Carl Froch: “I may just put Kessler into retirement”

boxingby Geoffrey Ciani - This week’s edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with reigning WBC super middleweight champion Carl “The Cobra Froch. In round one of the Super Six super middleweight tournament Froch won a somewhat controversial decision against Andre Dirrell, who has since gone on to beat Arthur Abraham in round two. Now Froch prepares for his own round two match-up when he squares off against Mikkel Kessler on April 24 in Kessler’s home country of Denmark. Determined as always, Froch made his intentions clear—he plans on winning the tournament and doing so in style. Here are some excerpts from that interview:

His views on Kessler’s last performance against Andre Ward:
“There’s an old cliché, ‘styles make fights’. I don’t fight like Andre Ward, but obviously there’s a few flaws exposed there. He doesn’t move very well. He doesn’t move that well Mikkel Kessler. He can’t operate, he comes in and out in straight lines. He goes through the basics very well. So I’m not going to underestimate him or go in there with any set game plan, I’m just going to do my thing and that’s usually enough.”

Regarding his own performance against Andre Dirrell in round one of the Super Six:
“Yeah, I was very happy with my performance. I did what I had to do to retain my title against somebody who was being very negative, running and holding, and was somewhat skilled, as Andre Dirrell showed he possess in the performance with Arthur Abraham the other day. But with me, he chose to run and hold.. I mean Abraham is one of those quiet type guys who doesn’t really throw many punches or bring much variation to the game, so Dirrell was able to pretty much do what he wanted with him. Against me, he was always having that risk of getting hit and roughing him up and putting the pressure on him. He didn’t like that, so he opted to run and hold. As for my performance, I fought someone with very fast hands, very skillful, and he was never able to adapt to my style. I beat him at his own game, so I would give myself an A+ for that performance.”

On the fight between Dirrell and Abraham:
“I thought he boxed very well and he put combinations together to body and head, but Abraham stood in front of him just like a heavy bag would. It’s not hard to look good against something when there’s not much coming back and Abraham’s guilty of probably not working hard enough. He didn’t really fire much back and he held his guard very tight and upright. I’ve boxed people like that myself as an amateur and Eastern European fighters in the turtle defense like they say. It’s quite easy to just pick them apart and punch when you want and just move when they attack and you see anything coming. I told everybody before that fight Dirrell would probably outbox him and look like a million dollars doing it or get knocked out. Both of those happened. He outpointed Abraham and looked good doing it but he also got knocked out which was unfortunate for Dirrell. So my predictions came through, that’s for sure.”

On whether he believes Dirrell would have been able to survive the distance had Abraham not committed the foul that resulted in disqualification:
“It is difficult to say. I know it was counted as a knockdown in round ten, but there was a clear knockdown from where I was standing in my lounge watching it on TV. It looked like a clean knockdown. A punch connected on the chin and he went over. There was a little bit of a question mark around where his feet were when he fell over. Was it a trip or was he hit with a flush punch on the jaw when he went over. After that he was running and holding and surviving. Abraham was getting to him and catching up with him, but Abraham was tiring himself a little bit. So who knows, it’s the million dollar question whether Abraham was going to catch up with him and knock him out or was Dirrell going to survive? Dirrell probably would have moved, and held, and survived like he did against me.”

On whether he thinks he can take advantage of Kessler’s low confidence following his one-sided loss at the hands of Andre Ward:
“Obviously there’s an opening there to try and take advantage, but there’s the wounded fox syndrome where an animal’s been wounded and is bleeding. He’s going to come out fighting. You’ve got to realize Mikkel Kessler’s got absolutely nothing to lose now. He’s already lost his world title and he’s been put in a position now where he’s fighting for the WBC world title in his very next fight and on top of that it’s in his home town, so yeah he’s going to have chinks in his armor and that mentally can be seen as a bit negative. But is that going affect him enough to make perform really badly? Perhaps it might make him fight even better. All I could say is Kessler’s going to be a worse Kessler or a better Kessler, and what I will say is I’m going in the fight on the back of three great wins: Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell.”

