MEET THE FIGHTERS
Height / Reach: 6-1 (185cm) / 74½ (189cm)
Hometown: Nottingham, England
Nickname: The Cobra
Turned pro: 2002
Record: 28-1 (20 knockouts)
Trainer: Robert McCracken
The Ring rating: No. 2 super middleweight
Titles: WBC super middleweight (2010-present)
Biggest victories: Jean Pascal, Dec. 6, 2008, UD 12 (wins title); Jermain Taylor, April 25, 2009, TKO 12; Andre Dirrell, Oct. 17, 2009, SD 12; Arthur Abraham, Nov. 27, 2010, UD 12; Glen Johnson, June 4, 2011, MD 12.
Losses: Mikkel Kessler, April 24, UD 12.
Biography: The tough, underrated Englishman’s long battle to be recognized as a legitimate star finally ended in 2009 and last year, when victories over Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell and Arthur Abraham proved he’s an elite fighter.
Froch turned pro in 2002 and has done nothing but win, the only exception being a close decision loss to Mikkel Kessler in April of last year. He won British and Commonwealth titles before clearly outpointing future light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal in 2008 to win the vacant WBC super middleweight title.
Still, Froch seemed to fight in the shadows of more-popular British fighters like Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton. He couldn’t even get the full backing of the television networks in his country.
Froch almost lost his 168-pound title to Taylor in his second fight outside the UK in 2009, which would’ve proved his doubters right. However, behind on the cards, he rallied to score one of the most-dramatic knockouts in years with only 14 seconds remaining in the fight.
That led into his participation in the Super Six World Boxing Classic, featuring six of the best 168-pounders in a quasi-round-robin tournament on Showtime.
Froch narrowly outpointed Andre Dirrell in his opening bout, which further opened eyes to his abilities. He lost a close decision to Kessler in Kessler’s native Denmark in his next tournament bout but bounced back with a near-shutout decision over Arthur Abraham in Finland last November. The impressive victory earned him the vacant WBC belt (that he had lost to Kessler) and also lifted him into the semifinals where he would face resurgent former light heavyweight champ Glen Johnson.
On June 4, Froch further enhanced his reputation as an elite fighter and a road warrior by out-boxing and out-working the game veteran, who was coming off an impressive eight-round TKO of Allan Green, to an entertaining 12-round majority decision in Atlantic City, N.J., the site of his finals match with WBA titleholder Andre Ward.
The undefeated American is a slight favorite, but nobody, not even the U.S. boxing media, will count Froch out of the contest.
“The Cobra” has earned the respect of even those who have been critical of him. If he can beat Ward, he’ll emerge completely from the shadows and join Calzaghe and Hatton as a true star.