The Ring All-Star Report Cards: Carl Froch
Note: This feature originally appeared in the October edition of THE RING magazine. The November issue, with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the cover, is on newsstands now. The cover story is titled: “10 Guys Who Would Have Kicked Mayweather's Butt.”
It was out with the old and in with the new as THE RING composed this year’s All-Star Report Cards. Gone from last year’s survey are such old warhorses as Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Chris John and Israel Vazquez. In place of those fighters were newer, fresher names like Yuriorkis Gamboa and Timothy Bradley, a sign that new blood is being pumped into the sport. Meanwhile, names like Sergio Martinez and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam show that our All-Star list always has room for veterans, provided they’re still producing in the ring.
Aside from the youth movement, other trends have emerged this year. For instance, there is a noticeable dip in Mexican or Mexican-American fighters among our 20 All-Stars. When THE RING first compiled this roster in 2003, there were five such fighters listed; this year, there is one. Also, the number of fighters born in the United States shrunk from 13 in 2003 to a measly four this year. Lopez and Miguel Cotto are U.S. citizens by way of Puerto Rico, but they didn’t learn their stuff in the American amateur system, so they can’t be counted. Brits are on the rise, though. There was only one Brit All-Star in 2003, but three made the list this year, sans Hatton.
Perhaps you’re wondering why some of your favorite fighters didn’t make the list, but rest assured that many other fighters were given close consideration. It’s just that some fighters seem to lose fights as we’re creating our list, and others just fall a bit short in terms of box office and general excitement value.
The 20 fighters who made it weren't chosen solely on their ability to sell tickets and attract cable customers but the ability to fill seats definitely plays a big part in our selection process. Some fighters, Nonito Donaire for example, might not yet be a legitimate star on the level of Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao, but we felt he can compete with the best in terms of talent, and is certainly on his way to stardom.
Those who were removed from last year’s list are gone because they simply didn’t do enough to merit inclusion this year. The one exception is the late Edwin Valero. He made it last time, and there was every reason to believe he’d repeat.
With that in mind, here are the 2010 All-Star Report Cards. The fighters are judged on talent, achievement, marketability, support system, and growth potential. They are presented in order of weight class, starting with the heavyweights.
Today: Carl Froch. Tomorrow: Lucian Bute.
26-1 (20 KOs)
TALENT: He looks like a bent-nosed hooligan you might run into at a UK pub, but England’s Froch is actually a crafty, intelligent fighter. His habit of holding his hands low is more than compensated for by his being surprisingly fast and accurate with both hands. His right lead, in particular, is a dangerous weapon, partly because no one expects to be hit with it from such a weird angle. Froch has had a long-running verbal feud with the retired Joe Calzaghe, and in a way, Froch is to Calzaghe what Larry Holmes was to Muhammad Ali. Not as slick and not as popular, but similar in terms of style, although carrying a bit more power. He’s also tough, willing to brawl when he’s backed into a corner. Grade: B+
ACHIEVEMENT: Froch first grabbed the attention of American fight fans by coming up off the canvas to score a last-minute TKO over Jermain Taylor. After a fairly good amateur career – he was the first British boxer to win a medal at the senior World Championships – Froch won several UK belts at the professional level, notching wins over such British warhorses as Brian MaGee and Robin Reid. In 2008, he faced Jean Pascal for the WBC super middleweight title vacated by Calzaghe, winning a unanimous decision in one of the best fights of the year. Froch has since gone on to become one of the stars of Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic, having earned a close decision over Andre Dirrell and then losing the WBC belt to Mikkel Kessler in a close but entertaining battle. He faces Arthur Abraham in his last fight of the first round on Nov. 27 in Finland. Grade B+
MARKETABILITY: Froch’s verbose personality and aggressive style make him the type of fighter you’d like to see against anyone. He’s already developed a strong following in his hometown of Nottingham and the Showtime tournament is adding to his luster. Grade: B+
SUPPORT SYSTEM: Froch has a good relationship with trainer Robert McCracken, a former Brit middleweight of some renown. Froch’s manager/promoter Mick Hennessy, who had also been McCracken’s manager, will have his hands full in the future because Froch has grown skittish about fighting anywhere near an opponent’s home turf. Froch will never believe the loss to Kessler was anything but a hometown screw job, so Hennessy will spend as much time negotiating for location as he does for money. The Froch-Abraham bout created headaches for everyone, as Hennessy battled Abraham’s team to bring the bout to Canada, rather than Germany, where Abraham had wanted it. Everybody agreed on Monaco when the fight was supposed to be on Oct. 2, but it ended up Helsinki after it was postponed. Grade: A-
GROWTH POTENTIAL: Even if he’s eliminated from the Super Six tournament, there could be lucrative rematches with his tourney opponents, Dirrell and Kessler. Even a return with Pascal – now the light heavyweight champion — could generate some interest. We won’t say the sky is the limit for 33-year-old Froch, but he stands to have a few more years of big fights. Grade: A-
Previous All-Star Report Cards