The legacy of Carl Froch, one of Britain’s best
Four-time world super middleweight champion Carl Froch, nicknamed The Cobra, was renowned for his powerful uppercuts that often put his opponents on the canvass.
The Nottingham mans retirement is if anything well-timed, after winning two consecutive KO wins over British rival George Groves, their final meeting at Wembley Stadium in May last year, filled with 80,000 crazed fans.
Froch – who never shied away from fighting the best and also renowned for his exciting fighting style- won 33 of his 35 fights, with 24 of those wins by KO.
As well as twice winning the WBC title, he won both the WBA and IBF titles, leaving behind a legacy that makes a strong argument to call him one of Britain’s best ever boxers.
If there is one fight that summarises Froch, it’s against Jermain Taylor in his first world title defence, where he knocked out the American in the twelve round when he was trailing behind on all judges scorecards – after surviving a knock down in the third round.
He was a true ‘warrior’, a fighting man with a granite chin and often underestimated boxing skills.
Froch, who will now join Sky Sports’ boxing team, said: “I’m incredibly proud of what I have achieved in boxing but now is the right moment to hang up my gloves.
“I have nothing left to prove and my legacy speaks for itself. Nothing can replace the thrill of stepping into the ring.”
Having not fought for over a year, and at age 38, Froch had limited options for an athlete at the top level.
There were talks of him fighting fearsome middleweight puncher Genady Golovkin – who claimed he’d move up to super middleweight for the fight.
Froch told Sky Sports News: “Making the decision to retire and saying ‘it’s been a year, it’s too long, the fighting machine has gone, it’s not going to come back’, it’s still hard.
“The last thing I think about before my head hits the pillow is boxing, and when I wake up in the morning to think what time it is, and I think it’s half six, seven o’clock, should I be going for a run, where’s my trainers – it’s a lifestyle, a way of life, and it’s a mindset. I’ll always have that and I think I’ll always be itching for the big fight.
“There’s no greater feeling for me than standing victorious in the arena and I’m never going to get that again now, and I don’t know where I’m going to get that feeling from.
Fans will now compare his legacy to that of his British super middleweight rival Joe Calzaghe, but the two boxers had very different styles, and very different careers.
This debate over who would have won had they squared off, is among the most divisive of British boxing debates.
We take the view that while Calzaghe would have likely beaten Froch – peak-to-peak – due to his fast hands and refined skills, the Nottingham man Froch has carved out the better legacy.
Froch fought consistently better and tougher opposition, who were also at the peak of their careers.
Calzaghe most notable win, however, was against a peak Mikkel Kessler, and his two others over well-past-their-best fighters in Roy Jone Jr. and Bernard Hopkins – the latter in a very close fight where the Welshman visited the canvas in the first round.
The pair of British boxing legends never did fight each other, they were at different stages of their careers when Froch was calling out Calzaghe to step in the ring.
But what’s exciting is the new and current crop of British super middleweights who can hopefully fill the void left by Froch’s retirement.
In May James Degale won the vacant IBF world title against Andre Direll, a former Froch opponent, while George Groves – who holds a win over Regale as both amateurs and professional – will fight Badou Jack in August for the WBC version of the world title.
Should Groves win, as is expected Paddy Power have him at 4/7 favourite – we could see an all-British super middleweight world title fight to again pack out Wembley Stadium with 80,000 fans.
On the heals of this duo is Callum Smith, who is proving to be a real force in the weight division, with some pundits claiming him to best the best of the bunch.
Then we have Rocky Fielding and Frank Buglioni who would at best give the three former mentioned Brits a good scrap – but are unlikely to reach genuine world class status.
Who is the next British super middleweight to build a legacy that matches either Froch or Calzaghe?
The smart money would be on Degale.
Aside from this, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where any super middleweight in the world could beat American Andre Ward – who handed Froch one of his 2 recorded losses.
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