Froch seeks fame, fortune in U.S.
Jermain Taylor said he gets a strange reaction when he tells people he’s fighting Carl Froch on April 25.
“I would tell people all the time here in the States that I was fighting Carl Froch and everybody was saying, ‘Who?’ It was kind of embarrassing,” said Taylor, who claims he also didn’t know who Froch was until recently.
And that’s why the Englishman will be defending his WBC super middleweight title against the former belt holder in Mashantucket, Conn. – so Americans will know who he is and appreciate what he does.
He has fought outside the UK only once, when he stopped Henry Porras in Hollywood, Calif., in 2005.
“I am looking forward to going to America and showing to SHOWTIME and the fans what this English guy can do,” Froch said during a news conference Wednesday in London. “ÔÇª Obviously, it is correct that American fans don’t know me. But I am a boxing superstar, which is why I am coming to fight on American soil on Showtime.
“”If British fighters want to become big stars, they definitely need to go to America.”
Froch (24-0, 19 knockouts) won the title vacated by Joe Calzaghe when he outpointed Jean Pascal in December in Nottingham, Froch’s hometown.
He could’ve followed the lead of Calzaghe and defended the title indefinitely on his own soil and made a nice living, which is what Calzaghe did until the last few years of his career. Froch, 31, wants to try his luck in the U.S. while in his prime.
“It took Calzaghe 10, 12 years to go there and make a name for himself,” Froch said. “(But) for me, as a fighter, I need to do this (now). I am 31 and my best years are now. I could stay in England and fight mandatory defenses, but I want to prove to the boxing press and America that I mean business and that I am the real deal.”
Taylor (28-2-1, 17 KOs) was once the undisputed middleweight titleholder, having twice outpointed Bernard Hopkins.
However, his career took a major tumble when he lost twice to Kelly Pavlik, once by knockout and once on points. He rebounded with a one-sided decision over fading Jeff Lacy in a title eliminator in November, his first fight as a full-fledged super middleweight.
Taylor refused to fight Froch in England because of what he perceives as the titleholder’s anonymity but is happy to play host to him in the U.S.
“I wasn’t dodging anybody,” said Taylor, referring to suggestions Froch made before the deal was finalized. “But I wasn’t going over there. Not that I couldn’t beat him in England – it didn’t matter where we fought – but nobody knew who Carl Froch was.
“ÔÇª He needed to come here to make a name for himself, so people would know who he was. He can make a name for himself by beating me, or by getting beat up. Froch needs me as much as I need him. This is his way to prove that he’s the best.”
Taylor said he lost focus after the Hopkins fights but is back on track.
“I was hungry for the Hopkins fights but I think I got too relaxed and too comfortable after them,” he said. “I was confident against Pavlik but I did some unnecessary things that I should not have been doing. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do in the gym. In the second fight with Pavlik, I had him ready to go but I was too cautious.
“But you learn from mistakes and that makes you a better fighter. This is my way of getting back on track and showing everybody that the fights I lost, it wasn’t me in there.”
Froch said it doesn’t matter which Taylor shows up on April 25.
“I don’t want to sound bigheaded, but I can’t see Taylor going the distance with me,” he said. “I’ve been training too hard. He was one of the best middleweights and junior middles, but he fought small men who wouldn't go two or three rounds with me.
“I don’t want to disrespect Taylor, but I can’t imagine him doing more than he showed against Jeff Lacy, a fight I turned off after seven rounds.”
Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected] Please not the new email address