By Liam McInerney
Sugar Ray Leonard tweeted this month: “A fighter never knows when it’s the last bell. He doesn’t want to face that.” After dedicating your life to boxing and working relentlessly to reach the top, it must be difficult to just give it up. But that is the arduous decision Carl Froch has to make.
Watching Carl Froch fight is much more appealing than listening to him talk on Sky Sports television. But if he returns to the ring his legacy can only be weakened.
The Cobra has suggested he is “too big and too strong” for Gennady Golovkin. Froch may be a super middleweight compared to the middleweight Golovkin but that wouldn’t prevent GGG from making the Englishman his latest KO victim.
To put it frankly, Froch would lose to either Gennady Golovkin or Andre Ward and if he decided to have a domestic battle with James DeGale he wouldn’t prove anything.
One argument is that Carl has fought and beaten greater opponents than Golovkin has. But at this stage in both men’s careers it is irrelevant. Even a Carl Froch in his prime would have a formidable challenge in giving GGG his first defeat.
It’s not just the powerful right hand Froch would have to avoid. When the Kazakhstani faced Matthew Macklin he demonstrated his ability to block his opponents jab with his right hand and counter land his own jab with his left. He also mastered cutting off the ring and fired a destructive right hand lead. He pummels the head with shots and then executes devastating body punches. Just consider Macklin’s agonising expression after being knocked out by a GGG body smash.
Irelands ex-featherweight world champion and hall of famer Barry McGuigan discussed the effect of body shots in his autobiography Cyclone My Story. He said when you punch the side of the body “it is the most horrible thing, because when you get them there, you paralyse the lungs and there is nothing you can do about it”. At 38 Carl Froch doesn’t need to endure that from the most feared man in boxing. Golovkin has KO’d 30 of his 33 opponents.
Froch might think people are underestimating his own strength and dangerous attack. But Golovkin has taken flush punches before especially against Curtis Stevens. The only outcome was that Stevens was brutally punished with 56 power punches which connected cleanly in a single round and the bout was stopped.
Having been inactive for over a year it is time for Froch to let a new era of super middleweights compete for their legacy. The Nottingham boxer will have to look on from ringside to see if the exciting 160-168 pound prospects can parallel his successes.
Carl has already secured his name into boxing history as a great. Eddie Hearn his promoter and Sky Sports will ensure he is never out of pocket either.
He wants to exhibit once again that he is a warrior and he is struggling to let go of the sport he loves. But we know he is a gladiator of boxing (he reminds us often enough of his achievements) and now is the time for him to move on.
Because if he doesn’t, he may have to update his new autobiography to say that his last fight wasn’t a KO of George Groves in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley, but a catastrophic defeat that will be remembered as the ending of his career.