On Saturday night Carl ‘the Cobra’ Froch put on a career best performance; schooling, frustrating and embarrassing the German-based Armenian Arthur Abraham. Against an immensely powerful and granite chinned Abraham, Froch was expected to struggle to find gaps in an impregnable defence, become tired, bewildered and wild, with many in the trade believing he would be stopped late on. However, in a display that defied the critics, Froch used all the skills that won him England’s first ever medal at the World Amateur Boxing Championships and had since been forgotten as he had come to be seen as a one dimensional brawler.
Standing behind a long and accurate jab, controlling pace and distance he made Abraham appear a lumbering, lurching, Frankenstein caricature, winning almost every minute of every round. In doing so he regained the WBC Super-Middleweight Championship, progressed to the semi-final of the Super Six tournament and proved finally that he is an outstanding world class talent. Yet hardly anyone knows who he is.
While Sky Sports remains the only broadcaster with any interest in showing boxing, any fighter who isn’t called Hatton, Haye or Khan is going to struggle to make any headway gaining fame or fortune. With the BBC showing an ever-dwindling array of sports, ITV turning its back on the sweet science and Setanta leaving our screen permanently there is only a small pool of money to buy fights. And so Froch is left to display his skills on a little known pay-per-view service watched by one man and his dog.
The ones losing out though, are not the Cobra, but us. Three of Froch’s last five fights against Jean Pascal, Jermaine Taylor and MIkkel Kessler have been fight of the year contenders, while his most recent showcase, though not thrilling, was still something any British sports fan would want to witness and appreciate. Despite the skills that Froch displayed this week, he still has a tendency, and even a desire, to dispense with pugilism’s finer points and just have a good old scrap, leaving those lucky enough to watch it on the edge of our seats. It’s got him into trouble on many occasions, and could even be attributed to his sole loss against Kessler but this willingness to brawl, this love of a tear-up on the cobbles is what fight fans want most from their heroes, if only they’re given the opportunity to see it.
Anyhow, with or without television’s support the Cobra continues on. Around April next year he will take on veteran American Glen Johnson for a place in the Super Six final in a fight that has all the making another classic. Froch certainly won’t be able to tee off with such ease on the much more active and aggressive Johnson and may find himself resorting back to his old gun-slinging ways, leaving big gaps in his defence as he goes for those huge, looping power shots. However, he still goes into the fight as a big favourite and should he be victorious (though against a fighter of Johnson’s class and experience that is no sure thing) he will probably face Andre Ward in the final. Should that fight happen, it will decide who gets the accolade of the absolute best in the world at super-middleweight along with a seat at the table of the greatest in the sport.
Let’s just hope we get the chance to watch it.