healthy dose of patience. Froch’s punch resistance is so substantial a knock-out loss seems almost impossible, however his loose and sometimes lazy defensive style could contribute to a decision defeat. Of course, Froch’s power is evident and could be enough to afford losing rounds but it seems a risky strategy - especially against the likes of Kessler and Taylor.

Froch’s age is misleading. At 31 he is not a seasoned veteran, but a relative newcomer to the world stage. The previously undefeated Jean Pascal was the first world class opponent for the Nottingham man, who has spent much of his frustrating career dominating domestic, post-prime and late replacement fighters. The defensive frailties that were too apparent on Saturday can be attributed to a lack of experience at the highest level. When a fighter dominates, defensive skills suffer the most because they are left untested and as such do not improve. For my money Froch needs a couple more fights at the world level before taking on the elites.

Patience is a virtue that in this case has both commercial and fighting benefits. The fighting benefits are obvious. By fighting any one of the many well-respected boxers in the division, Froch will gain the experience and ring smarts that are crucial for any fighter with elite aspirations. The commercial benefits that come from this patient approach are also substantial. A few eye-catching victories on prime time television, against good opposition (Dennis Inkin’s WBO belt would be ideal) would do much to improve Froch’s blossoming profile as well as his technical flaws.

Of course the Boxing politics surrounding the mandatory status of Taylor could ruin all these plans. However, if his schedule and opponent remain the responsibility of his promotion team, Froch could see himself fighting one of Kessler or Taylor with better skills and an influential fan base that can be both the cause and consequence of commercial success. By giving himself the greatest chance of beating the SMW elites he gives himself a greater chance at getting the big one. Joe Calzaghe’s last fight against the heir apparent - yes please!

Article posted on 07.12.2008

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