In many ways, Carl Froch was one of the more unlikely star stories in recent boxing memory, but he made the absolute most of his ability, becoming a three-time super middleweight titleholder and facing basically everyone tough there was to face during his time as a top-tier contender and champion.
Recently, Sky Sports sat down with Froch and asked for his top five super middleweight fighters in history. It’s still a relatively young division, of course, really only coming around in the mid-1980s, with the IBF creating a title for the 168-pound division in 1984, and the WBA and WBC adding belts in 1987 and 1988.
Froch has never been one to not speak his mind with his honest opinions on fellow fighters, so it was entertaining, as he usually is.
5) Mikkel Kessler
“His results, the way he fights. I’ve shared the ring with him over an hour and 12 minutes of punching holes in each other. When he fought Joe Calzaghe, I know for a fact — and a good friend of mine, Darren Barker, can also back this up, he was in his camp sparring with him. He had to listen to him screaming in training camp when he was on the pads because his hand was hurting that bad. Mikkel Kessler, for me, deserves the number five spot.”
4) Joe Calzaghe
“He won the WBO belt on an undercard of a Prince Naseem Hamed card in Sheffield. He fought an old, faded Chris Eubank, who was weight drained. He won the WBO title and then he defended it for 10 years against ... I don’t even know, I can’t remember the names of the guys he fought for 10 years. But he’s unbeaten in 46 fights, Hall of Famer. You can’t argue against his record, but he had 10 years of mediocrity defending that title. Probably his best win was against an injured Kessler. Many say Jeff Lacy, but let’s be honest, Jeff Lacy was a hype job.
“Then the Hopkins win pretty much said, ‘Right, Calzaghe’s good, he can fight,’ and Hopkins went on to achieve quite a lot of things after that loss. But the Hopkins win was so close, so debatable. ... That’s maybe one he was lucky to get the win. Then he fought a totally shot to bits Roy Jones Jr, and he even said himself a couple years before that in an interview I read, that beating Roy Jones Jr proved nothing because he’s so finished, so past his best. Then of course he went and fought him and beat him and claims to have beaten a great legend.
“But yeah, Joe Calzaghe deserves to be at No. 4. He was a top super middleweight, top fighter, many good attributes. Tough, strong, fit, real good work ethic, refused to quit. But there’s a couple of flaws in there for me. The Robin Reid fight was so close, as well. He could have lost that Reid fight, many had Reid winning that. That deserved to be an immediate rematch. Guess what? We never got the immediate rematch. Didn’t happen. So that stains it for me.”
3) Carl Froch
“The Cobra deserves his No. 3 spot, he’s got to deserve a No. 3 spot! Anyone who wants to argue and debate me and tell me I don’t deserve to be at No. 3, I’m all ears! I’m not getting hard behind my computer screen, I don’t fancy a fight because no one can throw any punches at me, but I’m open for debate. And I’m sure it will create a bit of debate, but that’s my opinion. I’ve got Kessler at five, I’ve got Joe Calzaghe at four, I’ve just writ him off, probably undeservedly, to be honest...”
2) Andre Ward
“He has to be at No. 2, just because of his results. And I’m not gonna talk about Andre Ward, because I’ll fall asleep.”
1) Roy Jones Jr
“He’s just amazing, he’s supremo, he’s the creme de la creme. Unbeatable, untouchable. Forget losing a fight, he never lost a round — he never lost any second of any round at super middleweight. Roy Jones Jr, what a fighter. He’s No. 1. To me, you can’t even argue.”
There you have it, straight from “The Cobra” himself. There’s much more to the video, too, with Johnny Nelson and Matthew Macklin discussing Calzaghe-Froch along with Carl, which is also pretty fun.