It's been 3 weeks since Carl Froch retained his IBF super middleweight title in a rematch with Mikkel Kessler. The fight was separated 3 years from the first and the result showed that "The Cobra" at age 35 is at the top of his game and is showing no signs of slowing down. In part 1 of my "On The Ropes” interview with Carl, I get his thoughts on avenging the first lost of his boxing career.
In addition to talking about his fight with Mikkel Kessler, I also get his views on his future going forward. He discusses a possible trilogy match with Kessler and where he believes that fight would ultimately take place. Carl also talks about a potential rematch with Andre Ward and gives his thoughts on why Ward seems to want a second fight more then anyone. Here is what Carl Froch had to say.
Jenna: Carl, a lot of fans are still talking about your last fight. It had great action packed moments, just like the first fight and you performed excellently. Now having beat Mikkel Kessler in the rematch, how do you feel about your performance?
Froch: Yeah I felt it was a great performance. Like you said, action packed-wise there were plenty of moments during the fight where the crowd completely lost the plot and they were stood up on their feet going mental, as they do when I fight because I tend to stay in range and shoot from the hip sometimes. But it was not as brutal as the first one in terms of standing in range flat-footed having a swing off, because I was full of energy unlike the last fight where there was problems with the planes being delayed because of the volcanic ash cloud etc. I won’t go into that. I was firing on all cylinders for this one. Very much part of the game plan was to be light on my feet, use plenty of movement and get behind my jab, which is what I did. At times I stayed in range and tried to get the job finished early and I hit him with some very good shots. So I think it was a very entertaining fight.
I worked to a game plan mainly at the beginning of the fight where I got behind my jab, which was very much part of the game plan. Overall I was very satisfied with the win, happy with my performance and moving forward I think it showed people that even at the ripe old age of 35, I’m a very strong competitive athlete. I threw over a thousand punches in that fight and I felt really strong and fit and comfortable in there. So I take a lot from that fight as a positivity.
Jenna: Now a lot of people were actually surprised at the shots Mikkel Kessler took. Everyone knows about your chin and everyone expects you to take a good shot but you hit him very hard, very clean. Were you surprised that he held up for the whole fight?
Froch: No, not really. He’s a very, very strong man, very tough. You know, he’s got a do or die attitude, he doesn’t really fold, he’s got no retiring or no quitting in him. So though I did hurt him a couple of times and you could see he was unstable on his legs, at no point did I think he was going to fold or fall over or not come out for the next round. So, no, to answer that I wasn’t surprised at all that he carried on because of the type of man that he is.
Jenna: Right now, you’re now the unified champion at 168 lbs. What do you want to do next? Do you want another fight with Mikkel Kessler or do you want to take another shot at Andre Ward?
Froch: Well, whatever really. The third fight seems to be generating a lot of interest. We’ve only talked about it, I didn’t go into this second fight thinking that really there would be a third fight unless the fight went on points and it was quite close. It did go on points, it was quite close but I dominated from start to finish and there was a clear winner which was me, but it has set it up for a trilogy and if the fans want it and the TV broadcasters want it, which it looks like they do...well...you know...it would be rude not to give it to them. So I think that’s the next stage before potentially trying to line up a fight with Andre Ward, which is another fight that I definitely want in the future.
Jenna: A third fight with Kessler, where would it take place? You’ve had one in his country, you’ve had one in your country, where would you want it to be?
Froch: I think wherever it makes more financial sense. I think what Mikkel would want to do at this stage in his career is to earn as much money as he can. I know he’s talked about it being ‘on an island’ which means a remote island in the middle of nowhere, which is obviously referencing it being neutral, but we’d go wherever it makes sense. If he didn’t want to come back to England we’d totally understand that. There’s a couple of venues in and around the world, maybe in Las Vegas, maybe Dubai, I mean there’s venues there that would make financial sense. As long as we both agree, Mikkel Kessler and I, then we’ll go wherever it makes sense really.
Jenna: During the HBO broadcast of the fight one thing was clear after: Andre ward seems to want a rematch with you quite badly, for whatever reason, why do you think he wants you in the ring even though he has the win over you?
