On Saturday night at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, two-time World Boxing Council Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch joined an exclusive club of British boxers who have been three time World Champions after defeating the previous unbeaten Canadian based Romanian Lucian Bute in just five rounds to win the International Boxing Federation title at 12 stone.
Prior to this fight, Froch, despite having home advantage, was widely regarded as the underdog by many within the trade and by the bookmakers, against the younger and more powerful punching Bute, who came into this fight with a 30-fight record and 24 knockouts.
However, despite this supposedly impressive record, questions remained over Bute’s chin and stamina having been dropped heavily by Mexican Librado Andrade in their first fight back in 2008 in the Bell Arena in Quebec.
Meanwhile, Froch was thought to be potentially on the slide, after being engaged in a tough schedule of fights during the Super Six World Boxing Classic and was fast approaching his 35th birthday, cementing his reputation as a fighter willing to take on the best around in a talent rich division.
Powered by an overwhelmingly partisan crowd for the first time since he fought Andre Dirrell in his opening Super Six fight, Froch displayed the superior Championship experience over Bute having fought for Commonwealth and British titles back in 2004 before gaining his crack at a world title in 2008 against Jean Pascal in a thrilling fight of the year candidate.
Throughout the Bute fight, Froch demonstrated terrific shot selection and ring generalship as he backed Bute into the corners to score effectively on the head and body of the champion, much to the approval of his adoring public and in accordance to the plan worked out by his trainer Robert McCracken and had towards the end of the second, was rocking Bute to his toes.
Through the third and fourth rounds, Bute scored some success but Froch remained the more dominant and superior fighter and it can be argued that Bute was unwilling to counter fully everything Froch threw at him and whatever shots that Bute landed on Froch did not deter Froch in coming forward to land the quicker and heavier shots.
And then in the fifth and what proved to be final round of the contest, Froch snapped Bute’s head back with such sickening force that referee Earl Brown initially seemed confused over whether or not to issue a count or stop it. But it did not matter as a member of Bute’s corner team stepped into the ring signalling that they did not wish to see their man take any more punishment.
It was a victory that cemented Froch’s status as one of the best fighters in a competitive and talent deep Super Middleweight division and leaves him in a position to command the best fights around.
Potential opportunities for Froch include a potential rematch against the Dane Mikkel Kessler, fresh from his knockout win over Allan Green, or perhaps Robert Stieglitz, the WBO’s 12 stone [168 pound] World Champion.
However, there is the possibility Froch may have to go over to Canada to defend his newly won title against Bute due to a rematch clause in the contract, although it remains to be seen whether Bute’s promoters Interbox are willing to activate such a clause after seeing their prized asset stung by the venom of Nottingham’s Cobra.
In his post fight interview with Sky television, Froch revealed that he had lost he would have announced his retirement from the fight game.
But now it seems retirement may be the last thing on his mind.