The beauty of Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic, as Carl Froch sees it, is that he is coming off the first loss of his career yet finds himself in another big fight the next time out. In other words, the tough Englishman has the opportunity to get right back to where he was before he was outpointed by Mikkel Kessler in April in Kessler’s native Denmark.
Of course, that big fight is against one of the most-feared sluggers in the world — Arthur Abraham — on Saturday in Helsinki, Finland on Showtime (same day delayed in the U.S.)
Froch isn’t fazed by much, though. The product of Nottingham seems to be instilled with supreme confidence in himself, one reason he has won consistently since he turned pro in 2002.
He’s also a world-class trash talker. He said he’s going to “stuff Abraham like chicken.” And those around him follow his lead. Froch’s girlfriend Rachel Cordingley, poking fun at Abraham’s nickname “The King,” called the Armenian the “King Midget.”
Abraham’s size is one reason Froch really believes he’s going to make a statement on Saturday.
He believes that the former middleweight titleholder, one of the favorites to win the Super Six going in, was overrated from the beginning. Froch also pointed out his physical advantages: He’s 6-foot-1 (185cm) and Abraham is 5-9 (175cm). And, while Froch has fought only at super middleweight and light heavyweight, Abraham moved up from 160 pounds to 168 specifically for the tournament.
“I don’t know why he was put on a pedestal,” Froch told RingTV.com from Helsinki. “He has been a middleweight. He hasn’t exactly fought anyone recognizable. And now he’s lost to Dirrell, somebody I beat.
“I’m tall and rangy. And I can punch. I’m naturally strong. He’s going to be shocked; I’m the first real big super middleweight he’s fought.”
That said, don’t expect Froch to meet the smaller man head on in spite of what fans might be thinking.
Froch (26-1, 20 knockouts) acknowledged that things could change in the heat of battle, which could result in the brawl so many expect, but he plans to box.
“I’m not looking for a war,” he said. “I’m going to jab, move, box. It might not be that exciting but it will make the fight easier. The game plan never turns out exactly as you thought, though.
“I’ll get my range, use my movement and we’ll see what happens.”
Abraham (31-1, 25 KOs) also is coming off the first defeat of his career, an 11th-round disqualification after he punched Dirrell while he was down in a fight the American was winning easily.
Abraham believes he would’ve stopped Dirrell in the final minutes after following his typical pattern: slow start, fast finish. He has pledged to fight more aggressively early against Froch.
Froch believes him. He also believes it could work against Abraham.
“He might try to start faster,” he said. “And it might be to his detriment. He seems to get tired. I think if he starts earlier, he’ll wear out and the fight could be over earlier. I’m fit to go 12 rounds.”
Kessler’s victory over Froch was fairly decisive on the scorecards — 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111 -– but Froch insists he’s not alone in believing the fight was a lot closer than that. The location of the fight, he is convinced, played a role in the decision.
Thus, he said, his confidence was not affected. And he suggested that that might not be the case with Abraham, who was thoroughly outboxed by Dirrell until the final few rounds. The scores were 98-91, 97-92 and 97-92 through 10 rounds.
“I’m not trying to disrespect Arthur at all when I say this,” Froch said on a recent conference call, “but if I was to have gotten beaten as bad he got beaten for 11 rounds, then I’d be worried. I’d be mentally dejected.
“Not only did he get beaten and outclassed but he got beaten and outclassed by a guy that I previously beat. So that’s got to have him worried and cause him concern.”
Froch said he has left his setback in the past. His focus now is on the opportunity he has this Saturday.
Kessler pulled out of the tournament because of an injury and gave up the super middleweight belt he took from Froch. The same belt is now up for grabs on Saturday.
“The loss wasn’t a problem,” he said. “I thought I did enough to win (against Kessler), especially as the champion. It doesn’t matter, though. If I weren’t in the Super Six tournament, it would’ve been bad news. I would’ve had to start at the bottom of the ladder.
“Now I don’t. Because of the Super Six, I can get my belt back straight away.”
And the loser of this fight will have a similar opportunity: Both fighters already have qualified for the tournament semifinals.