Regarding who he believes would win the Super Six if he was included:
“Andre Ward’s obviously a very good fighter. He’s coming back off a win with Mikkel Kessler. Allan Green is very much an unknown quantity in my eyes. I’ve not seen much of him. He boxed on the under card when I fought Jermain Taylor and he got the kid out of there very early, he boxed against recently and got him out early as well, but this is at a certain level. It will be interesting to see how the Ward-Green fight unfolds, but I think the winner of that fight would, essentially without my entry, be the winner of that tournament because Abraham is limited, Kessler’s already been beaten by Ward, and Andre Dirrell—very good fighter, but he hasn’t got the heart that you need and I think there’s a question mark around his chin now. Even though he won the fight against Abraham, he got knocked out very badly so that’s going to mentally scar him and when he fights next he will be even more negative thinking with not wanting to get hit with one of them shots and get put to sleep temporarily. So I think you got to say it’s a Ward or a Green without ‘The Cobra’ being involved.”

On Allan Green replacing Jermain Taylor in the tournament:
“I think it’s a very feasible entrance. Allan Green is as good an entrance as anyone I could have picked. I think he’s probably the next best super middleweight other than the other world champion, Lucian Bute, who’s not got the heart to come into it. He doesn’t have the confidence because he was offered a place. I tried to get a fight with him before coming into the tournament and he basically just doesn’t want to fight anybody so he’s basically just ‘Mr. Annoying’ in the super middleweight. He’s got his own title and he’s sitting on it and picking easy fights, but without going into him, Allan Green I think is a great edition to the tournament. He’s a very worthwhile competitor into the Super Six. He deserves his place in here, that’s for sure.”

Regarding whether he agreed with Jermain Taylor’s decision to pull out of the tournament:
“I pretty much finished him off. Arthur Abraham took a lot of credit for that fight a lot of the craze for beating Taylor but I think he was already damaged goods when he fought Abraham and Abraham got him out of there. Jermain Taylor made the right decision coming out especially after the injury he received to the brain. I’m hearing he got brain bleed in his fight against Abraham, so you’ve got to say that’s the right decision to come out of the tournament, take some time off, to heal up, and reevaluate what you’re doing. Jermain Taylor’s had a fantastic career. He was undisputed middleweight champion, he beat (Bernard) Hopkins twice, he was an Olympic Medalist, he was a big, big superstar on both sides of the Atlantic. He can retire happily with his chin held high that he’s had a fantastic career.”

On how he feels he will do in his third round match-up against Abraham:
“Abraham, every time he seems to fight lately, he comes in with vertical forearms and a peek-a-boo style hiding behind his tight defense. I don’t think he’s big enough or strong enough. He can obviously punch hard, but he’s a middleweight coming up to super middleweight and I’ve stood next to him and I’m about four or five inches taller than him. I think he’s about 5’8”-5’9”, I might be wrong, he might be 5’9”—no, he’s not 5’10”. So I’m quite a bit taller than him. He’s got short levers as they say in England, he’s not got very long arms, he’s not a very rangy fighter so it’s difficult for him to get in range without taking about five or six shots on the way in. I’ve got fast hands, I got a long jab, I’m fit for twelve rounds—I don’t see how he can beat me. He’s going to have to try and steam forward and land a big shot and if he lands a big shot he’s going to land it on the granite chin of ‘The Cobra’ so it’s not going to make any impression. So I see the fight being a win for me ten times out of ten, simple as that. Andre Dirrell showed how to beat Abraham, but like I said unfortunately, he also showed how to get knocked out at the end of the fight.”

