by Sean Crose
An injured Carl Froch has given up his IBF super middleweight title. According to ESPN.com, the British superstar “faced an IBF-imposed deadline to make a mandatory title defense against countryman James DeGale, and the injury was going to prevent him from meeting it.”
Yet the injury in question, which was to Froch’s elbow, may have made for a perfect excuse.
According to ESPN, “even if Froch’s elbow was OK he probably would have vacated the title because his promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, was negotiating a spring fight between Froch and Mexican star Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (48-1-1, 32 KOs), a former middleweight titleholder.”
With retirement looming, the Nottingham brawler Froch is in the enviable position of being pretty much able to pick and choose who he gets to fight next. This clearly wasn’t the case a year ago, when many observers felt Froch was given a premature stoppage win against the feisty fellow Brit George Groves the previous autumn.
Froch answered all questions regarding Groves in an English superfight last spring, however, when he knocked out Groves in highlight reel fashion in their much ballyhooed rematch. Now Froch has names like Chavez and Bernard Hopkins to possibly choose from.
He also has Vegas much on his mind, as it is common knowledge that Froch has big dreams of fighting in the boxing capital of the world. Needless to say, had Froch met his IBF mandatory DeGale, Las Vegas would probably not have come knocking in any meaningful way. DeGale is unquestionably talented, but in boxing talent often takes a backseat to popularity.
And someone like Chavez is nothing if not popular. The guy is Mexican boxing royalty. What’s more, he genuinely seems to want to meet Froch in the ring – an odd thing for a man as famously lackadaisical as Junior is.
The question now is whether or not Froch will actually be able to get Chavez – or even the aging Hopkins, for that matter – in a Nevada prizefighting ring. As anyone who’s followed the latest Pacquiao-Mayweather circus knows, huge fights can be difficult to make these days.
And Froch-Chavez is a huge fight. So is Froch-Hopkins, though probably not quite as big in lieu of Hopkin’s recent beatdown at the hands of Sergey Kovalev. Another question, of course, is how much longer the 37-year-old Froch is going to look sharp in the ring.
There’s no doubt the man called the Cobra looked impressive against Groves in their rematch, but that was well over half-a-year ago. Ring rust can be dangerous, especially for an aging fighter. Of course, Froch could take comfort in the fact that Chavez has also been out of the picture for a while himself, and that Hopkins is now fifty years of age.
Still, as Mick Jagger once sang – “time waits for no one.”
As for DeGale, he’ll still get a shot at the title.
“Right after Froch relinquished the belt, the IBF ordered DeGale to face the next leading available contender, Andre Dirrell (24-1, 16 KOs), 31, of Flint, Michigan, for the vacant title,” ESPN reports. “IBF president Daryl Peoples told ESPN.com that negotiations need to be concluded by March 5 or a purse bid will be ordered.”
DeGale may have wanted Froch, but at least he’s getting a crack at the title. Dirrell, however, is no pushover. He’s only lost once in his career – to none other than Carl Froch himself.