By James Slater: Sometimes, it puzzles me what fight fans want, and what they like and respect. Take Britain’s Carl Froch for example. Here we have a fighter who gives his all each and every time out, a warrior who always looks to fight the best, and a fighter who has an incredibly exciting style. But is he popular, at least as popular as he should be? No. On this website alone, there have been many, many comments left by fans hoping to see “The Cobra” KO’d, beaten – even humiliated.
Going into his fight tomorrow night, lots of fans have spoken of how they want to see Arthur Abraham beat him, to KO him and to shut him up. I just don’t get it. What is it about Froch these fans don’t like? Some say the 33-year-old former (and future?) WBC 168-pound champion is too cocky for his own good, and it’s true Froch speaks his mind and is confident ahead of each and every fight he has. But this self belief is being mistaken, I believe, for arrogance. Yet Froch is not arrogant, he is just supremely confident in his own abilities.
Yet even though he has backed up his talk every single time apart from once in 27 pro bouts (and the points loss to Mikkel Kessler, in a fight that was about as good as it gets, was one that some said was undeserved), fans aplenty choose to dislike Froch. I think a fighter like Froch, who is both exciting and willing to rumble with the best, as I’ve said, deserves way more respect than he is getting. Not only that, but Froch should be recognised as the fighter who has perhaps the best recent resume in the sport.
Consider Froch’s last four opponents: Back in December of 2008, he rumbled (in a truly great fight) with Jean Pascal; the man who subsequently moved up in weight and became THE best light-heavyweight on the planet). Then, in his first defence of the WBC super-middleweight belt he won in that thriller with Pascal, Froch travelled to Connecticut to give us another classic, this one seeing him come from behind to halt the still-formidable Jermain Taylor in dramatic fashion.
In his next fight after that, upon entering the “Super Six” Boxing Classic, Froch took on the tricky, the skilled, the unbeaten and awkward Andre Dirrell. Some said he actually lost this decision, but Froch did enough in the eyes of some good judges. Then, when many fighters would’ve had a breather, “The Cobra” went to Denmark to face the mighty Kessler. He came up short in that fight, back in April, but what a great battle it was for the fans.
And now, as we all know, Froch goes in with the immensely strong “King” Arthur Abraham in his next fight, tomorrow night. If you’re counting, this fight will mark the fifth occasion in less than 23 months that Froch has rumbled with a top-class, close to pound-for-pound-worthy opponent – The four men Froch last fought having a combined record of 109-4-1! And now “The Cobra” braces for the 31-1(25) Abraham. In all honesty, has ANY active fighter got a better and more impressive resume they can display from the last two years?
Maybe, if Froch does as I think he will and beats Abraham (I like Froch by tough, close decision), he will get the respect and the acclaim he deserves. Right now, though, for the things he has achieved so far and for showing willing when it comes to tackling the best each time out, even if it means going to the other guy’s homeland (Andre Ward, who almost always fights at home, should take note) Froch should be applauded by the fans.
Instead, by a good many fans, the blood and guts warrior who has already given us three absolute classics, gets stick. All I can add is this: enjoy Froch while he is around, for precious few fighters with his mentality, his ability and his sheer toughness come around very often. Cherry picking and ducking and dodging are things Froch knows nothing about. Neither does he know how to fail to give his all when he climbs into the ring.
Ask yourself – what more do you want in a fighter?