6th June 2012
Carl Froch’s English title win over Alan Page ended a successful 2003 and led to a shot at Commonwealth champion Charles Amadu the following March. In between the Cobra saw off Dzmitri Adamovich in two rounds in the January, before meeting former light-heavyweight Adamu at the Ice Arena in his home city of Nottingham. If you have come across this article and not yet read Part 1 – It’s here!
Carl Froch v Charles Amadu – Commonwealth title fight March 2003
Froch dropped the strong Adamu in the eighth round before
going onto outpoint the Ghanaian champion over the distance and take
his belt. – After the win Froch immediately set his sights on the British title, he had been meant to meet Tony Dodson for the Lonsdale belt, but with Dodson pulled out after being injured in a car crash. Dodson would be out of the ring for over a year, but they were destined to meet down the line. Instead Froch took on Adamu.
Froch told the press afterwards that, he was happy with his new commonwealth strap, but added; that the British title means more to him, and told of his desire to one day win that too and defend it the required three times, to keep it outright. Froch would eventually get his shot at the British title.
Now an holder of two championship belts, it only whetted the Cobra’s appetite for more prey and he was set to pounce on the rest of the domestic titles and whoever had them in their grasp. He would go on to fulfil his unbreakable belief that he would win the British title outright by capturing and constricting it six month’s after the Adamu win.
A quick defence of the commonwealth title against British born Canadian Mark Woolnough led to his British title chance against Derby’s Damon Hague for the Lonsdale belt that had been vacated by Tony Dodson after he failed to defend it against Froch three times. Froch finished off Hague in one round in this local derby, to add a third belt to his cabinet and more importantly the one that he had craved the most, all this had been achieved in just two and half years and 14 fights, 11 by KO.
A big right hand dropped Hague heavy near the end of the round, he beat the count but still looking shaky Froch pounced and a right hand left hook dropped Hague again even heavier. He bravely beat the count but referee waved it off at the bell, with Hague looking in no state to continue.
Carl Froch v Damon Hague – British title fight September 2004
“I was a man on a mission tonight.” said Froch after the win over Hague. “I’ve been trying to get my hands on this British title belt for nine or ten month’s, so I got in there tonight and just let it all go from round one wasn’t going to hold back.
“I knew I had 12 good hard rounds in me, Ive got the best trainer in the world Robert McCracken and we did everything we needed to do, to come here and take that title away tonight regardless of who was in front of me.
The new British super-middleweight champion now 27, was now ready to take on the best in Europe and the world, but was determined to get his three defences of the belt in before he went on the next course of continental and world domination.
Infact the busy Froch was not in the ring again for another seven month’s after the Hague win, until he had his first professional taste of fighting in America against Costa Rica’s WBO Latino champion, Henry Porras in Hollywood, California. Froch started to show what his power could achieve on the world stage by giving Porras a steady beating until nearly having him out on his feet in the 7th and was landing so cleanly on Porras, that Froch was signalling the referee to stop the fight. But in the next round The Cobra took things into his own hands and another sustained attack was enough to see Porras’ corner throw the towel in. Froch broke his hand in that fight such was the power he was hitting with.
Carl Froch v Henry Porras – The Cobra’s American professional debut – April 2005
Three month’s later Carl made the first defence of his British title against the former champion, Southampton’s Matthew Barney, winning an untidy 12 round decision against the awkward Barney who frustrated the Cobra with his holding and tactics. After the fight Froch said; “Barney didn’t come to fight tonight, he came here to survive and make me look bad. hold me and spoil me. But you can’t beat them all and that will be a very good learning fight for me, I doubt I’ll fight anyone in my career as awkward and has negative has that.”
Froch had been eyeing WBO world champion, Joe Calzaghe for a while and took the opportunity after the Barney win to call out the unbeaten Welshman again, saying; “Barney didn’t come to fight tonight, but styles make fights. I believe I’m ready for Joe Calzaghe and I think I will take him out in style, that’s because he comes to fight, anyone who comes to fight me will end up on the canvas.” The fight with Calzaghe never materialised. Froch went on to chase Calzaghe for the next three years calling him out at any given opportunity. But the British super-middleweight, super fight of the noughties will be always the fight that never happened. What a shame boxing never got to witness what would have been an intriguing affair.
Froch followed up that win with two knockout wins, one against Ruben Groenewald to end 2005 and then Dale Westerman to see in 2006 before an acid test second defence against Belfast’s future world champion Brian Magee at the York Hall Bethnall Green. The fight had like the Tony Dodson one, an on off, on off affair. But eventually the fight happened and it was a big night in London for a big fight.
