It’s official, former world super-middleweight champion Carl Froch is an International Boxing Hall of Famer.
Froch was enshrined in Canastota last week, primary on the back of his staggering run of 12 world title fights that saw him box in the UK, USA, Denmark and Finland, taking on the likes of Jean Pacsal, Jermain Taylor, Glen Johnson, Andre Dirrell, Andre Ward, Arthur Abraham, Yusaf Mack, Luian Bute and George Groves and Mikkel Kessler, twice each.
At the Hall of Fame, we asked Froch for his five best fights:
It was my first world title.
2. Jermain Taylor
That was my first defence and I climbed off the canvas to win.
2. Lucian Bute
That was just a whopping in Nottingham.
4. George Groves I
Probably first Groves fight and not the second one. To get knocked down in that first round with Groves, be as badly hurt as I was, then take a six-round shellacking, with him catching me with everything including the kitchen sink, for the first half of the fight, turn it round and regardless of whether the fight was stopped too early or not or whether it was controversial, that didn’t have anything to do with me.
That was the referee. He [Howard Foster] saw enough in George Groves that he was getting hit and hurt and he stopped the fight. For me, to survive the knockdown and six rounds of being a split second behind him… and he was punching hard and I wasn’t quite there… I wasn’t switched on… I wasn’t sharp. I probably hadn’t done enough training. I was doing a dance show with my wife, I didn’t give him respect, it was unprofessional.
[Trainer] Rob [McCracken] was telling me, ‘Listen…’ He [McCracken] came to me a couple of Mondays because I couldn’t be arsed to go to Sheffield, it was my attitude, I’d just beaten Mikkel Kessler, I’d made a few quid, I was on a dance show, I was doing the celebrity thing and for me to fight George Groves, I was a bit like, I’ve got children now. I’ve made some money. I had silk pyjamas on, as Marvin Hagler would say.
Maybe I was looking at, ‘When am I going to retire?’ Then we had the first Groves fight and we got through it. I got battered for six rounds.
The second one was steady, easy, a well calculated plan, getting the smallest ring possible in the biggest stadium. Rob managed to slip under the radar and totally dupe the opposing team. They didn’t have a clue until they got there, it was a 14ft ring and when they saw it, they were fuming but it was too late. And that fight was one punch. The first fight, to climb off the floor in round one and force the stoppage…
5. Mikkel Kessler II
I liked the Kessler first fight, but the Kessler rematch is the one.
Those are my top five.
That leaves no room for the impressive, clinical beatdown of Abraham, something Froch calls “a flawless victory.”
“If I don’t come through adversity or it’s not hard, I don’t consider it a great win,” Froch explained. “Even though it was a great win and a one-sided whooping in a freezing Helsinki, against someone who’s dangerous, against someone who was fit, I was so determined to get my belt back after losing to Kessler. Rob got the gameplan bang on. I don’t want to disrespect him [Abraham] because he’s a great fighter and say it was too easy, but I thought he was too small for me. He’d had 30-odd fights, he’d lost a disqualification and knocked most people out, and I totally whooped him. It was an easy fight for me. Because it was so easy, I wouldn’t put it as an all-time great fight. That was just a steady sparring session for me.”