His views on the round two match-up between Ward and Green:
“I was really looking forward to watching that after I finish my job with Kessler but it’s been pushed back to June now for whatever reason. I heard Ward’s got a knee injury but there’s a lot of speculation around that, but I won’t put my money’s worth of comments in there because I don’t know the circumstances of his injury and stuff. I had a knee operation myself a couple of years ago and it can be quite a key injury. But how do I see the Green-Ward fight going? I don’t know. It depends on how good Green and like I said earlier, I have not seen a lot of Green to know if he’s got enough to put the pressure on and land his heavy punches against someone as experienced and as well schooled as the Olympic Gold Medalist and WBA world champion Ward. It’s going to be a good fight. It’s going to be awful close, but if Green puts the pressure on him and starts landing with his artillery he can win the fight, simple as that. But you I’m not a boxing commentator, I’m not a big boxing fan, I’m not a boxing expert, but I do know a few things about the super middleweight division and to me that fight’s a close fight and one that I can’t call just because of a lack of knowledge on both fighters, to be honest.”

His views on the third round contest between Andre Dirrell and Andre Ward:
“It’s hard to pick a winner out of Ward and Dirrell. Dirrell’s a good fighter with fast hands, but he’s a wounded soldier now. You’d favor Ward with experience and with the fact that he’s not been damaged. You got to remember now, Dirrell’s slightly damaged goods mentally, if not anything else physically. He’s mentally damaged, and Ward’s not had that so the smart money’s on Ward for the Ward-Dirrell fight.”

His views on the third round contest between Allan Green and Mikkel Kessler:
“Who knows? It’s another 50-50 fight. That’s what’s so great about the Super Six World Boxing Classic. All the matches are quite tightly wounded up because of the sheer style and experience of each fighter. I don’t know enough about Green to know if he can beat Kessler. I’d probably say Kessler beats Green, but who knows. After I beat Kessler, who knows what he is going to have left in the tank. I may just put him into retirement.”

His views on former super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe who is widely viewed as the best super middleweight of all time:
“The winner of this tournament is going to be considered the best super middleweight of all time. The only thing Joe Calzaghe’s going to be remembered for now is that issue from the press. When people mention Joe Calzaghe all they’re going to mention is that he’s a drug fiend and a coke-head.”

Regarding who he thinks will win the upcoming mega bout between Sugar Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather Junior:
“Shane Mosley possesses quite a lot of punching power and is still skillful but he’s in his twilight years. He’s pretty much hanging on to a career that finished a few years ago. Mayweather’s still up there with the best of them. He’s pound for pound the best fighter, even better than Manny Pacquiao who everybody is raving about over here. I see that fight going for Floyd Mayweather, I really do.”

On whether he has any fears about the fight going to the scorecards in Kessler’s home country of Denmark:
“The WBC is an honorable fighting organization and they don’t get involved in robberies or controversial decisions. They’re a great council. I’m an honorable champion. I’ve served the belt very well so going over to Denmark for me is not a worry because the officials, the judges, and everybody involved will be fair when scoring and I expect nothing other than a fair decision. The best man on that night should win the fight. Obviously I’m of the opinion that I’m going to be the better man on that night. Although it is in Denmark, it is a slight advantage for Mikkel because he’s got the home crowd advantage—some people consider that to be an advantage and some consider that to be a disadvantage, it depends on the person. You always have a chance that he’s landing his shots and the crowd’s screaming for him and the judges can see the work being done is being acknowledged by the crowd. It does help and it is slightly influential, but it’s my job to silence the crowd like I did in Connecticut in the middle of the forest in North America when I boxed Jermain Taylor. 95%-98% of the crowd was against me, but I don’t worry about going into the lion’s den because I’ve done it before many times as an amateur, I’ve done it a couple of times as a professional and I’ll be doing it again in Denmark on the 24th of April.”

“UK views can watch the Super Six World Boxing Classic group stage 2 fight between WBC Champion Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler live and exclusive on Primetime (Sky 480 and Virgin On Demand) on Saturday 24 April. Sky customers call 0871 200 4444 or go to for more information”


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Article posted on 10.04.2010

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