The York Hall was bouncing has the fight started and southpaw Magee made a good start. The heads were banging together and it was looking like another tough night for Froch. Re-live that night again with the video below and don’t blink in the first round, or you’ll miss a devastating right uppercut from Froch that sees Magee crumble to the canvas. Magee somehow made the count and then the fight turned into a long hard slog, before another massive uppercut put an end to Magee’s brave challenge in the penultimate round. The power of the shot saw Froch hand go again.
Carl Froch v Brian Magee – British and Commonwealth titles – 26th May 2006
The rehabilitation of Liverpool’s Tony Dodson after a career threatening car crash, accumulated in him winning four fights to get another shot at the British title, that he never lost in the ring. But standing in his way now, was not a standard domestic champion, he was like no one he had ever faced before. In the opposite corner that night was a new breed of British fighter and one who would go on to rule the world and become one of the best we have produced.
Froch in beating Dodson would fulfil his dream of winning the Lonsdale belt outright and again the fans packed the Ice Arena in Nottingham to finally see Froch and Dodson get it on.
Carl Froch v Tony Dodson – British and Commonwealth title fight November 2006
Froch made a slow start to the fight and Dodson capitalised in the first couple of rounds landing good shots. But in the third, Froch unleashed the same venomous uppercut he finished Magee off with. It didn’t have the same impact that the timing and leverage of the Magee one had, but it connected with the tip of the chin and hurt Dodson, no sooner had the Liverpool man had time to digest the pain, Froch’s follow up shots finished the fight. A meaty right hand followed by a text book left hook to the body, thrown in perfect practised sync, had Dodson down and out for the referees count.
|Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch British Champ
Froch dedicated the win to his friend Graham Matthews who had recently passed away and was proud to get his hands on the British title for keeps. There had been the usual pre fight hype before hand and what could be deemed as bad blood between Froch and a confident Dodson. But Froch had wanted to get Dodson in the ring, for un-finished business and was the reason he had goaded him. Afterwards Froch said; he wasn’t 100% happy with the performance and wished it had gone a few more rounds. Proud to win the Lonsdale belt he added; ‘I can now show it to my kids and Grand kids, If I ever have any.’
Afterwards, Carl who was now ranked No3 in the world by the WBC reiterated his wish to win all the domestic titles before going onto fight for a world title and he wanted the European crown. The EBU title fight never happened for Froch though, and he was to have to wait another two years before finally getting his chance to fight for a world title.
In his next fight, Froch went in with the world ranked Russian, Sergey Tatevosyan and was now being given the big build-up, with an army drum band accompanying his ring walk, Froch was now a Nottingham hero and any boxing fan who knew a thing or two could see this was a boxer of substance and massive potential.
But not all were beginning to believe in this brash Nottingham lad, who had been telling everyone how good he was and how one day he would be a world champion. He certainly had his critics and not all adhered to the self confidence and belief that he projected in his pre and post fight interviews. The British have often seen confidence as arrogance, but Froch was unshakable and determined and wasn’t fooling himself or anyone else, and he went on to show that. When he was telling us then, that he would get in with anyone in the world and that he would be world champion one day, he wasn’t saying it for show or bravado; boy did he mean it, and man didnt he go on to prove it.
Carl Froch v Sergey Tatevosyan
With a quick impressive blow out of Tatevosyan in round 2. It was the Calzaghe fight that still played on his mind and which eluding Froch. With no other world title fight materialising either, Froch still had unfinished business domestically in the form of former Olympic bronze medallist and WBC world champion Robin Reid and decided to take on Reid who had been calling him out.
Reid was not the fighter he used to be and it was 11 years prior when he had been crowned world champion, knocking out Vincenzo Nardiello in Italy in 1996.
There was the pre fight verbals between the new and the old guard of British super-middleweight boxing and what was a highly anticipated grudge meeting prevailed. Froch found a highly motivated and determined Reid who had got himself up for the fight, like he hadn’t for years. But the Cobra knew the threat Reid could pose and was prepared and focused on the job. – With a world title fight now in his grasp, he wasn’t going to slip up against Reid.
