Despite Eddie Hearn’s constant reminders the dust has well and truly settled on the amazing Wembley stadium show that the Matchroom monopoly put together in May of this year, when current WBA and IBF super middleweight champion Carl Froch removed a thorn from his side. Not only was the thorn left in a precarious position on the canvas Froch looked set to disappear into the sunset, living happily ever after- legacy intact to dream of a big Vegas date (and payday) with Mexican wild child Julio Caesar Chavez Jnr. However, as is usually the case with James DeGale, he threatened to ruin the fun by becoming mandatory challenger for Froch’s IBF title with a thrilling and career best TKO win over Brandon Gonzales during a chief support bout on the same show, thus ensuring that Froch would need to, either: face DeGale by February of 2015 or relinquish/be stripped of his title.
Now, I for one never thought that Froch would be interested in the DeGale fight – there simply is not enough reward gained for beating DeGale compared to the risk that he would take in boxing a fresh, talented, awkward southpaw who (IMO) is vastly underrated. However, since May, talks with Chavez stalled and DeGale’s name was mentioned more and more frequently until the past weeks when rumours have been rife that Froch v Kessler 3 is on the horizon, and DeGale seems to have lost his new found good nature and respect for Froch (which he demonstrated at a recent Sky broadcast boxing show in the Echo arena where both worked as pundits).
As a boxing fan I would ideally like to see Froch v Ward 2 but as a realist it just isn’t happening so as an alternative I just want to see entertaining and competitive bouts, regardless of the marketability. I genuinely believe Froch v DeGale would be extremely competitive and DeGale would cause Froch some serious problems. Furthermore, I believe that Froch thinks so too. However, if it is the case that this fight doesn’t happen, I can understand the logic behind Froch giving DeGale a wide birth – the Kessler fight simply makes more financial sense. Sky would promote the life out of this ‘event’ and charge us £15 for the displeasure of viewing an extremely shop-worn Kessler succumb to Froch. It would sell out the O2 Arena again and get casual fans interested. Whereas the DeGale fight is not likely to do very good numbers if they tried to sell it as PPV and the fight would be reliant on Froch fans turning out to provide revenue at the gate.
At this stage of Froch’s career every fight could well be his last and if that is the case then he has most certainly earned the right to be earning the most money possible in doing so. That being said, I can’t help but feel that the DeGale fight could be a missed opportunity for British boxing – the passing of the torch fight, the Eubank v Calzaghe fight, the fight that could setup some major all British super middleweight showdowns in the future, with the likes of DeGale, Groves and Callum Smith (maybe Rocky Fielding too) all battling it out for numerous world titles… Who knows, there is still time for the fight to be made!
It’s really gone, kid
After Paul Smith’s recent unsuccessful tilt at WBO super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham in Germany, every man and his dog seemed to be in agreement that the cards were far too wide (117-111, 117-111 and 119-109) however, there are mixed feelings about what spectators believed to be the correct outcome from the bout.
First of all, this wasn’t a robbery, it was a very closely fought fight with quite a few swing rounds in there which we probably expected to go the way of the German based Armenian beforehand. However, the scoring did leave a sour taste in the mouth for fans from across the world which may actually work in Smith’s favour.
If Smith had lost 115-113 on all three cards we wouldn’t have grumbled too much and there certainly wouldn’t have been the same formal complaints to the WBO to instate Smith as mandatory challenger. There is now a chance that Smith may get a second bite at the cherry (whether he deserved his first bite is a different story) however, I personally think that his chance at world honours has passed him by.
With Smith’s new found popularity it would make sense for Matchroom to try and concoct a sellout fight in Liverpool’s Echo Arena with a good solid, but beatable, top 15 world ranked fighter and take Smith on a different route. This will mean fatter wallets for both boxer and promoter however, I think it would also mean that Smith never realises his dream of becoming world champion. Three of the four renowned world titles belong to fighters who I can’t see Smith being competitive with and the fourth belongs to the last man to beat him, so at this stage of his career is his retirement fund more important than his dream? Time will tell.