By Clive Bernath: Carl Froch’s rematch victory over Mikkel Kessler in London last weekend in defence of his IBF super middleweight crown provided the 35 year-old Englishman plenty options for his next title defence.
Top of his hit list will almost certainly be classy American pound for pound top 10 boxer Andre Ward, not only because of the financial incentive it brings but also the ‘Cobra’ desperately wants the opportunity to reverse the unanimous points defeat he suffered in Atlantic City two years ago.
Ward has professed his interest at coming to England to fight Froch if the money is right and Froch’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been quoted as saying that Ward has very few other options at the moment and has no choice but to cross the pond and face the Nottingham based ‘Cobra’. After Froch’s impressive showing against Kessler n London on Saturday Hearn said: "Andre has absolutely no options. Tell me another fight out there for him at super-middleweight.
Ward was ringside for Froch’s rematch victory over Kessler, prompting Hearn to reason: "That’s why he was at the 02 - he wants the fight with Froch. That’s a massive fight.
"We’re sitting here with two belts and Carl has just catapulted himself to huge new levels in terms of sporting prestige in Great Britain, so we’ll relax and take our time.
There are always other options, especially for a slick and classy operator like Ward. And whilst the fight makes sense for the promoters is it really a fight British boxing fans want to see again? Maybe it is a silly question as they are the two best 168lbs boxers on the planet but let us not forget that Ward proved a league above Froch in Atlantic City, pretty much controlling the pace of the fight from the opening bell. If indeed a rematch is successfully negotiated Froch will have to dramatically change his style to combat the crafty, faster and deceptively strong Ward.
There is also the possibility of an all British clash with bitter rival George Groves. The unbeaten but less experienced 25 year-old from London is improving all the time and he did look impressive in knocking out Noe Gonzalez Alcoba on the Froch/Kessler undercard but I just feel he is a fight or two away from the highest level at the moment. His trainer Adam Booth has/is doing a fine job with him and no doubt his time will come but maybe he just needs to remain a little more patient for the time being. Another bitter rival of Groves that could be an option for Froch is WBC silver champion James DeGale.
And if Froch and his promoter Eddie Hearn cannot agree terms with any of the aforementioned for one reason or another there is always a step up to light heavyweight. There are plenty of options north of super-middle not least the chance to become a two weight champion. WBO champ Nathan Cleverly has thrown his hat into the ring by publically calling out Froch and there is also rematches with Canadians Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal. Froch defeated both men, a war with Pascal ended with Froch clinching a tight victory whilst Bute was out toughed inside five rounds. Bute could argue he was dead at the weight, hence the move up to 175lbs. Both those fights would be huge in Canada and financially lucrative all round.
But the fight I’d be most intrigued to see happen and again would be very financially lucrative is with veteran IBF light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins, should he come through his first title defence against Karo Murat in July. Hopkins might be 48 and may not be as quick as he once was but he’s as crafty, wily and as clever as he’s always been, more so in fact. I’d pay to see this fight England as I’m sure many British fans would.
The one thing Froch has never done is run away from a challenge, he’s proved that many times before. He will not run this time either,the choice is yours Carl.
May 28, 2013