Reigning IBF super middleweight champion Carl Froch is at the peak of his career right now and is at the stage where he will want to cash in on the biggest fights he can get before hanging up his gloves for good. He is fighting George Groves on November 23rd, and providing that the Nottingham fighter wins convincingly and without controversy, the search for more big fights will continue. But who is left? Actually, there are surprisingly still a number of worthy fights as I will tell.
Andre Ward – Froch and Ward already fought in 2011. Ward won a complete shut out even though the scorecards did not reflect this. Ward claimed that their fight must have been so frustrating for Froch that the British fighter actually bit the American, an incident that the referee supposedly missed. Ward said that Froch immediately apologised after the final bell rang and Froch has been clamouring for a follow up contest ever since, but wants it to take place in the UK which is probably unlikely. Ward, in the mean time, has to convince people that he is still as good as he ever was after being out of the ring for so long after being plagued with injury. He will fight Edwin Rodriguez on November 16th.
Sakio Bika – Former Joe Calzaghe challenger Sakio Bika captured the WBC title in June and will make his first defense against Anthony Dirrell in December. Bika is rough and tough and is a difficult fight for anybody, especially since he is not afraid to throw in a few cheeky fouls to get his way. Calzaghe was butted in their 2006 fight which saw the former Welsh champion cut for the first time in his career. Froch would probably have a difficult night on his hands if he were ever to face the Cameroon fighter but I think the fight is unlikely to happen as Bika will not be a huge pound bringer.
Mikkel Kessler – It is currently 1-1 between the two fighters after engaging with one another in Denmark and in London, but Kessler did not look his usual self in the rematch as he was consistently beat to the jab and caught with huge hooks to the head, something which he was unable to overcome. Their original contest divided opinions as to who won but the rematch did not really leave much room for doubt. Still, with the right excuses from Kessler and smart marketing, I’m sure they could pull it off one last time.
Bernard Hopkins – The 48 year old light heavyweight champion is still showing the young guns how boxing truly works and seems to look his best against fighters who think of knockouts as priority. Promoter Eddie Hearn has already said that Froch is a little too small for Hopkins, a statement which is a little unusual, but Hopkins has expressed interest in it in the past and with the right money on the table, anything is possible. However, the ‘Alien’ may also have another mega fight in the works as a back up. Floyd Mayweather’s name has been uttered out of his mouth several times since the pound for pound star beat Saul Alvarez in September, so time will tell on this one.
Andre Dirrell – Dirrell has had just one comeback fight this year, a points decision over Michael Gbenga, and while he has gone real quiet on the boxing scene ever since there are fans out there that think him and Froch have unfinished business together after Froch controversially won a split decision. While there was a lot of holding and Dirrell using his legs to get away from the hard punches of Froch, there are those that think Dirrell did enough to give Froch his first loss. But times have changed now. Froch is on the up and sky is the limit for him while Dirrell appears to be unsure about his future in boxing. This match up is probably unlikely ever to happen and there will be questions about their fight when one of them retires and fans look back at the current Greats.
James DeGale – DeGale seems to have gone a little backward in terms of being known to the public, which is a little surreal considering that he is currently fighting on terrestrial television, but DeGale is ranked number five by the WBC and the IBF and has cracked the top 10 of the WBA, so no doubt he will be due a title shot in the not too distant future. But if he is ever to face Froch then his stock and image needs considerable boosting unless he is made mandatory.
Sergey Kovalev – Unlikely, but the Russian has been given generous credit recently due to his win over Nathan Cleverly and his reputation for being a huge puncher would be enough for any opponent to take who needs motivating if they were fighting subpar opposition. Froch is the taller man with the longer reach and their styles would gel well together. But it remains to be seen if Kovalev will be content to keep making mandatory defense after mandatory defense of his newly won WBO crown and whether Froch would step up in weight.
Lucian Bute – Even though their apparently was a rematch clause in the contract, Froch may now have made that invalid after crushing Bute in five rounds. Bute is fighting Jean Pascal in early 2014 and it remains to be seen if he ever wants a part of Froch once again. I am betting this one will never happen and that Bute will try to find a way in on a title that Froch will be nowhere near of.
Tony Bellew -The loud Tony Bellew is fighting Adonis Stevenson next in his due title opportunity and if he somehow overcame Stevenson then another domestic match up could be in the works, one which I think Froch would not hesitate to take to add the achievement of a two weight world champion to his legacy. But winning over Adonis Stevenson is a very tall order and is an impossible mission to many.
Adonis Stevenson – The explosive Adonis Stevenson has got the world watching him after knocking out Chad Dawson in one round and showing that he is more than just a puncher against Tavoris Cloud, stopping him in seven. Stevenson was made mandatory challenger to Froch’s IBF title before being shunned for the rematch against Kessler. Stevenson stepped up to 175 soon after and many are wondering whether Froch would ever want a piece of Stevenson before retiring. It’s certainly a dangerous fight for both guys but one that should happen if Froch wants to continue to impress.
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