It might or might not be the end to the career of Carl Froch, but it’s a special way to go. The 36-year old WBA and IBF super middleweight champion provided a fantastic show and knockout victory against George Groves as more than 80,000, a record-crowd for a British boxing bout, watched and cheered the Cobra win the rematch.
The previous fight was controversial to say the least when the two fought in Manchester. Groves was ahead on points for most of the fight before Froch finally started dominating in the in the ninth round. British referee Howard John Foster stepped in to end the fight despite Groves not looking too hurt or in too much trouble. The IBF ordered a rematch, and plenty of trash talking from the two fighters turned it into a huge event, much bigger than anyone anticipated.
Carl Froch has never been a fast starter, and it took him six rounds to get comfortable in the second fight. Groves didn’t knock him down like in the previous fight, but his jab and strong right hand kept him in control, rocking Froch in the third round, used a nice left-right combination in the fourth and again in the fifth to make Froch look weak in the knees. However, the young Londoner from Hammersmith couldn’t finish the job as Froch started making his way back.
Froch became more involved in the exchanged, which somewhat stunned Groves, falling further and further back, no longer getting the best as the two traded punches in the sixth and seventh rounds. In the eighth, Froch finally completed the job, ending any doubt. Froch faked a left and then hit Groves with a right on the chin. The 26-year old fell back, with his left leg bent all the way back. The referee stopped the fight. Groves tried getting up, but fell into the referee’s arms, clearly not in a condition to carry on fighting.
I’ve been involved in some magnificent fights with top, top world champions. This is, by far, the biggest and best crowd I’ve boxed in front of. I’m proud. George Groves should be proud. It was neck and neck in there. Sometimes one punch can be the difference and, unfortunately for George, he was at the wrong end of a right hand from a seasoned challenger like myself. I stuck to my boxing and timed my right hand to perfection. Nothing will ever top boxing in Wembley Stadium, the national stadium in my own country.
After getting treated with some oxygen, Groves looked very disappointed. He landed more punches (126 to 96) and was a lot more accurate (40% to 28%). Losing two consecutive title bouts is going to hurt his way climbing up the ladder of boxing, even if he actually outboxed Froch in both fights except for when it actually mattered.
Froch isn’t retiring yet, despite saying he reached a peak he won’t be able to beat. It was his 12th consecutive title fight, winning his last five. He avenged one of his two career losses by beating Mikkel Kessler, and he’s not deluding himself about being able to beat Andre Ward. Now it’s about making the most of what’s left for him in his career.
James DeGale, a 2008 gold medalist, is the mandatory challenger after beating Brandon Gonzales in a title eliminator that earned the winner a mandatory shot at the main event winner. But there are other options. His promoter was in contact with Top Rank about a bigger fight, at least in terms of money – Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
That fight, in the United States, might be a big draw on PPV on both sides of the pond. Froch has already said he is interested in fighting Chavez, who has lost once in his career (Sergio Martinez, 2012), wining twice against Brian Vera since, but right now is going on a long summer vacation, trying to see if there’s anything more left for him to do after winning in such a way against such a huge crowd.