Michael Owen has hit out at the culture of British sports fans after world super-middleweight champion Carl Froch was booed after beating George Groves on Saturday night.
The former England striker described the treatment of the Nottingham fighter, ranked Britain's No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer by Boxrec, as an “utter disgrace.”
Owen was speaking after Groves was controversially stopped in the ninth round of the contest, which prompted a chorus of boos when Froch spoke after the fight.
Owen was quoted on Sportlobster.com (subscription required) as saying:
I can only attribute this type of behaviour to the way we are brought up in this country where we have a history of celebrating great sporting near misses. We should celebrate winners, yet all we heard was a chorus of boos directed towards Froch as he spoke in the aftermath of his fight. Of course, there is inevitably going to be some frustration among the paying public because of the referee’s hasty decision, but to target frustrations at Froch was an utter disgrace.
Owen also criticised the Manchester crowd for their treatment of challenger Groves who was heavily booed before the fight.
He fully deserved his standing ovation at the end of the fight and, as such, I do wonder why he was hated so much in the minutes leading up to the fight. Furthermore, I’d love to understand the mind-set of those people who slaughtered him during his ring entrance and then cheered him on his way out – there were plenty of them. Of course we should celebrate George Groves, a youngster who we all hope has a great future at world level, but let’s also praise the person who should be receiving the vast majority of the plaudits – that is Carl Froch, the actual winner.