Carl Froch to Announce Opponent Tomorrow: Who Will "The Cobra" Fight?

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Carl Froch to Announce Opponent Tomorrow: Who Will
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According to ESPN.com’s UK branch, current IBF super middleweight titlist and three-time world champion Carl Froch will announce his next opponent tomorrow (Monday, August 20) for a November defense in his hometown of Nottingham.

After defeating Lucian Bute via devastating fifth-round TKO in May to wrest the IBF strap from the favored, Canadian-based Romanian, Froch (29-2, 21 KO) is certainly entitled to a less taxing, hometown date for his first defense.

Froch, who has faced a murderers row of super middleweight champions and contenders dating back to before his participation in the intensive and insanely competitive Super Six World Boxing Classic, perhaps also deserves a somewhat soft-touch for his November bout given that Bute (30-1, 24 KO) has exercised his rematch clause.

This means Froch will again be hitting the road and travelling to Montreal for a title fight after both boxers have sufficiently recuperated from their interim bouts.

Adding intrigue to Froch’s opponent announcement is the speculation that the opponent could be Nicholson Poulard, as reported by Dave Spencer of fightnews.com’s Canadian outlet:

After fighting much of his career in the shadows of his more famous brother Jean Pascal, NABA light heavyweight championship Nicholson Poulard may have finally earned the chance at world championship title [sic]. Poulard has been offered to face IBF super-middleweight champion Carl Froch for a November date. “We’ve been offered a title fight against Carl Froch,” said promoter Camille Estephan. “We’ll have to see if we can make 168 and whether this is a viable option for us.”

So, is Poulard (19-3, 9 KO) the right choice for Froch as “The Cobra” sets his crosshairs on a rematch with Bute and the potential lucrative options that could follow another victory over the former IBF champion?

In many ways, Poulard is exactly what Froch needs and deserves at this point. At 34, Poulard is only a year younger than Froch, but with only 22 career fights and having only turned pro in 2004, Jean Pascal’s big brother can be viewed as fresh. That said, Poulard does not present the challenges of youthful speed and athleticism that can make a stopgap opponent dangerous or surprising.

Poulard’s two early-career losses can be written off as a product of inexperience, and his only recent defeat was a 2009 setback to Sebastien Demers, a former IBF middleweight title challenger. Poulard’s last three wins over Frankie Santos, Lionell Thompson and Anton Sjomkin have been solid, but in no way does Poulard present the threat of having beaten, let alone fought a true world-class opponent.   

Still, Poulard is relatively durable and possesses a solid arsenal of skills. He has been a consistent performer on the undercard of major GYM (Groupe Yvon Michel) boxing cards at Montreal’s Bell Centre, so he has experienced the electric atmosphere of a major stadium fight.

Poulard’s most recent fights have been at light heavyweight, so the possibility of weight issues could be a stumbling block in negotiations for a fight with Froch. That said, Poulard’s potential opportunity against Froch would be a one-shot deal, and it seems almost certain that Poulard would sacrifice to move down in weight if he is in fact officially given the opportunity.

With only nine knockouts in 19 wins at super middleweight and light heavyweight, Poulard would pose no threat to Froch’s granite chin, and this is definitely a positive for Froch with more lucrative business looming. Despite all the advantages (or should it be disadvantages?) Poulard brings to the table, the most important element might be his connection to Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KO).

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An intriguing footnote to a Froch-Poulard fight would be Poulard’s desire to avenge his younger brother’s loss to Froch in a sensational 2008 WBC super middleweight title fight.  While Poulard would need a miracle to defeat Froch, the fight’s promotion would prominently surface Pascal’s name as a potential future opponent, assuming Froch defeats Bute for a second time.

Indeed, Spencer quotes Poulard as saying, “I would like to avenge my brother. I would like the fight, I would like to take his revenge.”

Poulard’s connection to the Montreal fight scene intelligently keeps Froch connected to both Bute and Pascal. Froch’s rematch with Bute will be a massive draw in Montreal, and a second fight with Pascal at light heavyweight, whether it takes place in Canada or England, would likely be even more significant (and possibly competitive).

At age 35, all of Froch’s fights take on added significance. Selecting Nicholson Poulard as an opponent would give “The Cobra” the break from proven elite fighters he deserves, while also paving the way for subsequent bouts that should be lucrative for Froch’s legacy and bank account.  

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