News December 2012

Carl Froch open to Degale fight; Backs Groves to beat Johnson

12.12.12

By @livefight

The current IBF super middleweight champion Carl 'The Cobra' Froch gave Livefight.com an exclusive interview with regards potential domestic battles with James Degale and possibly George Groves in 2013.

Froch aiming for Kessler next

James Degale (14-1, 9ko) captured the WBC Silver Super Middleweight title at the weekend in Hull, with a near shut out points win over Columbian Fulgenico. In the aftermath the 2008 gold medallist told the media that a showdown with Froch would be 'Massive'.

"I think Carl would like a big domestic world title fight before he retires," declared 26-year old Degale.

"He didn't get it against Joe Calzaghe, despite years of trying, and hopefully he could get one against me. He's the sort of fighter who will fight anyone, he likes big fights, and if I can win a world title, that would make it a big fight."

We contacted Froch and asked him what his thoughts on his domestic rivals were and whether or not the British public could potentially see him facing either of them down the line in 2013.

"First and foremost, you can't beat a good old fashioned domestic dust-up to get the British public hyped up. Benn fighting Eubank, Haye and Maccarinelli - they were all fights that captured the public's imagination and did big numbers.

"When I was coming up through the division it was basically Robin Reid, Brian Magee and Joe Calzaghe on top. I made no apologies for wanting to fight them all." said Froch as he switched from his phone to the hands-free system in his car.

"To give you an example, when Joe Calzaghe withdrew from the Brian Magee fight in Belfast with just a couple of days notice - I told my promoter to get me in as the replacement, but they turned me down. Even back then as a professional novice, I would have gone into a cauldron like Belfast and that's what proper fighters need to do - throw their name into the hat. So I'm pleased it's being mentioned.

"Eventually I fought my way through the ranking system until nobody could get away. I knocked out Magee and Reid for the British title and then fought my way into the mandatory for Calzaghe's WBC belt but he immediately vacated it which was a let down, but we won't go over old ground there.

"But that's how the sport should work, the established fighters in the division should give the young guns their shot. I never got mine - but I will let them have theirs, that's if they truthfully want it.

"Let's actually be fair to Degale, he's been doing all the right things - he's been putting the wins together, getting his profile back out there again after a little spell in the boxing wilderness and whilst I don't think he's quite ready for a fight with me yet, he is moving in the right direction definitely.

"He needs to move up a level in class soon and if he continues to win, then let's get it on for the British public. He's an Olympic gold medallist, he has a decent profile and can fight a bit. A win over an Abraham type opponent would definitely make fans think it could be a contest between us.

"I also think he has calmed down a bit with the theme music and the big talk in recent times. He's basically getting his house back in order and like I said - I'm happy to give Degale a shot next year if they move up in class, keep getting the wins. Everyone knows I'll fight anyone and that goes for him too. I will give the younger fighters their shot if they keep producing the goods. Definitely. "

LF: We asked Carl if the fight had any chance of happening of terrestrial television for the masses, or would it be reserved for the Sky Sports audience.

"Terrestrial TV definitely has it's merits for all to see, but let's be completely honest and admit that Sky's production is second to none. I'm really happy to be Sky's marquee fighter and personally that's were I'd like the fight to take place - but who knows, Channel 5 may come up with a huge offer, which although I can't see happening, might surprise us all. But that's a job for the promoters to resolve. But from my point of view - it's Sky all day long."

Conversation then moved onto the other leading super middleweight in Britain, the unbeaten George Groves (15-0, 12ko), who takes on Glen Johnson (51-17, 35ko) this weekend at the Excel Arena.

Groves edges Degale

LF: We ask Carl of his opinions on the Groves vs Johnson match-up ?

"Groves is a decent operator and I think unless he gets caught with something silly, then he should in theory have enough tricks to see off Glen Johnson without too many problems. Johnson can whack a little bit and I suppose Groves has been down momentarily in fights so that's a slight danger for him. But Groves should have enough for Saturday to get the win. Adam Booth will have the prepared him well.

"Obviously when I boxed Johnson it was all about getting through to the final and not picking up any injuries. I heard he torn his elbow badly during our bout and he postponed surgery to pick up a payday off Lucian Bute.

"Bute whitewashed him on the scorecards and as a result, many boxing fans measured my performance with Bute's - and assumed he was the better fighter than me because he's got a wider decision than mine. That's obviously until I tore Bute a new one back in May. I'm sure people may draw comparisons between mine and Groves too, which is fine and to be expected.

"I just remember Johnson was like a big oak tree, there was no point having a big war with him - battering the bark off the old tree for twelve rounds does not do you or your hands any favours. I think the likely outcome will be Groves on points. Especially after Johnson retired this summer after losing to somebody he's normally beat easily.

"So bearing that in mind, If Groves can finish him off it would looks excellent for his record."

LF: We ask Carl if a George Groves fight also interested him? That the Cobra vs The Saint would possibly be a good trade fight for boxing fans.

"I used to give him some sparring you know, when he was coming through under Hayemaker Promotions. Adam Booth would drive him up and I'd give him a few rounds. He could really fight for the age and level he was at back then - and I gave him big props where I could in interviews.

"He's on with his own career now so the sparring has dried up a bit. It's a shame because I wanted to see this 'Hello Kitty' he has now had tattooed on his arm." laughed Froch.

LF: We ask Froch if the promotional side of things could possibly scupper a big fight with Groves ?

"I don't think so. It's more the television side of things that is the deal breaker and as far as I'm concerned it's HD or the highway. That goes for Groves or any of the others.

"His promoter can come offer a trillion to fight on his channel - But it's never been about the money, it's about the big fights and the viewing numbers. It happens in glorious high definition on Sky or it simply does not happen at all I'm afraid."

LF: Fair enough. We then ask Carl, what is the bigger fight - James Degale or George Groves ?

"Naturally Degale is a bigger name than Groves on account of the Beijing Olympics" said Froch

"I think Groves enjoyed some really good exposure after getting the nod over Degale but his profile has dropped significantly since.

Froch negated Johnson in Super Six semi final

"I know he's struggled with an injury and other stuff which cost him his WBO shot which must have gutted him, but he's only fought a couple of times in about a year and half or more. Whereas Degale has had four or five bouts and they have also been on terrestrial which means he is being seen again and again.

"I wish George Groves all the very best and I really hope he can beat Johnson in style tonight - and then he can resume the good progress he was making again."

Thank you for your time Carl.

"Pleasure mate, take care and have a happy Christmas."

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