Carl Froch v Robin Reid – British title fight – November 2007
He didn’t! – Froch produced a measured and patient performance against Reid who was not the fighter he once was. Reid shown his age that night and Froch was ruthless and knocked Reid down twice on his way to a 5th round stoppage, when Reid’s coach Brian Hughes pulled him out after being dropped at the end of the previous round. Froch who had been out of the ring for seven month’s prior to the fight, said afterwards he was just easing into it and saw it as his comeback, after under going an operation on his knee. “I was hoping to get more rounds in, that’s why I was pacing myself, trying to get the range with the jab and see what he had. “I wanted to take some of his digs and see what he had. “It may sound silly, but I wanted to block move around and work on stuff, because Robin Reid is a world class operator. “I’m under No illusions that he was at his best, cause he’s not. “But he’s had ten weeks training for this fight and came here well prepared and hungry to take this British title belt off me, and it was my job to stop him from doing that, and I did – “I’m going to go home a very happy man.” added Froch after his 4th and final defence of his treasured Lonsdale belt.
Now the WBC No1 contender for Joe Calzaghe’s title, Froch was now primed to take on his fellow Brit and realise his world title fight dream. But Calzaghe now at the end of his remarkable unbeaten career, signed to face ring legend Bernard Hopkin’s at light-heavyweight and relinquished the title, leaving it vacant for Froch to fight for.
Before his first world title fight against Canadian Jean Pascal in December 2008, Froch took on a pre world title contest against unbeaten Polish boxer Albert Rybacki in the May. Rybacki was expected to pose Froch a few question’s, being unbeaten and somewhat of an unknown quantity, but he had stepped in at just three days notice and the Cobra was chomping at the bit, he wasn’t going to put his world title chance in jeopardy by taking the tough Rybacki easy. Froch had been set to face the highly ranked Denis Inkin in a long-awaited world title eliminator, but Inkin withdrew. Promoter at the time Mick Hennessy
immediately began the search for a top replacement opponent to step in as Froch aimed
to maintain the momentum ahead of his anticipated world title tilt.
Former world champion Alejandro Berrio had declined the offer to
come to England and American Rubin Williams was unable to travel to the
UK, so undefeated Rybacki bravely stepped in.
Carl Froch v Albert Rybacki – May 2008, Froch’s last fight before his assault on the world scene and his mission to fight every top fighter in the world.
He didn’t take him easy on Rybacki! – A purposeful display from Froch, saw him walk through the Pole, administering a beating that saw referee John Keane stop the fight in the 5th round.
Froch was now ready for his ultimate test and the world title fight he craved and envisaged was just around the corner and finally near his grasp.
Froch was now all set to face unbeaten Canadian Jean Pascal for the vacant WBC world super-middleweight title, at the now Trent FM Arena, in his home city of Nottingham. Pascal a top class amateur star was being groomed as the next Roy Jones Junior, such was his style. The man born in Haiti, but had grew up in Quebec was slick, had fast hands and could punch hard. Froch’s big night had come but he was up against it. He was up against a fighter has determined and enthusiastic to succeed as himself.
It promised to be a good fight, it was that and more. It turned into one of the best fights seen in a British ring for a long time. It couldn’t have been more even, two fighters in there primes and raring to go. Pascal was to after the fight, become one of the best fighters in the world winning a world title at light-heavyweight the following year. Cementing just how terrific a performance Carl produced that night against Pascal in May 2008.
The winner of the fight was being lined up to face former undisputed middleweight champion Jermaine Taylor a golden boy of American boxing. Who had recently been beaten twice by Kelly Pavlic at super-middleweight, but had come back from that well by beating Jeff Lacy. But any dreams of a big money meeting with Taylor in America depended on him beating Pascal and taking the world crown.
Join us in Part 3 next week, when we look at the chapter so far in the career of Carl Froch; including the full Jean Pascal fight, including full fight footage of the Cobra’s ‘World Class’ era in which he took on all ‘World Ranked’ comers to become the ‘King Cobra’
in part 3 we look at Froch’s signing with Matchroom boxing and his entrance into the ‘World Super Six Boxing Series’ including the fights that rubber stamped the class of Carl Froch including;
and Lucian Bute
The King Cobra – By Vikram G. Aarella
The king is on the prowl
It doesn’t walk, but crawl
Ordinary prey is not in its mind,
Its hunts only its own kind.
It can grow up to fifteen feet,
Swallows its prey whole and neat
Like a lion hunting wild buffalo and striped zebra
The king hunts rat snakes and speckled cobra.
The king is very reclusive and shy,
But when threatened can stand up and
Look at you, eye to eye,
What a spectacle to watch, o’ my
You have to see the king at least once, before you die
By Chris Maylett