Fabulous Froch still top dog

  • By: Derek Bilton
  • Last Updated: June 3 2013, 6:18 BST

Our boxing expert Derek Bilton presents his latest British top 10 pound-for-pound list and there is plenty of praise for Carl Froch.

Carl Froch: Beat Mikkel Kessler in a fantastic bout
Carl Froch: Beat Mikkel Kessler in a fantastic bout

Carl Froch lived up his reputation as a warmonger once more after his sensational return battle with Mikkel Kessler at the O2.

The pair put on a fight for the ages in April 2010 and while most people hoped the return would live up to the hype, few surely believed their second square go could top the first.

It did, and then some, as 19,000 rabid fans and millions watching around the world witnessed an absolutely savage, stirring affair.

Froch started brilliantly and his jab, a real weapon these days, helped him establish an early lead on the cards but all credit to Kessler. I was hearing whispers in the lead up to the fight that the Dane wasn't in the best shape and had looked laboured in sparring.

The betting certainly reflected that given the fact that the pair opened up as 5/6 each of two when the fight was first announced but by the first bell 'The Cobra' was 4/9 or shorter with some bookies.

However, Kessler wasn't reading from the script and gave it a real go, almost pulling off the stoppage in the penultimate stanza after uncorking some lusty blows. Froch though has to, along with Oliver McCall, possess the finest set of whiskers in the fight game right now. To describe his chin as granite would not be doing it a disservice. It is ridiculously sturdy.

Such a chin, allied to a great heart and some superb combinations combined to see the Nottingham man home by scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113. Make no mistake, the right man won and while all the talk afterwards was of Froch v Ward II, I personally would like to see Froch v Kessler III.

'Son of God' Ward is a prodigiously gifted fighter but his safety-first approach to business means he is not the most popular attraction and I'm not even sure if he owns a passport, such is his reluctance to leave the good 'ol U, S of A.

It is unclear just now who Froch will fight next but rest assured it will be a big name as 'The Cobra' looks to cement his legacy as one of the finest British fighters of modern times.

What is clear is he is deserving of his place atop the 'pound-for-pound' table domestically. David Haye announced he would box Manuel Charr recently only to pull out of that one the other week.

Kell Brook is also on the sidelines while the jury is still out on Amir Khan, who looked anything but impressive in his last outing against the limited, and ancient, Julio Diaz.

Ricky Burns marches on though but he was so fortunate to keep his WBO world lightweight title after a bizarre conclusion to his bout with Jose Gonzalez in Glasgow recently.

Burns - in his first bout under new boss Eddie Hearn - was left chasing shadows for most of the contest as the slick Puerto Rican peppered him with classy jabs and befuddled him with some majestic movement in the squared circle.

At the midpoint of round seven it looked all over for 'The Rickster', who was coming under heavy fire and a mile behind on points. However, Gonzalez began to unravel thereafter and while there was no sign of what was to come Burns began to stand his ground and find success with right hands over the top.

Quite incredibly Gonzalez, who hardly had a mark on him, decided to retire on his stool after nine sessions. He was, truth be known, a mere nine minutes away from being a world boxing champion. He later cited a hand injury but others, myself included, weren't having that.

When you are nine minutes away from the greatest glory, the moment you have built your whole life around, you don't bail out with a poorly hand. In my opinion, the Latino spewed it and if I was Burns I'd have definitely done the lottery after that as the Scot's luck was in big time.

He retains his belt, and the amiable champion will hopefully go on to make a few quid. But whatever happens his team need to keep him well clear of American hotshot Adrien Broner, who would quite simply eat him alive.

Sportinglife.com pound-for-pound British top 10:

1 Carl Froch
2 David Haye
3 Kell Brook
4 Amir Khan
5 Ricky Burns
6 Scott Quigg
7 Carl Frampton
8 Nathan Cleverly
9 David Price
10 Tyson Fury

Honourable mentions: George Groves, Gavin Rees, Matt Macklin and Martin Murray.


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