Carl Froch will defend his IBF super middleweight title against WBA "regular' champion Mikkel Kessler next, the Nottingham native says, and a possible rematch with Lucian Bute is off the table for the time being.
Froch (30-2, 22 KO) beat Bute badly in May of this year, and followed that with an easy November win over Yusaf Mack. Kessler (46-2, 35 KO) also went 2-0 this year, powering past Allan Green and Brian Magee. Froch, 35, knew that Bute had the right to exercise a rematch clause after their first bout, but truth is, demand for the fight isn't really there. It would sell well in Montreal -- which is also part of the contract -- and it's certainly not a terrible fight or anything, but I don't believe there's anyone out there who would rather see Froch-Bute II than Froch-Kessler II.
In 2010, Froch and Kessler had a spirited 12-round battle in Denmark, with Kessler getting the nod, the first loss of Froch's career. Froch argued that if the fight had been in the UK, he likely would have received the win on the scorecards, and it's not hard to see it that way. It was a very close, very competitive, and very entertaining fight.
The most recent news on the fight was that it was just about done. It's not clear if Bute is stepping aside for the time being (his team didn't sound thrilled with his performance in November against Denis Grachev), but that wouldn't be a big surprise. If the earlier reports were true, the fight will be in the United Kingdom (probably not Nottingham, however), and both fighters will make about $2 million.