Carl Froch had just gotten done exacting revenge on rival Mikkel Kessler when the inevitable "who's next" questions began. Froch, never short on hyperbole, commented that he was the greatest British fighter of all time.
While that might not be entirely accurate, he's still a very good fighter who has taken on a murderers row of opponents since bursting onto the scene with his 2009 knockout of Jermain Taylor. He's easily No. 2 in his division, second only to Andre Ward who defeated him last year.
Has he done enough to crack the top 10? Not quite, but he's close.
Of all the victories on his resume, none stands out more than his knockout win over Lucian Bute last May. Bute was a perfect 30-0 and had knocked out six of the last seven fighters he'd faced, including a fantastic stoppage win over cement-headed Librado Andrade.
At the time, Bute was considered to be even with Ward as the two top dogs in the division. Froch ended that notion emphatically, and with extreme prejudice. He avenged his 2010 loss to Kessler last month in front of a packed house in the U.K.
He has defeated Jean Pascal, Glen Johnson and Andre Dirrell, and he (along with Ward) exposed just how painfully overrated Arthur Abraham was as a fighter by dominating every second of their match at the end of 2010.
His resume makes a strong case for pound-for-pound inclusion.
The problem is that other blemish on his record.
It isn't so much that he lost to Ward. Many top fighters have lost to him, and a whole bunch more will do the same in the future. It was the way he lost that hurts his case. He was defeated easily, often looking amateurish against a guy fighting the majority of the bout with one hand.
While two judges had the fight scored ridiculously close, it was clear to everyone else that Ward won at least eight rounds without really breaking a sweat.
It's a testament to Froch's determination and grit that he never stopped swinging, even when it seemed clear to him that he wasn't going to win the fight. But he needed a win against Ward, or at least an extremely close loss to warrant a spot in the top ten.
Perhaps he'll get a chance for a rematch. Ward is still on the shelf with a shoulder injury and won't be fighting for some time. But he doesn't have a whole lot of options in terms of money-making fights. For Froch, whose style is much more fan-friendly, he'll have plenty of choices in front of him.
He could try and secure a rubber match with Kessler, or move up to light-heavyweight and try his hand at Bernard Hopkins. Or maybe Adonis Stevenson caught Froch's eye by dump trucking Chad Dawson.
In any case, it seems that Froch won't be able to sleep well until he gets another crack at Ward. If he can somehow defeat the skilled American, he'll finally secure himself a spot in the top ten. But he should probably look elsewhere to stamp his legacy.
For starters, Ward is a dreadful style match for Froch, who is at his best when facing other bangers who like to mix it up.
The other issue is that while Ward is the champion with a win against him, Froch is the bigger draw. Money complicates a lot of things, boxing being one of them. It will complicate the chances for a rematch as well.
But if Froch can continue securing victories against other good fighters, his stock will continue to rise. He won't need to beat Ward if he can defeat Hopkins or Stevenson impressively. There is certainly room in the top ten for two guys from the same division.
As for now, Froch probably sits somewhere between 11-15 on the pound-for-pound list.
He'll never get to test himself against fellow Brit Joe Calzaghe, but he'll still have plenty of opponents to pick from.
He's 35 years old with a brawling style of fighting. He should have faded by now but if anything, he's gotten better with age. Maybe he'll get one more shot at Ward before he retires. Regardless of the outcome, he'll be firing bombs until the end.
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