Farewell to the Cobra
His career didn’t end with a showdown with the feared Gennady Golovkin, a Las Vegas appearance against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or a British grudge match against James DeGale. Instead, after much conjecture, Carl Froch decided, at age 38, that the prudent thing was to walk away from boxing, announcing his retirement from boxing, earlier this week.
He finishes with a mark of 33-2 (24) and while that’s not a high number, Froch’s ledger is the very definition of quality over quantity and he finished his career with a flourish.
From the very end of 2008 to mid-2014 he faced (in order): Jean Pascal (UD12), Jermain Taylor (TKO 12), Andre Dirrell (SD 12), Mikkel Kessler (L UD 12), Arthur Abraham (UD 12), Glen Johnson (MD12), Andre Ward (L UD 12), Lucian Bute (TKO 5), Yusaf Mack (KO 3), Kessler (UD12), George Groves (TKO 9) and Groves (TKO 8).
During this stretch, Froch captured the vacant WBC 168-pound title versus Pascal, came back in thrilling fashion against Taylor, was the runner-up in the “Super Six World Classic” to Andre Ward, avenged his loss to Kessler and then cleared up any doubts versus his British archnemesis Groves in emphatic fashion. in the end, he had possession of the WBA and IBF super middleweight belts.
In an ironic twist, it was Froch – not Ward – who cashed in on his Super Six run and finally became a bona fide draw in England. No, he wasn’t the attraction Ricky Hatton was but you do know he knocked Groves out in their rematch in front of 80,000 fans in Wembley Stadium, right?
During this period of time, he took the “0”s away from Pascal, Dirrell, Bute and Groves.
And to this reporter, there is no doubt Froch is headed to Canastota and the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Whether or not he’s a first ballot guy, well, that remains to be seen. But there are boxers with much less on their resumes who have had their fists encased there. Froch is a virtual shoo-in by today’s standards.
He wasn’t the smoothest or most elegant fighter but for whatever fundamental flaws he may have had, Froch overcame then with pure guts, a will to win – and an iron-cast chin. As you saw him in his early bouts, you never got the sense you were looking at someone who was destined to accomplish so much in his career. There are some fighters who, for whatever reasons, fall short of their God-given expectations. Others somehow get a bit more than should be expected. Froch is certainly an example of the latter.
Whatever he lacked in tangibles, he made up for with intangibles.
Truthfully, Froch was not a universally beloved fighter in Britain – which is generally and staunchly loyal to its standout pugilists – this wasn’t Hatton, who could bring droves of his fans to any arena in the world and have them singing about there being only one Ricky Hatton. Froch had – shall we say – a bit of a prickly personality that turned off a lot of people. In America, we call it being a “red ass” and is the type of guy you either loved or hated and, quite frankly, he probably enjoyed that to a certain degree.
And not adding to this Q-rating was his verbal feud with another distinguished super middleweight from the UK, Joe Calzaghe. Quite frankly, these two have a certain disdain for one another which, at times, seems both professional and personal. It’s really a shame they weren’t born just a bit closer to one another. Most observers believe Calzaghe – already in the Hall – is the superior fighter. Fair enough. But compare their records and tell me who faced and defeated more quality 168-pounders in his prime?
These arguments will go on for years and will be debated endlessly but this much should be agreed upon: In an era in which so many fighters are protected and coddled, Froch was truly a throwback to a bygone era when those who participated in this trade were more boxers than businesses.
Farewell, Mr. Froch; you will be missed (whether not everyone admits it not, well, that’s a different story).
3 KD RULE
Speaking of a Hall-of-Famer, Marco Antonio Barrera has been confirmed for the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Aug. 8 at Caesars Palace…Did you hear what Ronda Rousey said about Floyd Mayweather Jr. after winning the ESPY for best fighter? Yeah, she went there, alright…SEC media days means football is just around the corner…Sept. 12 will be great, some really good college football games on that day/night…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.