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Carl Froch: Boxing should put age limit on professional fighters

After watching Roy Jones Jr. get knocked out by Enzo Maccarinelli last month, Carl Froch says older fighters should be prevented from putting themselves at risk.

Ian Gavan/Getty Images

It's an age-old question in boxing - when is enough enough? Who should be able to determine when a professional fighter should no longer be able to earn a buck inside the ring? The fighter? A commission? A medical doctor? There aren't any easy answers to these questions  -- mostly because it's the fighters themselves who willingly take the inherent risks of combat, and for most of them it's often their only source of income. So who's to say when they should no longer be able to earn a living?

Carl Froch officially announced his retirement from the sport last year at age 38, saying he no longer had the burning desire to compete, coupled with his body not responding as it used to. But when he watched Roy Jones Jr., 47, get knocked out yet again last month, he felt like there should be some sort of mechanism to protect older fighters from themselves.

"Boxing is a hurt game if you can't be at your best, can't be 100 percent mentally and physically switched on to performing, to win titles, defend titles, defend yourself in the correct fashion, then I don't think you should fight," Froch told the Daily Mail.

"I was just going past my best after I knocked Groves out. A year passed and I was in the gym thinking about fighting [Julio Cesar] Chavez Jnr, thinking about one last hurrah, maybe Vegas, maybe the City Ground [in his home town of Nottingham] and I got back in the gym after two or three weeks and it just wasn't me.

"Physically I was just a bit short which wasn't too bad, but the desire was gone. If the desire is not there then you are not pushing yourself to the limit you need to be at your best. But unfortunately for the people that come back into the ring, it is for the wrong reasons and usually it is money."

Froch goes on to call it a "shame" that boxers are often in situations where they feel they have to box to put food on the table. But in Roy Jones' case, he insists that for him it isn't about they money, it's about his desire to compete and still believing that he can at the world level. But If the past 10+ years are any real indication -- he can't.

"I don't know whether they can bring different rules in on the licensing to stop people from coming back into the sport that have been retired a long time or past a certain age. There is an age limit of 35 on amateur boxing. They should consider putting an age limit on professional boxing," said Froch.

"A three-month training camp writes you off, I wake up and I literally can't get out of bed. I'll have to phone my physio, he will come over and lie me on my side and crack my back in place and I'll stand up and be straight into the ice bath, go for a sports massage, then a steady walk and then I'm like an old carthorse, all my bearings are greased up and then I can go for a training session.

"I boxed till my late 30s, so 47, that's impossible really to be at your best and if you aren't at your best you shouldn't be boxing," concluded Froch.

Realistically, there is probably little-to-no chance of there ever being an age limit in boxing, particularly since there isn't one governing body in the sport to administer these kind of rules. It would take a concerted effort on behalf of a ton of parties with both competing and self interests at stake, which would make it all but impossible.

And then, of course, there are exceptions to the rule like Bernard Hopkins, who still, at age 51, can be competitive with pretty much anyone in his division. He's still plenty skillful and in better physical condition than many fighters half his age. Should someone be able to tell him that he can't earn in the ring just because of his DOB?

What do you think, fans? Should there be an age limit in professional boxing? And if so, who should determine what that age should be and based on what criteria?

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