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Carl Froch wants Mikkel Kessler before Lucian Bute, speaking with both sides

Carl Froch isn't trying to get out of a rematch with Lucian Bute, but says he wants to face Mikkel Kessler first, and is speaking with both sides about the matter.

Scott Heavey
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Carl Froch was supposed to be headed for a contractually obligated rematch with Lucian Bute in Montreal next, but the British star says that he's hoping he can work out a deal where he first faces Mikkel Kessler, and deals with Bute later.

Froch (30-2, 22 KO) lost to Kessler (46-2, 35 KO) back in April 2010 in a terrific fight, the real standout single bout of the entire Super Six World Boxing Classic, and has since that time wanted to avenge the defeat. Froch says he's got a "burning desire" to take on the Dane again, and it would also be a unification bout (of sorts), as Kessler just beat Brian Magee for the WBA "regular" super middlweight title, and Froch holds the IBF belt.

Of course, that IBF belt came to Froch when he manhandled Lucian Bute back in May, in what was one of the most impressive performances of 2012. Bute had a contractual right to demand a rematch, and this time at home in Montreal rather than in Froch's hometown of Nottingham, and by all accounts, he means to exercise that clause.

But Froch and Matchroom Boxing are reportedly speaking to both sides and trying to hammer out some type of agreement. He says that a fight with Kessler is "very close" to being done, and if he could get Bute to wait it out a bit longer, he might not have to give up his IBF title.

There are other wrinkles, too. Adonis Stevenson is the IBF's mandatory challenger, and at some point Froch will have to fight him to keep that belt. Of course, if Froch were to beat Kessler and pick up that secondary WBA belt, that might not matter as much to him.

I don't think there's really any argument about which fight is better at the moment. It's Froch-Kessler II. The way Froch destroyed Bute left few really craving a rematch, and Bute also didn't look spectacular in a recent win over Denis Grachev, either. Froch last fought on November 17, easily taking out fringe contender Yusaf Mack.

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