Widely regarded as the #1 fighter in Great Britain, Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch (29-2 21 KOs) makes the first defence of the IBF Super Middleweight strap he ripped from Lucian Bute in a 5 round blitz this coming Saturday in his backyard, the Capital FM Arena, Nottingham against American, Yusaf Mack (31-4 17 KOs).
This could be considered something of a ‘rest’ after a 4 year, 8 fight stretch (all of which have been for versions of the world title) which has seen the Brit go 6-2 against the likes of Pascal, Taylor, Dirrell, Kessler, Abraham, Johnson, Ward and Bute.
No other fighter in professional boxing can boast a run of top class opponents of that magnitude and when the curtain comes down on Froch’s career his legacy will surely be that he faced everyone, whenever and wherever was required and he left everything he had in the ring.
And while Mack cannot necessarily claim the credentials of Froch’s previous 8 foes, he is certainly no ‘keep busy’ while the contracted rematch with Bute takes shape. Mack himself is a world title challenger, losing in 8 to current IBF Light heavyweight belt holder Tavoris Cloud last summer.
The two are fairly evenly matched physically, standing 6ft 1 with 75 inch reach. Mack has fought his last few fights at Light Heavyweight and is ranked #5 at 175lbs by the IBF. He will be no pushover and Froch has assured his fans and the media alike that he has prepared with his usual meticulousness for the fight.
But the reality is that for Froch, Mack is not a ‘defining’ fight. He is a filler. A high quality filler nonetheless. But Froch and his promoter Eddie Hearn must surely have an eye on 2013 and the big fights that may well give Froch the opportunity to solidify and ultimately complete his legacy.
Likely in the spring is the Bute rematch in Canada. A huge partisan crowd is assured. The IBF belt is not with the sanctioning body making noises that a long overdue mandatory against Adonis Stevenson is now required. Assuming an exemption is granted then Froch will have the chance to make a second defence and prove the first obliteration of Bute was no fluke. Repeating the result in front of 20,000 Canadians would probably end Bute’s career. There is a lot of pressure on Bute here.
It’s a lot of if’s, but assuming all goes according to plan then an Autumn/fall rematch against Mikkel Kessler would be the next logical step. Froch dropped a close one in Kessler’s hometown and it would seem only sporting to get a rematch done in the UK. Though I’m sure Froch would head stateside if required. Kessler is a warrior in the same mould as Froch. The fight would be a fan friendly spectacle and must get done one way or another.
And finally, at year end or perhaps at the start of 2014, a rematch against Andre Ward. Froch was soundly beaten after making a slow start (as he had against Taylor) and claims that he was not at his best on the night.
That being the case and assuming he maintains his position as the clear #2 in the 168lb division then Ward must surely give Froch another go.
Regardless of the outcome of this or any other of the proposed fights above, Froch will surely exit the sport with a list of opponents that should define how champions are recognised in the future.
For now though, Yusaf Mack is the business at hand.
Expect no surprises, Froch by stoppage in the second half.
Then look out for a defining year for a defining fighter.