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The greatest Briton?

Glenn looks at Froch's big win and where he ranks in history

Glenn McCrory Posted 28th May 2012 view comments

Carl Froch can lay serious claim to being the greatest British boxer of all time.

There are guys like former middleweight, Randy Turpin, who had to beat some of the best fighters to walk God's earth, while in modern terms you'd also look at the trio of Lennox Lewis, Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe.

King Cobra: Froch tore the IBF super-middleweight strap from Bute in Nottingham

King Cobra: Froch tore the IBF super-middleweight strap from Bute in Nottingham

However, Lewis was knocked out twice by average fighters in Hasim Rahman and Oliver McCall, Hatton was obliterated when he went toe-to-toe with Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, while Calzaghe was very well looked after and his record was padded out with the Tocker Pudwills of this world.

Carl, on the other hand, has generated excellent results against some of the leading lights of the super-middleweight division, and I don't think anyone has fought so many top-ranked fighters consecutively and been as fearless and hard-as-nails as he has.

I don't think anyone has fought so many top-ranked fighters consecutively and been as fearless and hard-as-nails as Carl has.

Glenn McCrory
Quotes of the week

If Froch is not the best boxer to ever emanate from these shores, he's not far off it.

Effective

The Cobra put in a glowing performance on Saturday night to dismantle Lucian Bute in the fifth-round and become a three-time world champion.

Froch does not look anything special; he is not the slickest, not the most talented, and doesn't do anything greater than anybody else. He's not Sugar Ray Leonard or Marvin Hagler - but he is damn effective.

He is also superbly fit and is still as teak-tough as he has ever been; he takes so much care of his body. For 20 years he has trained all the time, kept the weight off and been in peak condition, and that was evident against Bute.

But perhaps Carl's greatest strength is his unwavering belief in himself. We had a phone conversation recently and he told me he knew he was going be beat Bute, even though some people thought he would be up against it following his loss to Andre Ward in December.

He certainly proved his doubters wrong.

Raucous

Carl has said he would like to face Ward again and I think he would do a lot better in a rematch with the American, whose mental toughness he perhaps underestimated in the Super Six Final.

If that match was in Nottingham who knows what effect a raucous crowd could have, but I just feel that he would come up short against the super-skilful Ward. That shouldn't stop Carl going for it, though, as it would be a big-money fight.

The next step for Froch is to seemingly try and avenge his defeat to Mikkel Kessler from 2010, and I would certainly back him to do that; Kessler is a good fighter but he's not a great one.

When he lost to Kessler before, Carl had a lot of things going on in his life. His wife was pregnant with their son, Rocco, and as he loves his family so much maybe he wanted to be at home and not focus on boxing.

I don't envisage him being so forgiving should he tackle the Dane again.

Clause

There are some promising super-middleweights in Britain, such as George Groves and James DeGale, but I can't see Carl hanging around to fight them. He'll probably be looking at Kessler, Ward and then to go out at the top.

However, Bute still has a rematch clause in his contract and I hope we get to see him and Froch square off for a second time.

Bute looked surprisingly weak in Nottingham but he has shown previously that he has the ability to respond. The 32-year-old was floored by Librado Andrade in the 12th round of their match in October 2008, but managed to knock his opponent out in the return bout a year later to secure a much more convincing win.

I think there is more to Bute than we saw against Carl and I suspect he would do a lot better if they met again in Canada. That would be a much tougher proposition for Froch - but I think we all know better than to write him off.

Comments (17)

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Antony Jones says...

Every one always goes on about Joe as glen stated, I have very rarely seen a more protected boxer, I would have loved them to have fought, but for me Joe was a very pampered boxer who only picked his fights, that doesnot make a great, what makess a great is fighting the best fighter when they are in their prime Can everyone honestly say that Joe fought all the best people around and when they were in their prime??? As for lewis, please watch the fight with Klitchko, a lucky punch to cut him, and they would now fight the rematch as he knew he would lose, (is this a sign of a great) Hatton,Froch real fighters who fought the best, not the most technically gifted but greats all the same

Posted 09:19 29th May 2012

Adrian Metcalf says...

