Note: This story appears in the September 2011 issue of THE RING magazine, which is available now on newsstands or in our new digital format.
Carl Froch has a rare ability not too many fighters possess: He can talk with his eyes. A beaming glare or a simple smirk is enough to annoy opponents, even those he has yet to face.
This knack to aggravate can even show up in the middle of a hard fight. Froch thinks it is a subtle, subconscious impulse, nothing intentional. Nonetheless, during the waning seconds of the 10th round in his fight against Glen Johnson, Froch wasn’t paying too much attention to “The Road Warrior” or referee Earl Brown during a clinch. He was looking directly at Andre Ward seated ringside. As Brown broke the fighters, Froch backed away, raised his eyebrows, and looked at Ward, as if to say, this is coming your way!
Then Froch reeled off a round-stealing, five-punch combination that bounced off Johnson’s head and jaw.
For Froch, the “Super Six” has always been about him and Ward. It all crystallized for Froch in 2009 before the round-robin tournament started. As proof, the super middleweight from Nottingham, England, can always point to the autographed glove hanging from a wall in his memorabilia room. On it are four signatures of the original fighters in Showtime’s super middleweight tournament. Missing are two prominent names, his and Ward’s, the two fighters Froch had the prescience to exclude when the Super Six was formally announced in Europe.
There’s a reason for that. “The Cobra” envisioned that it would be him and Ward in the Super Six finale. There would be time enough to get Ward’s signature on a glove. But first, Froch, the WBC titlist, had to get by tenacious, leather-tough veteran Johnson, which he did by winning a majority decision at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall Ballroom in early June to make it happen.
Now what Froch desired, and what Showtime executives had been craving for, will come to fruition on Oct. 29 at the same Boardwalk Hall Ballroom: A super middleweight showdown between Froch and Ward for not only the Super Six championship but also for the vacant Ring super middleweight world championship.
The 168-pound world title has been vacant since Joe Calzaghe left the division in 2008 to fight at light heavyweight. The irony is that Froch always yearned to fight Calzaghe, the two becoming companion pieces in the British tabloids, trading barbs through the press.
The truth was that Froch lacked the name value at the time to fight Calzaghe. In recent years, that perception has been altered to the point where Froch isn’t only getting a chance to be an outright world champion, he’s getting that opportunity against someone he’s wanted to fight—making up for what Calzaghe denied him.
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