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He was planting that stinging jab on Froch’s nose and he was landing the straight right hand at will. He was making the aggressive fighter take pause, greatly diminishing his normally high-punch output.
It didn’t matter. Froch calmly continued his pursuit, landing hard body shots until that moment in the eighth round when he brought it all home.
Groves was still landing shots, but he was now taking shots as well. He was winning the fight in the center of the ring, but he was frequently finding himself against the ropes.
Froch then feinted with a left hook, causing Groves to attempt his own left.
Except that Groves didn’t land.
Instead, what landed was an absolute rocket right hand from Froch. He cracked Groves on the jaw, sending him immediately to the mat and into snoozeville.
And once again, Carl Froch was back.
Very few fighters in recent years have gone on a run of difficult fights like Froch went through. From 2009 to 2012, Froch’s opponents were as follows: Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson, Andre Ward, and Lucian Bute.
Since then, he’s avenged his close loss to Kessler, and gone to war twice with Groves. He emphatically answered the questions asked of him after the first Groves fight. So what’s next?
Froch has a well-documented ego, and he’d love another shot at Ward, the only fighter to have beaten him soundly. But Ward has major issues, beginning with the fact that he’s currently embroiled in a rather messy spat with his promoter that has sidelined him indefinitely.
Couple that with the fact that Froch just drew 80,000 fans in his home country, while Ward draws just a small percentage of that in his own hometown, and the logistics of a rematch are pretty complicated.
Even if a location could be agreed upon, Ward is simply all wrong for Froch. He’s at worst the number two fighter in the world, and he basically toyed with Froch in their first fight even with a badly injured left hand.
Froch needs something else. He needs a fighter closer to his own ilk. A slugger with some boxing skills. A guy who can take a shot and deliver one as well. A guy with drawing power. A guy who could help sell a pay-per-view.
Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
Now that his fight with the unhuman Gennady Golovkin is off, Chavez is the perfect opponent for Froch.
They’re both highly skilled, and they’re both vulnerable. Froch can be outboxed and sometimes has long defensive lapses, while Chavez enjoys cheetos and weed a bit more than he probably should.
Oh, and they also have iron chins.
The result could be an absolutely epic war, and one hell of a payout for both guys. Froch will be 37 in a month, and has been in some brutal fights. He’s openly discussed retirement on several occasions. He doesn’t have a whole lot of fights left. As a guy who has taken on all comers, he deserves one final major fight.
For Chavez, he has his own legacy to stamp out. After being hopelessly outmatched against Sergio Martinez, he damn near came up with a 12th round miracle. He never gave up, and that’s all his fans really want from him. Heart.
He garnered some awful publicity by not showing up in shape for his first fight with Bryan Vera and then receiving what many believed was a gift decision, but he seemed to recover with a solid performance in the rematch.
A fight with Froch will no doubt bring out the best Chavez. Enter the ring out of shape and undertrained against Froch, and you leave on a stretcher.
A victory over Froch would open up major avenues for the 28-year-old Mexican star, and he’d have a win over a top super middleweight under his belt.
For once, this seems like an easy fight to make. Most importantly, both guys seem to want it. In fact, they seem tailor-made for each other when you look at the other options.
Ward has already schooled Froch and would be a heavy favorite to do the same to Chavez, and Golovkin seems destined to smash anything in front of him for several years.
But when you look at a potential Froch vs. Chavez fight, it’s harder to pick a clear winner. Froch has way more experience, and he’s been in the ring with every style. But Chavez is much younger, and no matter what weight class he’s in, he always seems to dwarf the guy across from him.
Could Froch handle Chavez’s size and body shots? Could Chavez handle Froch’s power and unbreakable determination?
Hopefully, we’ll all be finding out soon.
Header photo by Ed Mulholland