By Ezio Prapotnich
It is typical of human nature to take good things for granted and focus on the negative. For the past two years, the boxing world attention has been captured by fighters who are not willing to face each other and the major complaint has been the lack of a world champion who is willing and capable to have more than 2 important consecutive fights. Fact is that this mythological figure actually exists. There is one man who broke into the limelight winning a world title, defending it, losing it and recapturing it over 5 tough important fights and he is still not getting the exposure he deserves in his own country. His name is Carl Froch (27-1, 20 KO’s), the 2 times WBC Super Middleweight champion of the world, who is about to enter the semifinal of the Super Six tournament taking on veteran Glen Johnson (51-14, 35 KO’s) on the 21st of May.
BOXINGINSIDER: Hi Carl. How is your training going so far?
CARL FROCH: I am in my third week now. I always train for 12 weeks and focus the first section of the camp on conditioning. I have been running, doing weights, and circuit training. Once I am back into shape, when I can do at least 6 rounds, I will start sparring.
BI: Did you select your sparring partners yet?
CF: Potentially, I will bring in Commonwealth champion George Groves and Kenny Anderson. They’re good, talented and hungry upcoming fighters, who can bang a bit. It will be good for me.
BI: You surprised everybody with your performance against Abraham, Will you employ the same tactics against Johnson?
CF: You do what you have to do to win, so, whatever Glen brings will determine what I am going to do. If he comes to fight and tries to pin me down, I will outbox him. If he chooses to box, then I might have to take the fight to him. But, usually, you know what you get with him: he will come forward, pressure and try to involve you in a war. I think it could be similar to the Abraham bout.
BI: How do you rate Johnson? Do you think he is past it?
CF: You cannot write anybody off or disrespect an opponent because of his age. Look at Bernard Hopkins.
BI: What is your pick between Abraham and Andre Ward?
CF: Common sense suggests that Ward is going to outbox Arthur, but you have to be realistic. Abraham is coming off a defeat with me and has his back against the wall: he needs to win. There is a chance he might catch Andre and knock him out. Ward is not the strongest fighter in the tournament and hasn’t got my punching power. I was able to stop Arthur on his tracks and push him back, Andre will have to run, hold, and do whatever it takes to survive. If Abraham catches up with him at any point, he could be in serious trouble.
BI: About the Super Six tournament in itself, it is every fan dream to see the best fight the best and have an unified division, but, from you own experience, do you reckon such big a format works out well in practical terms?
CF: Yes, I think it’s brilliant. It’s good for both the fans and the boxers in it, as it gives the latters the chance to be recognized as the best in their division. My profile has raised massively in America, because of it, and, indirectly in the UK, although more due to the complications rather than to the exposure I would need for my fights. My British tv profile has not been maximized unluckily.
BI: How do you feel about your ex-stablemate, former European Middleweight champion Darren Barker, who left Hennessy for a three fights deal with Sky under Matchroom Sport banner? Would you consider making a move like that?
CF: He did what he considered right for his future as he didn’t feel he was going anywhere with Hennessy. You cannot put me in the same category, though. I am a world champion and this is the latest stage of my career. I do not consider that kind of change at all.
BI: Talking about the future, who do you fancy winning in a fight between British champion James De Gale and George Groves?
CF: It’s a tough one to call. I think it’s 50/50. De Gale is very skilled and has this great amateur pedigree as former Olympic Gold Medalist. That said, George beat him in the amateurs. If it goes the distance, De Gale will win, also because of his high profile and of who is promoting him, but if George manages to catch him early, he has a good chance.
BI: Would you consider facing the winner?
CF: Why not? It would be a big domestic fight and a great one for the British fans, but, if I come out of the tournament on top, I have unfinished business to take care of at world level first.
BI: Are you referring to Kessler or newly installed WBC contender Kelly Pavlik?
CF: Pavlik is not even in the equation, as far as I am concerned. As Champion Emeritus, Kessler would come first and he would be my first choice anyway.
BI: Are you out for revenge after your point defeat against Mikkel?
CF: I have no hard feelings about it. Although I, as most people, believe I won it, I know I made a couple of mistakes in the build up and wasn’t in top shape. I should have pulled out and postpone like I had to do against Abraham. I learned from it and it gave me a kick in the back, that you need sometime. Obviously, I want to erase the blemish on my record and I know I can beat him, but I also know it’s a fight he doesn’t want. I got my belt back anyway, we will see.
BI: Changing subject, how do you feel about your fellow British world champion David Haye? Do you think the fight with Klitschko will go on this time?
CF: That’s a million dollars question. It’s a fight that needs to happen for both sides. They keep blaming David, but if the Klitschko really wanted it, it would have happened already.
Haye can do it. He has what it takes to move around and outbox them, especially Wlad. Also, he punches hard. If he gets on top of him and shellshocks him early, I know for a fact he will come out on top.
…While we wait for that to happen, we have no doubts that as long as Carl Froch is around, no one is safe in the Super Middleweight division.
Ezio Prapotnich is a London correspondent for BoxingInsider.com