Britain is currently bracing itself for one of the biggest fights ever to be staged on these shores, with excitement levels soaring and soaring ahead of Saturday night’s huge rematch showdown between bitter super-middleweight rivals Carl Froch and George Groves.
Indicative of how big a deal this fight is and of how the return meeting has captured the imagination of the British public is the way the man on the street is almost constantly talking about the outcome. Seen by just about everybody as a 50-50 fight, some people are making an argument for a Froch win, with just as many fans making case for a Groves win.
Everything is on the line for both warriors, and we can expect something special for the £17.99 we must part with so as to tune in live on Sky Box Office.
Froch says his very legacy is on the line with this must-win fight, and a motivated and hungry Carl Froch is a most dangerous fighting man – as the following past performances of “The Cobra” prove.
Here, I give my picks for the Sheriff of Nottingham’s five best ring performances thus far in his thrilling, take on all comers career:
1: TKO 5 Lucian Bute. May, 2012.
No-one saw this coming. If Froch was to somehow take away the Romanian-born Canadian’s unbeaten record and IBF crown, the former two-time WBC boss would have to go through hell and battle harder than ever to win a close, gruelling, perhaps career ending decision. The 30-0 southpaw, big for the weight, was known as a lethal body puncher and he had stopped 24 of his victims. Froch, the tough fights having caught up with him, was meant to be the biggest name yet on “Le Tombeur’s” spotless record.
Instead, in one of British boxing’s most special nights, Froch manhandled the visiting fighter in stunning style. Coming out faster than ever, Froch proceeded to back Bute up, hurt him with big shots and take him into a painful world he had never been before. Bute, overwhelmed and showing it, took a shellacking in the 3rd, was badly hurt again in the 4th and was finally blasted into helplessness with barely a minute gone in the 5th. Drooping on the ropes totally beaten, Bute was saved by his corner. The sold-out Nottingham Arena erupted, a unforgettable performance and victory witnessed.
2: TKO 12 Jermain Taylor. April, 2009.
A genuine thriller that proved a sensational hit with the fans. Froch, making the first defence of his newly acquired WBC title, was knocked down for the first time in his career in the fight with the former middleweight king. Early on, the idea of “The Cobra” going to the backyard of “Bad Intentions” looked a bad idea.
Trailing on the cards going into the final round, Froch gave us one of his most incredible finishes, as he scored one of the most amazing turnarounds in many a year. With just 14-seconds left in the fight, the powerful and determined fists of Froch battered Taylor to defeat. This one ranks up there with Jake La Motta’s legendary 1950 come-from-behind win over Laurent Dauthuille.
3: WU12 Mikkel Kessler. May, 2013.
By his own admission, Froch was devastated by his 2010 points loss to Kessler. The first encounter was a terrific and savage battle, but Froch, fighting in Kessler’s homeland of Denmark, came up short. The fight was close, but Kessler deserved his win. Burning to get revenge immediately after, Froch got his chance three years later.
The return, which unfolded before a packed to the rafters O2 Arena in London, was as good, maybe even better, than the first clash. Both men gave all they had, yet this time Froch, having more left in the tank than Kessler, pulled it out and scored one of the most satisfying wins of his pro career.
Who knows, these two may meet in a rubber-match one day soon.
4: WU12 Jean Pascal. December, 2008.
Froch’s first classic and in the opinion of many his greatest action fight so far. Both “The Cobra” and Pascal were unbeaten and, in front of his hometown fans, Froch was determined to stay that way. The two warriors went to war with reckless abandon at times, sending shivers down the spines of fight fans the world over. A genuine contender for that year’s best fight, Froch-Pascal saw the two rivals batter each other so much that they earned each other’s respect – to the point where a handshake agreement promised a return fight.
5: WU12 Arthur Abraham. November, 2010.
Having won one fight in the “Super Six” tourney and then losing his second appearance, Froch needed to beat another former middleweight ruler in “King” Arthur to keep himself in the competition. Froch the smart boxer turned up in Helsinki, Finland, and he proceeded to both befuddle Abraham and confound his critics. Simply put, Froch gave the mighty Abraham a boxing lesson.