By Ben Carey
Carl Froch is expecting a “war” when he meets Mikkel Kessler in the second group stage of the Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup tournament in contrast to the frustrating evening he endured against Andre Dirrell in front of his Nottingham fans a fortnight ago. Froch scraped a split decision (113-114 and 115-112) on the judges’ scorecards to retain his WBC title against the flashy but elusive Dirrell to get his Super Six super-middleweight campaign off to a winning start.
“It was close but I had no doubt in my mind that I had won the fight. He’s (Dirrell) a slick, fast, counter puncher and when you combine that with the negativity he showed in there it made it a very difficult night,” admitted Froch.
“I don’t know how he expected to come to the champion’s hometown and take the WBC belt fighting like that. Nobody likes to see someone running and being negative and I think people recognised that I was trying to make a fight of it but it takes two to tango. I like to stand there and have a fight and give the fans and the TV viewers a real show but Dirrell wasn’t interested in that kind of fight,” added the frustrated Nottingham man.
Whilst Dirrell’s negativity and unwillingness to oblige Froch in the kind of toe-to-toe ‘The Cobra’ relishes is undisputed, many critics felt the talented American still produced the more eyecatching work in a disappointing contest and seldom took punches in reply from Froch who was out-of-range and out-of-sorts throughout.
“I feel sorry for the fans that it wasn’t a more exciting fight but I can only fight what’s in front of me. I’m satisfied to retain my title, I’ve just beaten one of the best boxers the U.S. has to offer and I didn’t get hit with anything that gave me any trouble at all,” said Froch, who actually did appear to be hurt by a stinging left hand from Dirrell in the eleventh.
“He (Dirrell) felt quite fragile in there when we were in close. I felt twice as strong as him and he didn’t really have any physical presence. I think he felt my strength in there too and that’s why he was so negative and tried to disrupt the rhythm of the fight,” added Froch.
The beauty of this round-robin tournament is that there is little time for each of the six combatants to dwell on what might have been as they quickly turn their attention to preparing for their next opponent in phase 2 in 2010. For Froch that means a mouth-watering clash with Denmark’s reigning WBA super-middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler. In contrast, for now Kessler is only concentrating on Andre Ward, who he will meet on his US debut in the final Super Six Group Stage 1 pairing in California on November 21 in a little under three weeks time.
“I know that Kessler will bring a war and the fans will have a real fight to look forward to there. That’s a fight I’m relishing. Hopefully he’ll beat Andre Ward in their fight next month so both the WBC and WBA belts will be on the line in our fight,” commented Froch who is hoping that promoter Mick Hennessy will be able to persuade Kessler, only beaten by Joe Calzaghe, to come to Nottingham.
“I think he will (beat Ward), so far the tournament’s gone as I expected. Jermain Taylor got knocked out again in the last round against Arthur Abraham so Taylor must be jinxed because it was exactly the same time in the same round that I knocked him out. I expected Abraham to beat him and obviously I expected to beat Dirrell so it’s all gone as I thought it would so far,” asserted Froch.
The line-up for Stage 2 and 3 matches for the Super Six tournament has recently been announced. Dates and venues for the coming matchups will be confirmed in due course.
GROUP STAGE 2
ANDRE DIRRELL vs. ARTHUR ABRAHAM
MIKKEL KESSLER vs. CARL FROCH
JERMAIN TAYLOR vs. ANDRE WARD
GROUP STAGE 3
ANDRE DIRRELL vs. ANDRE WARD
CARL FROCH vs. ARTHUR ABRAHAM
MIKKEL KESSLER vs. JERMAIN TAYLOR