• Steve Bunce

Froch could realise Calzaghe dream

Steve Bunce June 7, 2011

Carl Froch won't get any A*s for his performance against Glen Johnson, he won't get any ten out of tens - but he did enough to win, and that's all that matters. That's what champions do.

Johnson came in with a brilliant tactic, and for six rounds it looked like it was working. He was catching Froch, making him look uncomfortable, and really hurting him with the short left to the body. You could see Carl's expression turn into a grimace every time it landed.

Johnson's camp saw that if you get into Froch's face, forcing him against the ropes, it takes him a while to adjust his feet because he's fairly unorthodox. But after six troublesome rounds, Froch's feet started to move and he gave us a masterclass, like we saw him do against Arthur Abraham.

Despite the slow start, I don't think Froch should have done anything different. Maybe a couple more straight shots to push Johnson back a little bit - but, at the end of the day, there's no reason to pick holes. Froch went to America and won - that's three out of four on the road now in the Super Six tournament - plus he had to deal with all the problems of being away, whereas Johnson faced a two hour journey up from Miami.

A great result for Carl, but I'm not going to lie, I doubt Sky will be happy with the quality of the fight. Although the commentators did their best to sell it as a great scrap, it wasn't half of Carl's bout against Jean Pascal, it wasn't a fraction of the Mikkel Kessler war - and it didn't have the tension or quality of the Abraham fight. It wasn't even 1% of the Jermain Taylor clash. In Froch's last six, that was the fifth best, with only Andre Dirrell worse.

In November he takes on Andre Ward, the WBA champion, and Froch will be completely different in that one, because Ward brings a very different style to Johnson. Ward is an Olympic champion who is very quick and very sharp. And listen, that's no problem, Carl's a chameleon, he can do different things - and if he fights with his brain, not his heart, he will always win.

Froch has been dismissive of the power in Ward's fists, but if the American keeps clipping him by using his good timing, he has a chance. Ward throws damaging enough punches to pose a threat, especially if he finds his rhythm.

Joe Calzaghe v Carl Froch at the City Ground next year is not impossible © Getty Images
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You know, the Ward fight could have been absolutely massive. If Sky had been in charge of the Super Six in the UK, and Carl's fights had all been in the UK, he would have won Sports Personality of the Year last year - and he would win it this year. If the Kessler, Johnson and Abraham fights were on Froch's home soil, he would now be a superstar, and we would be looking at the Ward fight taking place in the Millennium Stadium.

After Ward, Froch don't be surprised if Carl and promoter Eddie Hearn make an audacious bid of a few million for Froch to fight Joe Calzaghe at the City Ground.

I was talking to Joe about a comeback, thinking he would put a 20-30 million price tag on his return, and he looked at me like I was mad. I said: "What? For less than ten?" and he replied: "Far less than ten". Carl knows about the conversation.

And here's the other thing: Joe thinks it'd be an easy fight.

Twelfth Round

McCloskey well-matched
I wouldn't be at all surprised if the rumoured fight between Paul McCloskey and Marcos Maidana happens - and if I were to bet on the fight, provided it was in Belfast, I'd have a tenner down on McCloskey to win.

Maidana has a reputation as a big puncher, but he is not a monster. In his last fight he outpointed Erik Morales, who came out of exile after 740 years, stepped up about three weight divisions, boxed his ears off and didn't get a decision.

Perez a prize opponent
Another bout that's being mooted is between Mike Perez and Audley Harrison, two Prizefighter champions. Perez is still raw, but it could be interesting as I'm convinced Audley still has a performance in him - and he's still a name, still an attraction.

What does he have to gain? Well, pound notes, let's not mince our words, but Perez also has a ranking from all the sanctioning bodies and, after the David Haye-Wladimir Klitschko fight, the belts are going to splinter and you're going to get diamond titles etc. Who's to say Audley won't end up with a version of the WBA strap in the future?

Martin's malaise
A sad end to Christy Martin's attempt to win her 50th fight. She was in front on all three scorecards, she dropped her opponent Dakota Stone in the fourth round (and also injured her hand), then in the sixth round she turned away, went to the corner and told the doctor she couldn't continue as she had a grotesquely swollen hand. So the Christy Martin story continues.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Steve Bunce Close
Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.