Froch vs. GGG? Seeing is believing…
Last week, reports surfaced that a bout between top super middleweight Carl Froch and WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin was a possibility for the fall. Froch-Golovkin would be one of the most anticipated clashes of the year and, unlike other events (y’ know, like that cash grab on May 2), it would actually deliver a real fight.
But is it too good to be true?
The reality is Golovkin needs Froch much more than vice versa. At age 37, “The Cobra” has already punched his ticket to Canastota and stamped himself as a legitimate draw in England. No, he may never have the undying loyalty of the masses in the UK like a Ricky Hatton or be as well-regarded as Joe Calzaghe but he has etched his name among the very best to come out of England.
Yes, he has a bit of a prickly personality – and some say he’s a flat-out prick – with an ego as large as Big Ben but when you have a resume that includes Jermain Taylor, Jean Pascal, Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson, Lucian Bute and a revenge victory over Mikkel Kessler, well, perhaps you’ve earned the right to brag and boast. He’s capped off this recent, strong run with two victories over British archrival George Groves, the second of which took place in front of 80,000 of his divided countrymen at Wembley Stadium in London last May.
At this time, Froch’s legacy is securely set. He had made it clear that he wasn’t going to be around much longer and what he was truly yearning for – like Hatton and Calzaghe before him – was a starring role in Las Vegas against a marquee name. And the match-up that was the most natural was against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who, for the past year, had been embroiled in a promotional dispute versus Top Rank Promotions for the better part of 2014.
Well, since extricating himself from Bob Arum’s company, Chavez was then thumped into submission in his initial outing under Al Haymon’s guidance by Andrzej Fonfara on April 18, leaving Froch without the dance partner necessary to make this a reality. But in the past week or so, Froch has stated that Golovkin could perhaps fill the “fear factor” he needed to get back into the squared circle. Beyond that, on either continent, Golovkin would represent not just a high-profile bout but a lucrative one.
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport – who was in Boston, Mass. this past week for the James DeGale-Andre Dirrell fight – believes Froch-Golovkin is now a 50/50 proposition to occur.
This is certainly music to the ears of “Mr. Big Drama Show” and Tom Loeffler, the managing director of K2 Promotions, who have been searching far and wide for a fight of this nature. In lieu of getting the likes of Miguel Cotto and/or Saul Alvarez (who look like they are on a collision course for later this year), they are willing to move up to 168 for certain fights, provided they come with a financial impetus.
So just how realistic is all this?
Loeffler, who was in Russia for the Alexander Povetkin-Mike Perez fight, answered (via email) on Thursday: “Have spoken to Eddie a number of times about the fight, seems like now that GGG had the successful event at the Forum with both ticket sales and TV ratings being his highest. Coupled with the fact that Chavez lost, it seems clear that GGG is the most marketable opponent if Froch is going to fight again.
“I don’t know how far it will go with Froch but Eddie said that Carl seems interested in the fight if the economics work for him. It would be one of the biggest fights that would take place this year with the fastest rising star in boxing, who is undefeated and has 20 KOs in a row, against the bigger veteran that just sold out Wembley stadium in his last fight.
“GGG would travel to the UK to fight Froch. We have always made that clear to Eddie from the beginning.
“It would not be on PPV in the US, rather on regular HBO.”
So there you have it, from Golovkin’s point of view. Quite frankly, if they want a fight of this nature, they must have the understanding that, in this particular equation, they are the B-side. While Loeffler has done a magnificent job of developing GGG as a ticket seller on both sides of the United States, Froch still holds the cards here (something Andre Ward doesn’t realize. Regardless of beating Froch in the finals of the “Super Six,” there’s a reason he’s now fighting on BET in Oakland against Paul Smith on June 20, where tickets are already being discounted).
Even with Golovkin and his team being more than willing to concede on many points, it still may not be enough. The reality is Golovkin is a far superior foe than Chavez – who was much more about marketability than actual ability – and Golovkin-Froch, for as good a pairing as it is, simply isn’t a huge pay-per-view card in the United States. While one that could do very well in Las Vegas, for all his accomplishments, Froch doesn’t bring the backing of a Hatton during his heyday. As for Froch-Golovkin in Great Britain, you could certainly imagine a sizable throng in a stadium setting but last year’s turn-out for the rematch in May must also be attributed to Groves and his fan-base in England along with the controversy that surrounded their first match-up.
(By the way, did you know Froch knocked Groves out in front of 80,000 people? Seriously, he’s more than glad to tell you all about it.)
Much of boxing at this level – especially as it relates to valuable commodities like Froch – is about risk and reward. While Golovkin has certainly built his profile in the United States, you wonder how this translates to a market like Great Britain. And Froch, who has won hard-earned respect from the fans in England, has always made it clear: Unless it was worth his while, retirement is certainly a viable option.
And with that, Golovkin simply may not be worth the risk at this point in his life and career.
James DeGale made a bit of history by becoming the first British fighter to ever win a world title after capturing an Olympic gold medal, as he outpointed Andre Dirrell over 12 rounds in Boston on Saturday afternoon to capture the vacant IBF super middleweight belt.
Another interesting stat that was pointed out to me by someone in the boxing industry is this is the third time in the past year that an Eddie Hearn fighter has defeated an Al Haymon client in a title fight. First Kell Brook beat Shawn Porter, then Jamie McDonnell out-pointed Tomoki Kameda and, now, DeGale bested Dirrell.
Maybe this Hearn is truly the “Hit-Man.”
So reports are that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is leaving trainer Joe Goossen (yeah, that didn’t last long but at least Joe got to spend some time in Lake Tahoe) and is now going to be working with Robert Garcia.
As of Sunday afternoon, I was told Garcia wasn’t even contacted about any of this. I tried to reach out to both Goossen and Garcia, to no avail (hey, guys; I know it’s a holiday weekend but, if you have a few seconds, go ahead and call me back!).
Regardless, Julio Cesar “Silver Spoon” is going through more trainers than Daniel Snyder does head coaches for his Washington Redskins.
Heavyweight Alexander Povetkin blew out Mike Perez in 91 seconds on Friday in Moscow, Russia to become the WBC mandatory challenger to Deontay Wilder…Humberto Soto-Ray Beltran at 140 is a pretty good support bout for Tim Bradley-Jessie Vargas on June 27 at the StubHub Center…So Arum is talking about staging a card in Dubai? Hey, you can laugh but he got Macau, China done…Frank Gore is now part of the management team of junior middleweight Willie Nelson, who faces Tony Harrison on July 11 on ESPN…Steph Curry might be the greatest shooter I’ve ever seen. Some of the stuff he does is incredible…For a supposed franchise player, Dwight Howard makes no impact for long stretches of games…So FX’s “Tyrant” starts up soon, right?…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.