Carl Froch: George Groves is 'next in line,' fight more likely for 2014

Scott Heavey

Carl Froch says that he's in negotiations with George Groves, but a potential fight likely won't happen until next year.

Carl Froch, who holds IBF and WBA super middleweight titles, says that domestic rival George Groves is "next in line," and that the two sides, through shared promoter Matchroom Boxing, have had negotiations. The fight, though, likely won't happen this year, as the 36-year-old Froch says it's more likely for 2014.

From BBC Sport:

"George Groves is next in line, so we're in negotiations," Froch told BBC Radio 5 live. "Potentially the fight might happen this year but it is more likely to happen, if it does happen, next year."

Groves (19-0, 15 KO) fought on the Froch-Kessler II undercard in May, easily beating Noe Gonzalez Alcoba as expected in a stay-busy fight. There has been some tension between the Froch and Groves camps, as Groves helped prepare Mikkel Kessler to face Froch in their rematch, which is some type of national offense or whatever, I don't know.

Groves was recently named the mandatory challenger by the IBF, and Matchroom recently received a five-day extension to July 17 to make the fight or do whatever else they're going to do. That means that Froch-Groves could happen in November, but the Nottingham Post floated the idea that Froch may vacate the IBF title, which would put Groves into a vacant title fight, or Groves could instead face Robert Stieglitz for the WBO belt, which would remove him from the IBF mandatory spot, and take the pressure off of Matchroom to rush -- or indeed even to sign -- a fight between Froch and Groves.

If you were the promoter for both fighters, this isn't exactly an ideal time to make Froch-Groves, to be fair to Eddie Hearn and company. Froch (31-2, 22 KO) is still operating at a very high level and beating world class fighters, and while Groves is being sort of lined up to take that torch, now may not be the ideal time for this fight. In other words, it's a big risk that Groves loses to Froch, and hurts his marketability as an unbeaten fighter.

There will be a time for Froch-Groves, perhaps, but is that time now? Or would you, if you were their promoter, want to hold off, build Groves up more -- possibly with a very winnable world title fight against Stieglitz -- and keep milking Froch as the top star? After all, Froch could lose a fight to another top fighter and still be available as a big-time fight from Groves' perspective. Everyone cherry picks. Everyone tries to make fights at the right time. Boxing Is A Business, as you've been told a million times, and part of "understanding" that aspect of the whole thing is admitting that the overwhelming majority of the time, fights are not made with big risks in mind. Promoters and managers and trainers and fighters and everyone all try to look for the right fight at the right time. Froch-Groves is a really good fight. It could get to the point where it's a great fight. And by the time we actually see it, it may have passed "great" and come back down to good.

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