Nice piece and pleased Froch is getting the recognition for his hard work. But I don't agree with some of the points. I agree you can compare to Hatton and Froch would be in the same group, but to compare to Calzaghe or Lewis is a stretch, particularly Calzage. Lewis was possibly the best heavyweight in the last 30 years. Calzaghe undefeated and clearly faster and more talented than Froch. In terms of fitness you could not go past Calzaghe either, 100 punches a round was normal. That said, I enjoy watching Froch and I think he's had more recognition in the US than he has at home. He's a very solid fighter, knows his limitations and works around them.

Posted 03:54 29th May 2012

Reiss Bruin says...

I really like froch but come off it Glen! His resume is fantastic. Agreed. As is his attitude and determination and making the most of a limited skill set. But head to head would you pick him to beat a prime calazaghe? The answer is surely not. Had he better promoted that fight would have probably happened. The guy almost got schooled by a finished jermaine taylor before pulling out a great last gasp ko and lost to kessler when we all now know kessler had a serious eye injury that'd be much more of a hindrance to a fight than a baby! This said I'm a big froch fan and he's definitely in my top 5 brits i jut can't put him at the top....

Posted 01:15 29th May 2012

Nathan Lee says...

Agree Carl froch our top boxer willing to go to war and fight anybody at any time

Posted 00:49 29th May 2012

Ash Haworth says...

Shocking statement in regards to Joe Calzaghe and Lennox Lewis. Yes Froch has heart but please lets base this on boxing ability not warriorship and a good win in the heat of the moment. If Froch faces Kessler or Ward again..... He looses unfortunately.

Posted 23:06 28th May 2012

Will I am says...

Froch was brilliant on Saturday and thoroughly deserves his props but let's calm down a bit. Don't forget that Ward made him look like he'd never boxed before in his last fight. And please don't come with the 'I wasn't myself that night' excuse, Ward's style is all wrong for Carl and he knows it. No need to go after Ward again because we'll see exactly the same result and another borefest. Kessler - Froch II; now that I'd love to see! Best British fighter of all time? Can't argue with results and at the end of the day, he's been through pretty much everyone in the division. Did he really beat Dirrell? Not for me but then I thought he edged Kessler. Great heart and a true throwback who wants to fight the best rather than pad out his record. p.s. Quick point on Hatton. Bit harsh to demolish him after the Pacquiao performance considering how far Pac was above everyone else at the time. A 168 version of Pacman (scary thought!) would knock Froch out within 3 minutes; Froch is not exactly the hardest person to hit and Pac's fast, accurate power punches would put his lights out. Not a dig at Froch, but clearly the current cream of boxing sits at welter.

Posted 23:03 28th May 2012

Bobby Brown says...

Hats of to the guy for demolishing bute but dont you think the greatest ever is a bit too far? As for calzaghe, he beat kessler on his way out when kessler was champion to unify the division, he went to america and beat the then unbeaten jeff lacey in his own back yard. Anybody heard of him since? He beat bernard hopkins years ago when everyone said he was past his prime, who up until recently was the oldest world champion in history? If you want to see the greatest, look no further than the italian dragon himself.

Posted 21:38 28th May 2012

Ceri Thomas says...

I dont believe he is the greatest Briton,but he has earnt the respect of all the purists by continually fighting the best,allthough he has come up short only twice in his career i do believe he is limited in his skills,but what has been his greatest asset is his will to win,a grit and determination that probably cant be matched.His iron jaw has so far been found to be impregnable,it could be fair to say youd need a stick of dynamite just to wobble him.I couldnt envisage froch beating Calzaghe to be honest,i think Joes hand speed would be too much,i dont think hed hurt Froch but he would frustrate him with those "Busy punches" of his.What do you think the result would have been in that fight?Also could Froch have been able to beat a pre-michael Watson Chris Eubank?Eubank would have been a real test,never mind your Nigel Benn or Steve Collins.So perhaps the more suited question would be Is Carl Froch even the greatest British super middleweight of all time?That would raise some serious debate,over to you Glenn!!

Posted 20:54 28th May 2012

Dean Fraser-phillips says...

