Undefeated Super Middleweight—“The Cobra” Fears No One
Emerging boxing star Carl “The Cobra” Froch made all the right moves in 2009. The man from Nottingham, England came to America in April and knocked out Jermain Taylor in dramatic fashion—in the 12th round of a close fight—to defend his WBC Super Middleweight title for the first time. Then in November, the 32-year-old Froch outpointed unbeaten American southpaw Andre Dirrell in his opening bout of the prestigious SHOWTIME Super Six Tournament.
Standing supreme with a record of 26-0 with 20 knockouts, Froch has some more feats to accomplish before he retires from prizefighting by the age of 35 or 36. Presently getting ready for an upcoming showdown with former WBA Super Middleweight champ Mikkel Kessler in March or April, Froch took time out to welcome MOVES MAGAZINE for an intimate photo shoot with his girlfriend Rachael Cordingly, and this captivating indepth interview where he discusses his unique career, inspirations, life outside the ring, and much, much more…
What is your first memory of boxing?
“My first amateur fight probably, in Nottingham. Or hitting a punching bag in my dad’s garage.”
How old were you when you started boxing?
“I was eight or nine. My older brother Lee boxed as an amateur. I had about 45 fights as a schoolboy then took a few years off to focus on school. I got back into boxing again when I was 18.”
How would you describe your boxing style?
“I can box, move, jab but I’m a fighter first and foremost. I could box more and make my career a lot easier —but that’s not what I’m about. I like to get stuck in. I like to fight.”
What kind of leisure activities do you enjoy outside of boxing?
“I like tennis. I play a lot of tennis. But since my ACL reconstruction in my right leg I have to be careful, there’s a lot of stopping and starting. But I really enjoy a game of snooker. I really do. A good friend of mine—Michael Holt—was in the world championship. He’s from Nottingham. I’ve practiced with him on Sundays. He’s doing very well at the minute. So I’m improving my game. Also, I play a bit of guitar and I like to do a few Johnny Cash numbers. I’m a big Johnny Cash fan. Johnny Cash is the man.”
What is your inspiration as a boxer ?
“I want recognition from the top fighters in the world. The top Americans.”
Who is your favorite all-time fighter ?
“Roy Jones Jr. He was fantastic to watch.”
Switching gears to the SHOWTIME Super Six Tournament , do you think Mikk l Kessler might be damaged goods after his loss to Andre Ward ?
“No, he didn’t take that many blows, of course not. He had a few injuries with cuts around his eyes from head butts. But he wasn’t really an aging fighter. He didn’t really take a sustained beating for 12 rounds. He was unfortunate to get the cuts with the way in which Ward was fighting—diving in with his head. The referee out there allowed him to get away with it as well. Which was a shame.”
Who do you favor in the Arthur Abraham – Andre Dirrell matchup ?
“Well, I hope Abraham knocks him out. And if he catched him, he will knock him out. But I know how hard it is to chase someone like Dirrell and catch him. Because I went 12 rounds trying to catch him. And it’s difficult against someone who is so negative—to catch him. Whether or not Abraham could do what I couldn’t do—who knows. That remains to be seen. So Abraham could knock him out—or lose on points, unfortunately. But I think Abraham knocks him out.”
What are your impressions of Ward ? Is he similar to Dirrell?
“They’ve got similarities, in terms of they both are more boxer/movers. But Ward’s not as negative as Dirrell. Nowhere near as negative.”
How do you see your chances vs. Ward ? How wi ll you win ?
“Against Ward, I’ll just do what I do best. And that’s close the range. That’s the difference between Ward and Dirrell—Dirrell runs a lot more than Ward. Ward will, at times, stand up and fight. He just seems to hold a lot and he just seems to lead with his head. I’ve got the experience with plenty of fights where people have tried to hold. I don’t let them get away with that.”
Who has been the most impressive in the Super Six tournament so far ? And who is the favorite to win now ?
“Well, you can say the best win was Ward against Kessler. But I don’t think the best Kessler turned up for the races. I think he got a bad cut. I think the most impressive win was myself and the favorite to win is myself. But I’m sure other people will disagree.”
Do you sti ll hunger to face Joe Calzaghe ?
“No, not really. I saw him the other day. And he looks like a fat, old man. So there’s not much sense to fight Calzaghe.”
