Carl Froch's Next Fight: Breaking Down the Cobra's Potential Opponents

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2014

Carl Froch's Next Fight: Breaking Down the Cobra's Potential Opponents

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    It's pretty difficult not to like Carl Froch.

    He's an exciting and accomplished athlete. He's just arrogant enough to add spice to otherwise pedestrian events. And his girlfriend is smokin' hot enough to lift his post-fight entourage to world-class levels.

    After Saturday night, it's pretty clear he'll be a hot ticket for a while, too.

    His one-punch vaporization of George Groves in their long-awaited rematch was a compelling finish to a bout attended by 80,000 people, and it instantly triggered conjecture over which man might be next in line to join him on the main stage in London or elsewhere.

    "All around the world," HBO's Jim Lampley said, "potential opponents have to begin sizing up the money available from a fight with Carl Froch."

    We took a look at four potential foils for the Cobra's next go-around. Feel free to let us know what you think—and to perhaps make some suggestions of your own—in the comments section.

4. James DeGale

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    If he wants to keep it in the English family, Froch's best option is emerging countryman James DeGale.

    The Londoner warmed up the Wembley Stadium crowd on the Froch-Groves undercard on Saturday, halting previously unbeaten American Brandon Gonzales in just four rounds to justify his pre-fight placement as the No. 4 contender to Froch's IBF super middleweight title.

    Incidentally, Groves was No. 6 heading into Saturday night, and Gonzales was No. 3.

    And when it came to pre-fight chatter, the 28-year-old DeGale was already starting to chip away at Froch's aura by claiming the 36-year-old's best days were probably behind him.

    It probably doesn't warrant the 80,000-fan treatment, but it's easy to envision the two getting together for the champion's 16th date in his Nottingham hometown.

3. Gennady Golovkin

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    The specter of Gennady Golovkin strikes fear into the hearts of mere middleweights.

    Promoter Lou DiBella referred to the IBO/WBA 160-pound champion as an "animal," per Yahoo's Kevin Iole, and eschewed the idea of his man, WBC titleholder Sergio Martinez, returning from a prolonged layoff to meet him.

    But Froch's promoter, Eddie Hearn, seems to welcome the idea of the Kazakhstan-born Triple-G packing on eight pounds to test his wares against bigger and sturdier men.

    In particular, his man, as he told Sky Sports (via the Daily Mail):

    Golovkin is a freak of nature. He's a beast. According to HBO, he'd be willing to step up to super middleweight, and a fight with Carl Froch would just be epic. Carl Froch will fight any man. Whilst Golovkin is largely avoided, Froch will quite willingly step up and ideally that is a fight that could happen.

2. Andre Ward

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    They fought 30 months ago in New Jersey, and Andre Ward was deemed a unanimous winner, taking 10, seven and seven rounds on three official scorecards.

    But in the aftermath of Froch's smashing defeat of Groves on Saturday, it's not just the Englishman who believes a rematch in the United Kingdom might be in order.

    "If Andre Ward correctly believes that he's a bigger star, then [Froch] is there," analyst Roy Jones Jr. said on HBO's post-fight broadcast. "The economic incentive is to go over there."

    Ward hasn't dismissed the idea of stepping into Froch's backyard, but he has said that money will be the deciding factor in getting him there. Froch, meanwhile, insists that if a return bout is going to happen, it's got to be across the pond.

    "He needs to come and beat me. That means travel," he told the BBC.

1. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

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    Were it not for George Groves, a Froch fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. might have already happened.

    Before an immediate rematch with Groves was mandated by the IBF, in fact, Froch told the Daily Mail that a bout with the son of the Mexican Hall of Famer was "pretty much nailed-on as being done" and indicated that his two bouts in 2014 were indeed likely to be with Groves and Chavez Jr.

    After Saturday, he's halfway home. And in the view of HBO's post-fight broadcast team, it seems Chavez will be there waiting for him. ESPN's Dan Rafael also reported that a conversation between Froch's and Chavez's promotional teams took place about a possible bout later this year in Las Vegas.

    "I'd love to box in Las Vegas," Froch said. "It ticks a really special box for me. It's the fight capital of the world."