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The biggest and most hotly anticipated fight of the year ended with the champion, Carl “The Cobra” Froch, standing victorious in front of a capacity Wembley crowd. The Nottingham-born fighter raised his arms in elation after flooring Groves and the vindication in his face was clear to see, Froch is certainly not over the hill yet.
Froch described the win as “the best of his career” to the media afterwards and in a career that has seen him go toe to toe with the worlds best, defeating the likes of Kessler and Bute, that really is some statement. But on a night that asked so many questions of Froch, he delivered on every front and should go down as one of Britain’s all time greats. A pumped up George Groves may not have been the most difficult fight of his career on paper, but when you throw in the context of the last year, it became huge. Froch however, is a man for the huge occasions.
The fight was undoubtedly the biggest fight of the year for so many reasons. The primary one being the controversial circumstances in which the champion took the first fight. Groves was still hugely upset at the refereeing decision to end the fight prematurely and felt the belts should have been his. Froch’s age and previous performance against Groves led to some feeling that he was past it, time for him to retire, to move on and let in the next generation of British super middleweights, but one punch changed everything.
Both fighters entered the ring to an electric Wembley atmosphere, with the crowd being the biggest attendance at a UK boxing match since the Second World War, a huge 80,000 people turning up for the spectacle. The stage was set for what promised to be a classic contest, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The fight had a much more cagey start than their first meeting, both fighter’s approaching the bout in a tactical manner, looking to pick off their opponents mistakes rather than go on the aggressive. Groves arguably made the better start in the first two rounds as Froch’s left hand dropped too low, but it was tight and openings were few and far between. The champion started to get into his groove after that, dictating the next four rounds with smart combination jabs and allowing himself to control the pace of the fight as Groves struggled to get a foothold.
Groves did fight back in the seventh, his big left hook finally connected and knocked some of the stuffing out of Froch early in the round. The champion was not to be deterred however and came back strong at the end of the round, although there was a sniff that Groves sensed a comeback. However, then came the eighth round, and with one swift right hand, it was over.
Froch was once again attempting to control the fight, focusing more on being smart than aggressive, until he made his move. With Groves pushed back in the ring, a dummy left hand opened up the space for a thunderous right, the ‘Cobra’ had struck. The force of the right was so severe that Grove’s legs collapsed from under him, and the champion walked away nonchalantly, he knew it was over.
The punch hit with the speed and ferocity of an express train and sent a shuddering blow to the jaw of Groves. BBC commentator Mike Costello even claimed it was “The best punch you will ever see in a British boxing ring.”
With that one deadly right, Froch struck away all the criticism and left the crowd stunned at what they had just witnessed. Froch had finally cemented his place, and legacy in boxing history, as there could be no doubting his greatness now. The fight certainly did not disappoint and will only enhance the reputation of British boxing.
It is difficult to say where Froch goes from here, Degale, Ward, Kessler and Chavez have all been touted as potential opponents but ultimately it is for the man himself to decide. Does he end his career on the biggest fight of his career, or does he have one last huge bout in his locker? Either way, the lesson has been learned: Don’t write off Carl Froch.