Froch: Because it makes him quite a lot of money fighting somebody like me. I’m a big big draw. He’s seen that I filled out a 19,000 seat arena in England and I think he does well to sell out a 5,000 seat arena in America. You know, it’s Sky Pay Per View, which is the best platform for boxing in Britain. So it makes dollars and if it makes dollars it makes sense. Andre Ward’s not stupid, he knows that. So financially it would be very lucrative for Andre Ward to take the rematch with me so I think that’s one of the reasons he wants to fight. I say one of the reasons because he’s obviously confident he can beat me. He’s beat me before allegedly with one hand so he’s probably very confident he could beat me again.
There’s no reason for Andre Ward to not want the fight. He’s not very busy at the minute, he’s just coming off the back of that shoulder injury. But nobody really wants to fight Andre Ward. Nobody really wants to. I’ll fight anybody, I’ve proven that time and time again. Look at my resume for the last 10-11 fights. I’ll fight all boxers.
I’ll leave it to my promoter to decide which route we’ll go but a rematch with Mikkel Kessler, if it’s going to be possible...I think he’s away having a 2 week break with his partner, which is well earned. Until he’s back we’re not going to know exactly what he wants to do but that will take priority over a rematch with Andre Ward as far as we’re concerned because Andre Ward doesn’t really bring much to the table in terms of revenue. This is what the promoters are telling me, this is what the TV broadcasters are telling me and it’s what the fans are telling me. So it’s not just me saying this. I’ll happily fight Andre Ward but let’s see if we can get him over to England, if he’d fancy that. You never know.
Jenna: Yeah, you do never know and it seems like he’s more willing than ever to actually make that trip, saying if the money was right that he would do it. What do you think you fighting in England against Andre Ward would do for you? Having the backing of your fans and obviously boxing a little bit more in the fight is gonna be your key to victory?
Froch: The fans always help I think. They’ll make plenty of noise and cheering your work. The very fact that he’d have to fly over the Atlantic Ocean and come over to England sort of gives the home fighter that advantage in terms of preparation. Having to fly to another country and get settled is never ideal and being away from home against a hostile crowd is never ideal. My first defense was over against Jermain Taylor in Atlantic City and I boxed Mikkel Kessler in Denmark, although I didn’t get the decision it was a great fought contest. I beat Arthur Abraham away from home, Glen Johnson away from home. The list goes on, so it’s not the be all and end all of to be at home or away. The reason you go to somebody else’s country is because it makes financial sense, it’s as simple as that.
Jenna: It's one thing to say you are willing to fight in another man's country, it's another thing to actually do it. Do you think Andre Ward will come over to England for the rematch?
Froch: I can’t talk for Andre Ward. Would he come to England? You’d have to ask him but I think money for him is his main motivation at the minute, so I think he will come over. I’m sure he’d be confident of beating me but I’m confident, especially in England given all the factors that I talk about, that I would beat Andre Ward. Simple as that. So let’s get the fight made but he’s not first in the queue. I’ve got mandatory obligations with the IBF and the WBA at the minute, I could maybe have a voluntary but I do have to fulfill the mandatory obligation. You know, we’re contractually obliged to fulfill an agreement with Mikkel Kessler with an immediate rematch and then there’s a couple of guys in Britain that are coming through as well.
So Andre Ward at the minute isn’t at the top of my priority list but I will happily fight him. I will happily fight him again but if he thinks I’ve got to fly to America he’ll be sadly mistaken because I won’t be flying to America any time soon, for sure, to fight Andre Ward. Not because I’m concerned about fighting him, because like I said earlier I’ll fight anybody, it’s just that there’s bigger fights that make better sense at the minute.
Stay tuned to DOGHOUSEBOXING.COM for part 2 of my Exclusive interview with Carl Froch
*Special Thanks goes to Lunny from Checkhookboxing.com for his help bringing this interview to boxing readers.
Just click play on the green player to listen to the latest edition of “On The Ropes