Carl Froch will be announcing his next fight on Monday, and I'd actually missed the news that Thomas Oosthuizen was considered out of the running after getting what the felt was a low-ball offer.
So if it's not Oosthuizen, who can we expect Froch to face? And could we be seeing Carl Froch in something close to an actual "tune-up," "stay busy," or "victory lap" sort of fight?
The IBF's current top 15 has no number one contender, as you probably know that Adonis Stevenson was trying to find a dance partner for an eliminator, finally got one in Don George, and then was injured and had to pull out of that fight, which was scheduled for tonight, and now is George vs Dionisio Miranda.
Current IBF Rating: 7
Kessler was reportedly Froch's original choice for a fall fight, but that seems highly unlikely unless something has gotten done in the last day or so. Mikkel is possibly playing out the string -- he's had a good career and is a sporting hero in Denmark, where he can fight out the remainder of his pro boxing days for good money. Hearn has said Kessler is out. Unless something changed, that's the story.
Current IBF Rating: 9
Pavlik was also discussed as a possible Froch opponent, but word is that he balked, too. Pavlik says he wants the fight, but money is an issue for him to do it -- he wants big bucks, or so the wind tells us. This is the same guy who a few months ago said that he wasn't concerned about money anymore. I get his stance, and he should want to be paid well, but Kelly sends some mixed signals, man. Don't totally count him out, but he's probably a longshot. If Thomas Oosthuizen is feeling lowballed, what are the chances Pavlik will get an offer he can't pass up?
Current IBF Rating: 2
What's the IBF going to do, turn down their champion facing their highest-ranked contender? Stevenson wants big fights and was willing to go an extra step to guarantee one in an eliminator bout. With the George fight canceled, he could possibly be ready for a November date. It would be a fun fight on paper, with Froch having the better overall package and a great chin to combat Stevenson's truly explosive knockout power. It would also be a good way to keep Canadian fans on top of Froch's doings, since he is tentatively set to head to Montreal for a Lucian Bute rematch next spring.
Current IBF Rating: 4
Rodriguez would actually make plenty of sense in many ways, but he's got that Sept. 29 HBO date against Jason Escalera. Sure, nobody's going to watch that show and it's basically a glorified Friday Night Fights, but it's set. It's possible he could get out of that (who would really care?), but also quite possible he's not looking to take a Froch fight right this moment anyway. He's got plenty of time.
James DeGale or George Groves
Current IBF Ratings: 6 and 8
Both are good, young British fighters, and the matchup would create a buzz. But I don't know if Frank Warren would be looking to put either of them on Sky Sports given the relationship there. Matchroom/Sky and Warren/BoxNation have their own Top Rank/Golden Boy, HBO/Showtime deal going on, and it might not attract as much attention because most of the problems would be at the domestic level, but there's legit beef all over.
Current IBF Rating: 10
If he wins tonight, it wouldn't be all that wild for him to get the date. But what if he doesn't? It wouldn't be that surprising if he lost, and I don't know that Froch and Matchroom would be publicizing an announcement if they weren't 100% sure of their fight. So probably not.
Current IBF Rating: 12, for some reason
Andrade really doesn't have much left, but the IBF still has him rated. Three years ago, this fight might have been great. As it is, it would probably amount to Froch unloading on Andrade's head for a few rounds before any referee with a sense of decency would step in and say he's seen enough.
Current IBF Rating: 14
Farias isn't very good, and the one time he stepped up, Arthur Abraham knocked him out in five, but he's ranked.
If the IBF would approve it (and maybe they would), Froch vs Bika would be tremendous. He'd be preferable to almost anyone listed above in my opinion, including Pavlik.
What I'd Most Like to See
A Kessler rematch, but I don't think that's in the cards. Barring that, I'd like to see Froch vs Stevenson or Bika. Barring those, give me Pavlik in a major sink-or-swim fight for the American.
What I'm Afraid We'll Get
Andrade or Farias or George. Then someone will tell me, "It's OK to take easy fights," and I'll just say, "I guess," and move on with my life, because it's not really that big of a deal.