They never met in the ring, both are seemingly content in retirement and both former champions are massively respected for their ring achievements. Yet Carl Froch and Joe Calzaghe remain rivals – at least it sure seems so. More down to Froch than Calzaghe, the rivalry has continued; this due to the seemingly constant verbal attacks Froch launches on Calzaghe every chance he gets.
Case in point, Froch’s recent dismantling of Calzaghe’s pro record. Froch, speaking with Sky Sports, said, among other things, how Calzaghe “won the WBO belt by fighting an old, faded Chris Eubank, who was weight drained,” that Calzaghe “defended it for ten years against, I don’t even know,” and that when Calzaghe fought Bernard Hopkins, it was “so close and so debatable” who won. Froch says Calzaghe’s best win was “probably against an injured [Mikkel] Kessler.”
Indeed, there is no love lost between Froch and Calzaghe. But which of them had the better overall career, who has the better resume?
Let’s take a look.
Both men fought some big names, both guys went to America to tackle the big fights and both guys ruled the world for some time. Calzaghe of course never lost, and he ruled at both 168 and 175. Froch was decisioned twice and “The Cobra” never went above super-middleweight. But an unbeaten record does not mean everything.
Let’s take a look at the best wins both warriors managed to pick up.
Best win – KO5 Lucian Bute
W12 Mikkel Kessler
WTKO Jermain Taylor
W12 Jean Pascal
W12 Arthur Abraham
WTKO George Groves (fight-two)
W12 Glen Johnson
W12 Andre Dirrell
That’s some impressive resume. Froch lost to Kessler in their first fight and then avenged the close loss. Froch was handily beaten by Andre Ward (though two of the three judges had it close at the end). Does the fact that Froch lost to Ward (who of course Calzaghe never fought) take anything from Froch in terms of this debate? No. It’s undeniable, though, that Calzaghe beat an undefeated Kessler, a prime Kessler. So Joe gets the edge there.
Best win: W12 Mikkel Kessler
W12 Jeff Lacy
W12 Bernard Hopkins
W12 Chris Eubank
W12 Charles Brewer
W12 Roy Jones
W12 Robin Reid
Another impressive resume. But does Froch look to have the edge to you when it comes to big names beaten? It must be kept in mind how it was a faded Jones that Calzaghe beat (as Froch was at pains to point out when speaking with Sky Sports). And the Hopkins win was very close, a split decision, and as Froch says, debatable. Also, many people often say Reid deserved the decision in his fight with Calzaghe; Reid being a man Froch later stopped (Reid much past his best by then).
But if we look at close, debatable decisions, Froch was, in the opinion of quite a few, “gifted” the win over Dirrell. In terms of being hit and hurt bad, both guys were put down a few times: Calzaghe four times – by Hopkins and Jones and, earlier in his career, by Byron Mitchell and Kabary Salem. Froch was decked by Jermain Taylor and, heavily, by George Groves in their first fight.
Match the two together, put both records/careers/resumes under the microscope, and it’s clear Calzaghe and Froch are very, very evenly matched. This is why we fans KNOW it would have been a truly great fight – maybe even a series of great fights – had the two been around at their respective peak at the same time.
So who edges it, who has the better resume? For me it’s Calzaghe. By a half-inch.
Calzaghe’s final numbers: 46-0(32).
Froch’s final numbers: 33-2(24).