It has now been a couple of weeks since Carl Froch delivered, without doubt, one of the greatest performances by a British fighter in a world title fight in recent times in the shape of stopping Canadian based Romanian Lucian Bute in five rounds to become a three time World Champion in front of an overwhelming partisan crowd at the Capital FM Arena in Froch’s home city of Nottingham.
With the arena now prepared for its next event and all the copy having been submitted along with the fight dissected and evaluated numerous times by fans and the media alike, the question for both Lucian Bute and Froch is very simple: What’s next for both men?
For Froch, next will be a first defence of his newly acquired title but there are many options for him. There is a rematch clause with Bute in Canada, but it seems that Bute's promoters Interbox may choose not to take this up immediately and cannot immediate fight for the IBF title under their current rules.
But with a championship belt in a competitive and talent deep division, Froch can decide who he wishes to fight next and talk has mentioned Mikkel Kessler, who had inflicted Froch’s first loss in the professional ranks in Henning, Denmark.
While Kessler’s last fight was up at Light Heavyweight against the American Allan Green in front of his home fans for the WBC Silver title, the Dane was only a pound and a half above the Super-Middleweight limit.
Kessler was also ringside for the Froch vs. Bute fight, after which Froch stated would face Kessler again in a heartbeat as he regards his former foe as a gentleman and good friend.
Kessler’s German promoter Kalle Sauerland has expressed interest in this fight, so a rematch with Froch could happen.
Other options for Froch could be tall South African Thomas Oosthuizen, an unbeaten IBO Champion who is currently available to fight, or Robert Stieglitz, the current WBO champion, who must first face former Froch victim Arthur Abraham later this year.
Although this writer would very much doubt that a Stieglitz clash will happen in Germany because Froch might fear he could get robbed by the judges in Germany and it remains to be seen if Stieglitz, should he get past Abraham, may wish to travel to Nottingham to fight Froch.
Another option for Froch could be the big hitting Canadian based Haitian, Adonis Stevenson, who is provisionally scheduled to fight in August. Stevenson brings plenty of power and is number 2 on the IBF list at 12 stone [168 pounds].
Or perhaps even Kelly Pavlik, the former Middleweight world champion, who has stepped up to Super-Middleweight following his recent off-ring troubles and is still regarded as a big named opponent, which could get either Showtime and HBO interested in buying the matchup.
Having left his long-time trainer and hometown, Pavlik is now training with the highly regarded Roberto Garcia in California in order to rebuild his once bright career that saw him capture the WBC and WBO belts at Middleweight before losing them to the Argentine Sergio Martinez.
For Bute, things look rather unclear. There has been speculation in some quarters that he might retire following the loss of both his unbeaten record and title to Froch.
This writer very much doubts that Bute will retire as he believes that Bute is still a force to be reckoned with in the ultra competitive Super-Middleweight division.
The main priority for Bute would be to return to the ring as soon as possible and have a couple of 10 round fights in the Bell Centre in front of his public, who adore him.
This would rebuild his confidence before aiming for an eliminator shot at one of the champions at Super-Middleweight, which means he would have to travel having lost his main bargaining chip.
We must all now wait to see what happens next.
Iain Langmaid can be contacted on
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