Somebody wake Prince Charles. There’s big news out of London.
When Carl Froch landed a laser-guided, right-hand missile to challenger George Groves’ jaw on Saturday evening, he didn’t just retain the legitimate International Boxing Federation and bogus World Boxing Association title belts that he’d carried with him to the Wembley Stadium ring.
He also re-ensconced himself as the legitimate King of England.
While Charles and his kin have bloodlines that deem them worthy of a comfy bed at Buckingham Palace, the stuff that warrants Froch’s claim to the throne goes far beyond paternal good fortune. As the 36-year-old bruiser again displayed by vanquishing his 20-something foil for the second time, Froch's reign is based instead on the sort of mettle honed not on polo fields in Gloucestershire but in dingy gyms in Nottingham.
Where David Haye has looks and Amir Khan has charisma, the "Cobra" has grit and guts.
Just as he had been in the first fight with the self-assured (read: mouthy) youngster six months ago, Froch was the older, slower and technically outgunned man in the early going Saturday, as Groves peppered him with precise shots delivered by faster hands from better angles. Unlike the first time, however, Groves was unable to dent the older man’s chin, and when the close of the fourth session featured a prolonged flurry of body work along the ropes, the momentum had officially changed.
Froch transformed the clinic into a street fight for the subsequent nine minutes, and, though Groves was able to deflect the looping left hand that started the fateful exchange in the eighth, he had no answer for the thunderbolt behind it—and had no recourse but to accept the reality in its concussive aftermath.
“He caught me,” Groves said, as reported by The Guardian. “I'll come back bigger and better and stronger. Ultimately, I feel like I let myself down. But congratulations to Carl. Fair play.”
With Groves’ stubborn concession comes significant opportunity for his conqueror.
Though he’s rightfully ranked as second banana to legitimate WBA champ Andre Ward by virtue of their one-sided match 30 months ago in New Jersey, it’s hard to argue that Froch’s royal magnetism—there were 80,000 tickets sold to Saturday’s fight, by the way—won’t make him the straw that stirs the drink when it comes to any truly substantial event in the near future at 168 pounds.
He’s not the best super middle in the world, but after Saturday, he’s clearly the most important.
The HBO announcer team of Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr. echoed the sentiments at the conclusion of the day’s oddly disjointed broadcast, which featured the three men commentating from a Nevada casino ballroom on what appeared to be deafening tumult 5,200 miles to the east.
“All around the world, potential opponents have to begin sizing up the money available from a fight with Carl Froch,” said the erudite Lampley, who proceeded to rattle off Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Gennady Golovkin and Ward himself as potential high-profile suitors. Colleague Jones quickly piled on in agreement, implying, in fact, that it’s Ward who may need the fight far more than his former victim.
“If Andre Ward correctly believes that he’s a bigger star, then (Froch) is there,” Jones said. “The economic incentive is to go over there, not just for Andre Ward, but for Triple-G, Chavez Jr. or anyone else.”
They're right on all counts when describing a fighter whose whole is certifiably greater than the sum of his parts and one who doesn't appear ready to abdicate anytime soon.
"I'm feeling elated," Froch said as he left the ring Saturday night. "This is the best moment of my boxing career."
Yes indeed, George Groves. It’s good to be the king.
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