The year 2008 was potentially Carl Froch's chance to make some good progress in the 168 pound weight class. After a very convincing win against former world champion Robin Reid in late 2007, Froch was ready for the step up he needed to launch himself as the genuine contender at super middleweight.
Froch had been rumoured to be fighting Joe Calzaghe, but the bout could not been agreed upon due to financial issues for both camps. The next fight set up for Froch was Dennis Inkin, who was ranked number two by the WBC.
The fight was to be an eliminator to fight for the vacant belt, which Calzaghe had recently gave up to fight Bernard Hopkins at light heavyweight. Inkin boasted a record of 32 wins with 24 inside the distance and looked like the test that Froch needed to push his world title hopes. But due to illness, the fight had to be postponed because Inkin had the flu.
Froch got straight back into camp and had the best training of his career in Tenerife and was ready for Inkin. But the week before the fight, Inkin pulled out again, due to an injury. Although he was very disappointed with not getting the fight with Inkin, it's very likely they will fight down the line. Some question whether Inkin was ready for the step up, having pulled out twice.
Froch had been inactive for six months and he needed a fight to keep him busy, so Rubin Williams, 28-5, had stepped up to the challenge a week before fight night as Inkin's replacement. Two days before the fight, Williams pulled out, due to travelling difficulties and not being able to leave the USA.
Froch was stuck with not having a fight or facing a no-named boxer in Albert Rybacki, 15-0. Carl took the fight on the grounds that he wanted to keep active, and impress his loyal fans of Nottingham to a knockout display.
From round one, it was clear that Rybacki was out of Froch's class. A sheer dominant display for four rounds showed that Froch is more than ready for the step up he needs.
Froch has proved over the last few years that he does not belong at the domestic level. 2008 is the year that "The Cobra" is going for the world title, ranked number one by the WBC, he is in line to fight for the vacant belt.
No opponent has been confirmed yet, but with Jeff Lacy fighting Jermain Taylor and Inkin fighting Karoly Balzsay, it's unlikely it will be against those recently matched up fighters.
Jean Pascal, 21-0, is looking very likely to be Froch's next test. The fight will be for the WBC Super Middleweight crown, which Froch has been chasing for so long. He finally gets to prove to the world that he is of world class and deserves to be fighting the best. The fight is a step up for both men but they need it to show what they are capable of doing.
Carl Froch is now 31 and he has improved a lot in the last three years. Some criticism suggests that Froch is too old to fight for the title and should have done years ago, but the truth is he wasn't ready and needed more experience. But, he has gained that and performances in the ring of late suggest he is getting better with age, not worse.
Although 2008 has been an unlucky year so far for Froch, he now has the shot that he has worked so hard for.
The 168 pound weight class is filled with potential explosive and exciting match ups to come. Future match ups for Froch could be with: Mikkel Kessler, 40-1, Lucian Bute, 22-0, Librando Andrade, 27-1, Kelly Pavlik, 34-0, Jermain Taylor, 27-2, Dennis Inkin, 33-0,or Andre Ward, 16-0.
And who is to say that Froch won't earn himself a shot at Joe Calzaghe, 45-0, for The Welsh Wizard's final fight?
I think 2009 will be the year that we will see some great match ups at 168 pounds. With the kingpin Joe Calzaghe leaving the weight class, things are very wide open. With over a dozen challengers being able to fill that void, all I know is that this weight class is one to be watched over the next few years.
Froch, like many other fighters, is very exciting to watch and I believe this will attract a lot of new fans to the boxing world. As a Carl Froch fan, I do believe he has the potential to be the new champion and go on to make some memorable defences.
The boxing world needs fighters like Carl Froch for the future of the sport and he is certainly filling his role of a true contender for the future.