You are kidding me? I wouldn't even place Carl in the top 5 of the last decade. He is a good fighter but the best of all time?! No way. What about the likes of Ted *Kid Lewis', Jimmy Wilde, Calzaghe, Benn, Eubank, Lennox Lewis, Ken Buchanan, Jack 'Kid' Berg, Howard Winstone and Randy Turpin, or Lloyd Honeyghan?

Posted 20:06 28th May 2012

Richly Allen says...

The most exciting since Benn would he have beat him who knows but he would have fought him.

Posted 19:58 28th May 2012

Hugh Jenkins says...

What absolute nonsense - calzaghe was the man at two weights - beat a fresh Kessler and took his 0 and beat a legend Hopkins. Froch lost to a shopworn Kessler and got dominated by Ward. His record is overrated as one fight has come after the other. People seem to think all the names were in their prime. A tough run of fights respect for that but, Taylor lost 4 and drew 1 of his last 8 fights before retiring. Johnson lost 16 and lost to guys like Clinton Woods coming down from LHW at 44 or whatever AA seriously limited Pascal Bute - Major Hype job None of the above had career success at SMW - they were either champions at MW or LH. Too small or weight drained. Greatest Briton of all time - he isn't even no:1 in his own division - McCory clearly knows naff all - what about guys like Jimmy Wilde, Ted Kid Lewis, Freddie Welsh, Jim Driscoll etc. Calzaghe beat something like 8 SMW champions and two whilst they were Middleweight Champion. Calzaghe beat the best of the best, Froch lost to the best of the best and beat the best of the rest. McCrory - hang your head in shame are you a pundit or Froch's best pal?

Posted 19:30 28th May 2012

David James says...

Got to love Carl Froch but a prime Joe Calzaghe dismantles Andre Ward with ease. Interested you say Calzaghe was protected? My impression always was he couldn't get the likes of Hopkins and Jones to meet him preferring to stay at home and not become the next Gerald McClellan? Eubank reckons Calzaghe was one of the best ever and I'd rate Chris all day higher than Jones or Hopkins, so surprised that Tocker Pudwill is all the credit you've given him! C'mon Glenn let's have it right.

Posted 19:08 28th May 2012

Jack Davidson says...

What I liked the best concerning the Carl Froch- Bute fight was how brave Carl was. He fought tough like Joe Frazer or Marvin Hagler. Usually fighters just poke from the outside and are afraid of getting hit. Although he beat a fellow Canadian, I wish Carl good luck for the future. If only Englands soccer team played with this much heart.

Posted 19:03 28th May 2012

James Cammoile says...

I think the claim of being the best British fighter of all time is there yet for Carl, but its within his grasp. Froch although acclaimed has been somewhat under the radar of superstar recognition but this win against an undefeated and established (if a little 'well managed') Bute has really given him the big win needed to cement himself as among the best fighters in the world. So as a career plan what sounds good to me is the mandatory rematch with Bute in Canada, a rematch with Kessler in Nottingham followed with a final fight with Ward in the USA. Those three fights will put Carl in the boxing hall of fame and worldwide legendary status. He should enjoy that path too, because if he retired tomorrow Froch would still have a highly respected lasting legacy.

Posted 18:50 28th May 2012

Lucas Davey says...

If he beats Kessler and at the very least makes a much closer fight against Ward then he'll certainly be up there with the greats, but don't forget Calzaghe had an acute phobia of flying which was a major reason he appeared to be avoiding the best overseas opponents for so long and Lewis avenged both his careless defeats in dominant and utterly ruthless fashion. Still if Froch goes into the ring with the same attitude and desire he had on Saturday night I can't see anybody stopping him.

Posted 17:50 28th May 2012

Rory Webb says...

I personally would like to see Carl fight Andre Dirrell again !!!!! It was a very close fight indeed....I also think Andre Dirrell has the ability to beat Andre Ward Everybody surronded Kessler after Carls fight and all his cornermen were acting like victory was already his which i thought was very very biased - i really felt Carl won that one

Posted 17:47 28th May 2012

Charlie Ellson says...

how can you say calzaghe was very well looked after? he beat everyone at the top... was it jeff lacy, americas new top boxer that he demolished? i cant remember his name but i remember joe smashin him all round the ring...

Posted 17:44 28th May 2012

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