By Bill Tibbs: With his big TKO win on May 31 against nemesis and fellow Brit George Groves, 19-2 (15), Carl Froch, 33-2 (21), proved once again who is truly Britain’s best super middleweight and biggest boxing star. And now, fans will start to ask the question, “Who is next?” for “The Cobra.” With 80,000 fans filling Wembley Stadium in London, England, it is clear that Froch is the biggest draw across the pond. After playing the big stage, it might be hard to go back to a smaller room. A logical fight that would certainly fill Wembley for another go-round is Mexico’s Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. With that fight, any promoter has the option of England, the United States or Mexico as both fighters in that matchup would sell a ton of tickets. Froch has more years behind him than ahead and has indicated he can walk away happy at any time. But what a great fight to add to the résumé during the twilight of his career. And with the Nottingham, England champion’s post-fight comments about wanting to fight in Las Vegas, perhaps Chavez is the second piece of the United States blockbuster puzzle both fighters may be looking for.
Chavez, 48-1-1 (32), was lined up for a July 168-pound super-fight with World Boxing Association (WBA) middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin before contract negations with his promoter, Top Rank Promotions, started to unravel. As time ticked away and the fight window closed, Golovkin moved on and Chavez took a seat on the sidelines. But if Chavez and Top Rank can reach an agreement that would make the fight possible, boxing might be looking at a huge fight between two all-action super middleweights. Froch made the fourth defense of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super middleweight title and second defence of his WBA super middleweight title in the rematch against Groves. Many people thought George got robbed in a controversial stoppage loss in their first bout in November of 2013. Chavez has been a fighter who has looked great at times and inconsistent at others. Both Froch and Chavez are strong and aggressive fighters who aren’t shy about mixing it up, so style-wise, this should be an all-out war that would thrill fight fans looking for a marquee tussle.
Chavez won the WBC world middleweight title in June 2011 beating Sebastian Zbik over 12 rounds. He then looked outstanding in an exciting trio of victories over Peter Manfredo Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio and Andy Lee over the following year. When Chavez is on, he is an exciting, engaging, massively popular fighter but in September of 2012, he lost his biggest fight to date, dropping a 12-round unanimous decision to then-lineal/WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. That fight, fraught with pre-fight frustration for head trainer Freddie Roach, showed the young Chavez’s unpredictable and stubborn nature in his preparation for the fight. While he went the distance, he seemed to fight like an athlete unsure of his conditioning. And when he did drop Martinez late in the fight, it was too little, too late. Chavez’s last two victories, decision wins over Texas fighter Bryan Vera, were underwhelming performances that allowed him to add a couple of “W”s to the roster but not much more.
Froch is on a five-fight win streak since dropping a decision to undefeated pound-for-pound-rated Andre Ward back in late-2011 and he has been exciting and impressive in the process. He is a fighter who has quietly gone about building a very impressive legacy that has made him one of Britain’s most exciting attractions. Along with this rematch victory over Groves, Froch sports wins over current and former champions Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson, Lucian Bute and Mikkel Kessler.
With this impressive, highlight reel knockout of Groves, the time is right for a Chavez-Froch fight. While Chavez is haggling over the terms of an extremely generous, front-loaded contract with his promoter, big fights are sitting waiting to be made. In boxing, it is best to strike while the iron is hot because it can all change in a minute. Windows get opened and windows get closed very quickly in the fight game. While nothing is official, Froch-Chavez is a great fight that was being mentioned in the British press moments after the Froch victory. Carl would love to come over to America and look to add to his ever-growing legacy.
After the Groves rematch, he said, “I’d love to box in Las Vegas. It ticks a really special box for me. It’s the ‘Fight Capital of the World.’” Chavez is a big draw there with a huge following among Mexican fight fans. And if they decide to take it back to Britain, don’t be surprised to see one of the world’s most famous soccer pitches bursting at the seams again. Boxing needs great fights and this is a great fight. Chavez let one big fight slip by him with the Golovkin offer; if this one comes up, I hope he doesn’t pass on it as well.
Great fighters want to be in great events. A Froch-Chavez fight, hot on the heels of a “Knockout of the Year” candidate right cross by “The Cobra” on May 31, would be huge!
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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June 9, 2014