Carl Froch has called it a day so we look back on his last, fantastic five fights
Last Updated: 14/07/15 12:14pm
Carl Froch has retired from boxing and is joining Sky Sports, so here are those last five fights we showed, with him the IBF super-middleweight supremo...
The Nottingham man’s career was in the balance as he prepared to challenge the previously unbeaten champion for his belt in May 2012.
A one-sided points loss to Andre Ward had raised questions about Froch’s future and defeat against the big-hitting Bute could have spelled the end of the Brit’s time at the top.
The Canada-based Romanian travelled to Froch’s hometown with a daunting 30-win record, including a string of chilling stoppages and many pundits were predicting another punishing night for the local fighter.
But Bute’s air of menace soon dissipated as he was caught by looping hooks in the opening round and was then forced onto his heels by Froch’s charging attack in the second.
After the Andre Ward defeat I was very, very deflated. I was here to put right a wrong. I was more determined than ever before.
There was no respite for the shellshocked belt holder, who teetered around the ring after receiving a big right hand in the third, while Froch piled on more punishment in the fourth before the bell signalled only brief respite.
A dazed Bute could barely stagger to his corner and was rescued by referee Earl Brown in the fifth as he wilted under a further onslaught.
"After the Andre Ward defeat I was very, very deflated. I was here to put right a wrong," said Froch. "I was more determined than ever before.
Fresh from his crucial win over Bute, Froch made the first defence of his title against American Yusaf Mack in November 2012.
The Philadelphia man had fallen short at the top level, suffering defeats against former champions such as Glen Johnson and Tavoris Cloud, but Froch could not look past a challenger with a number of knockouts to his name.
In truth, Mack was barely given any chance to display his punch power as Froch bludgeoned him to the canvas in the opening round. He clambered up on unsteady legs and was relieved to hear the bell.
Having felt the champion’s fists, Mack spent much of the second round on the reverse, attempting to frustrate Froch with the occasional awkward lunge.
But he could not withstand the belt holder for much longer and Mack was counted out in the third after a brutal body shot brought him to his knees.
Froch had successfully defended his belt in convincing fashion and could look ahead to tougher assignments.
"I trained for 12 weeks to fight whoever and Yusaf Mack did not really have much of a chance. When I am in there on fire like I was tonight I think I am unbeatable, I really do.”
Mikkel Kessler II
A previous defeat against the Dane still rankled with Froch and he was granted a rematch against Kessler in May 2013.
In the first fight, Froch suffered a thrilling points defeat on his opponent’s home soil, but ‘The Viking Warrior’ would head to London for the return bout, putting his WBA belt on the line in a potentially explosive unification battle.
As long as I still have the desire to get up and do the hard work, I'll be able to keep going. Maybe two or three years - two, three or even four more top level fights.
Froch on retirement
It was ‘The Cobra’ who took command in the early rounds, sending out stiff jabs and clubbing his familiar foe with right hands.
Kessler gradually gained a foothold and both men swapped big punches in the middle rounds as the fight began to resemble their last encounter.
But Froch cleared up any doubts about the verdict, despite a late wobble, and a late onslaught left Kessler clinging on for the final bell.
All three judges awarded a points win to the home favourite, who now held two titles in the division.
He said: "As long as I still have the desire to get up and do the hard work, I'll be able to keep going. Maybe two or three years - two, three or even four more top level fights.”
George Groves I
The unbeaten Londoner was granted a shot at Froch’s belts, but received little respect from the experienced champion.
Froch had vanquished a string of big names and was expected to easily brush aside Groves, who was making a major step-up in class in November 2013.
But ‘Saint George’ retained his supreme confidence in the days leading to the fight, even making an audacious prediction about the start of the fight.
Groves would back up his words, landing a string of jab in the opening round before flooring Froch with a huge overhand right. The stunned champion clambered to his feet and was still wobbling when the bell sounded.
Bristling with confidence, Groves set about Froch with more searing jabs and right hands, hurting him regularly as the rounds ticked by.
But the challenger was becoming increasingly reckless, trading punches at close quarters, and Froch would seize his chance in the eighth round, albeit in controversial fashion.
George had his head low and I had a free shot and the referee had a split-second decision to make. It was dangerous and he had to put the safety of the fighter first.
A looping punch caught Groves on the top of his head, scrambling his senses, and he staggered to the ropes with Froch piling on more punches, but the hasty intervention of referee Howard Foster led to heated protests.
Groves was cheered by a previously hostile crowd as he questioned Foster’s decision, while Froch insisted he was only a few punches from a crushing win.
“He's is a very experienced referee,” said Froch. “George had his head low and I had a free shot and the referee had a split-second decision to make. It was dangerous and he had to put the safety of the fighter first."
George Groves II
Amidst huge demand for a rematch, Froch agreed to face Groves again and Wembley was chosen as a fitting venue for the bumper domestic clash.
Plenty of ill-feeling still remained following the contentious end to their first fight and a fired-up Froch shoved his bitter rival after their first press conference.
Groves relished the chance to engage the older man in mind games and they were reunited in a series of tense appearances in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Froch freely admitted he had taken Groves for granted and locked himself away in a stringent training camp in Sheffield.
This was a legacy fight. Unfortunately in boxing, people remember you for your last fight. I didn’t want to go out to be remembered as being a loser, and I would have retired if I’d lost tonight.
Over 80,000 fans packed into the historic venue to watch the two boxers settle their simmering feud and they were treated to another dramatic showdown.
On this occasion, Froch controlled the centre of the ring from the start, breaking his opponent’s rhythm with a stready stream of accurate jabs.
Groves struggled to find the range with his dangerous right hand and ‘The Cobra’ was displaying his underrated ring skills.
But ‘Saint George’ started to settle in the middle rounds, finding gaps in Froch’s defences with his superior hand speed.
Just as the fight seemed to be turning in his favour, Groves made a costly mistake, and was punished in destructive manner. Backing to the ropes, he dropped his glove and Froch ripped a straight right hand into his chin which left him crumpled on the canvas. Referee Charlie Fitch waved it off as Groves lay prone and the champion was left to savour his sweetest victory.
“This was a legacy fight,” Froch said. “Unfortunately in boxing, people remember you for your last fight. I didn’t want to go out to be remembered as being a loser, and I would have retired if I’d lost tonight.”