Froch can hit the jackpot: Victory over Kessler can lead to mega-money rematch with Ward
Andre Ward will be at ringside in the sold-out 02 Arena, on Saturday night, raising the enticing prospect of an even bigger box-office fight for Carl Froch than this weekend’s potentially epic re-match with Mikkel Kessler.
The Son Of God, as Ward styles himself, flies into London on Thursday just as he is seeking an opponent for his comeback fight after a lengthy injury.
Ward will be commentating on Froch-Kessler for America’s HBO television network and before leaving the US he has made it known that the winner of this fight will go to the top his dance card for a date in late summer.
Although Froch is hardly in need of any further incentive to avenge his loss in a violent war with Kessler in Denmark three years ago, the prize for victory here is a massive, multi-million dollar fight to follow.
Ward, who has risen to the top three in the mythical rankings for best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, is the only other fighter to have beaten Froch in his 32-bout career and the Nottingham Cobra is hissing to avenge that defeat, also.
Ward also has a win over Kessler on his 26-fight unbeaten record. That was achieved en route to the final of the Super Six tournament of world super-middleweight champions, in which he outpointed Froch over 12 gruelling rounds.
That was almost 18 months ago and since then Froch has blitzed the previously undefeated Lucien Bute in five brutally sensational rounds to regain world champion status.
Either Froch or Kessler will emerge late Saturday night with that IBF belt around his waist and Ward is keen to unify that title with the WBA and Ring championships he already holds.
The Californian has just relinquished his WBC Champion Emeritus status in protest against that organisation relieving him of their regular title because he will have been out of action for a year by the time of his return in September.
A shoulder injury which required surgery has restricted Ward to only one fight since beating Froch, a ten-round stoppage of world light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson last September.
This is a qualified success since his fellow American looked severely drained after boiling down to the 12-stone super-middleweight limit.
Froch, in addition to blowing away Bute, has kept sharp by also stopping former world champion Yusaf Mack inside three brusque rounds in November. Now there could be no keener preparation for facing Ward than renewing hostilities with Kessler.
Assuming, of course, that he wins.
That same caveat applies to another mega-fight alternative, this one against a living icon of the prize-ring.
Bernard Hopkins, at 48 the oldest world champion in history, told me in Las Vegas at the time of Floyd Mayweather’s comeback masterpiece against Robert Guerrero: ‘I am fervently hoping that Carl beats Kessler because I would even go to Britain for a stadium fight against him. My interest now is being involved in great fights. Our different styles would make a perfect match.’
While Froch would not go up to light-heavyweight to challenge Hopkins for his title, he is open to a catch-weight contest and the American says: ‘This fight would be bigger than any belt.’
By the same token as Froch being required to beat Kessler, Hopkins has to come through a mandatory defence of his light-heavy crown against Karo Murat in New York on July 13.
By that schedule it is conceivable Froch could be rewarded for what is about to become a phenomenal run of 10 world titles fights against elite boxers with two huge-money spectaculars, one in America against Ward and the other here versus Hopkins.
First the job at hand. Froch is intent on producing such a punishing performance against Kessler that he wonders if Ward might take fright.
He says: ‘Since I expect to take out Mikkel inside the distance this time, I hope I don’t put Ward off fighting me. I have evolved as a boxer. Also I was messed about before that night in Atlantic City and now he is about to see the real Carl Froch.’
For that, we can hardly wait.