Boxing comment: Carl Froch is a rare fighter. Having twice tasted defeated in two of his highest-profile contests, the Nottingham super-middleweight took them on the chin, dusted himself off and soon returned to the gym under the tutelage of his sole professional trainer Robert McCracken.
Unlike many top prizefighters, the Cobra shunned the opportunity to blame his instructor for the defeats on his record.
Instead he has kept the faith with his friend, one who describes him as a somewhat uncertain character before his transformation into a fearsome and respected world champion.
At 35, Froch is now on the verge of being recognised as one of the greatest British fighters of all time after successfully regrouping following his setbacks at the hands of Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward.
McCracken has been with Froch (30-2) every step of the way along his 11-year journey to greatness and deserves huge respect for passing on his wisdom which has helped his student graduate gloriously while competing in some of the toughest consecutive bouts the ring has seen.
McCracken himself readily admits to underachieving as a professional. Despite claiming the British middleweight crown, the Brummie ultimately fell short at the highest level.
However, his own sense of failure may have been a key driving factor in his achievements since. His CV will be further enhanced should he help Froch gain revenge over Kessler in their rematch on May 25.
Both trainer and fighter, who will embark on a gruelling 12-week training regime, are emphatically convinced that, although Kessler is a great combatant, he will taste defeat as the painful lessons from their first epic encounter have been firmly learned.
It will be over three years since Kessler edged out Froch by the time they square off again before a passionate London crowd and McCracken concedes the first fight was lost before the first bell.
“We shouldn’t have gone,” he admits, detailing a litany of problems, one of which was the emergence of a volcanic ash cloud that downed flights across Europe and disrupted Froch’s journey to Herning in Denmark when the fight took place.
“Things weren’t right, the ash cloud etc. For two or three days we thought the fight wasn’t happening. Carl switched off mentally which maybe he shouldn’t have done, but it is what it is. It was a close, hard fight in Denmark.”
There is a feeling that, while Froch has continued to show great form, Kessler has declined and Carl should convincingly see him off this time. McCracken, while confident, remains cautious.
“Kessler is a great fighter ... he is not to be taken lightly,” he adds. “You do that and you are going to come unstuck, but Carl will take it deadly serious and I will as well.”
McCracken feels his man will have the advantage due to his recent run of facing top-notch opponents.
“I think if there is any gauge on this fight and there are not many gauges I think it is the level of opponents Carl’s fought since he fought Mikkel and who Mikkel’s fought.
“Mikkel will feel he’s remained fresher, but I think Carl is in better form and has fought at a higher level and I think that will show on the 25th.”
I second that view and believe Froch will overwhelm his fierce rival in a convincing manner leaving the door open for him to seek revenge once again with Andre Ward firmly in his sights.
However Ward has both the skill and style which Froch finds detestable even though he admits it is highly effective.
If he can somehow find a way through the leading super-middleweight his name may be written at the top of Britain’s greatest fighters.
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