Does your girlfriend ever provide ad vice on your boxing strategies ?
“No, Rachael never gives me any boxing tips. I listen to my trainer. If I’m taking boxing advice from Rachael, it’s a bad day [smiles].” Two huge wins over Jermain Taylor and then Dirrell.
Two huge wins over Jermain Taylor and then Dirrell. How did they impact your celebrity profile in the United Kingdom ?
“Yes, it’s brilliant. Beating Taylor (12th round KO), defending champion, and coming back to England, it’s been massive. And that’s the reason we sold out the Trent FM Arena with 9,000 fans at 3 o’clock in the morning. Not many people can do that. It’s unfortunate the way in which the fight unfolded—because of Dirrell’s negativity— but I’m a superstar now in my hometown. It’s brilliant. Covers on Boxing News, Boxing Monthly, a fitness magazine, and there’s bits and bobs going locally. I’m working close with a local council and I’m doing a lot of TV bits, Anne Robinson, The Question of Sport.”
Your a top fighter , persuasive speaker . Do you think acting could be in your future ? You resemble James Bond in the photo shoot .
“Thank you. Yes, it would be nice to go into something like that after my boxing career. So something like that would be considered. We’re actually putting a pilot together —a boxing film in Nottingham. We’re putting a pilot together now. If we get any investors, we’ll then get a script. See how that goes.”
Have you ever had a funny memory in your boxing carer ?
“I used to be a fan of Prince Naseem Hamed, an exciting fighter who provided entertainment value. And I got carried away one amateur fight—I vaulted the top rope (as Hamed used to do), flipped over the top rope—that went okay. Then during the fight I was throwing a silly uppercut from the canvas, and bobbing and weaving with my hands down. I threw a shot and I missed and I fell over. But I got up and won the fight. But that was quite fun and embarrassing. All my friends were laughing.”
What ’s been your greatest moment in boxing?
“Was lifting the WBC title against Jean Pascal in my hometown Nottingham (December 2008). It wasn’t massively recognized because Pascal was unknown. But to come through a fight like that was an unbelievable feat, if not a recognized one.”
Your most painful moment ?
“Was actually when I lost in the Olympic qualifying tournament. I was trying to qualify for the Sydney Olympics (2000). I lost a decision but it was a political decision to a Romanian in Liverpool. I basically got ripped off on the scoring system. There were a lot of politics involved back then when England was trying to qualify. It was painful to not qualify for the Sydney Olympics when I knew I was good enough to go there and win a medal.”
Of all your matches , in which one did you fee l you were at your absolute best ? Which do you consider to be your finest , sharpest performance ?
“I’ve got to revert back to the world title fight (vs. Pascal) because it was such a hard fought contest (won on a unanimous decision). I’ve since been sparring with Jean Pascal (who has subsequently won the WBC Light Heavyweight title). And he’s fast and he’s strong and he’s tough. And he was unbeaten. And he was very good as an amateur. That’s my best performance against a top level fighter, a top operator. When I won the British title by knocking out a guy named Damon Hague—lovely bloke—but it went a round. So you don’t take a great deal from that.”
What is the best fight you have watched ?
“Naseem Hamed stopping Jose Badillo. A masterclass. A skillful fight.”
How would you describe your prefight feeling/mindset ?
“That’s quite an in-depth answer. I’m thinking about winning. There’s plenty of emotions that go on when you’re fighting. It’s very…it’s a deep question. That you need a long time to answer. I’m going to bring a book out. You’ll have to buy that and read that [smiles]. I’ll talk about it in there.”
Your unbeaten as a professional. When is the last time you actually lost a boxing match ?
“In the semifinals of the world amateur championship against the Russian world champion (Andrey Gagayev) on points in 2001.”
Who are some of today’s boxers that you enjoy to watch ?
“All the best fighters really. Floyd Mayweather is just a great technician—offensively and defensively. Manny Pacquiao is so fast and explosive. I watched a lot of Miguel Cotto’s career. I enjoy watching him. David Haye—I like watching his fights because sometimes he’s a little bit of a kamikaze. There’s a lot of method to his madness, the way he fights. But David Haye is exciting to watch and I’m looking forward to see him fight the Klitschkos. He’s definitely got a chance there, a good chance.”
And last , Mann y Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather , who do you see as the superior fighter ? Who will prevail?
“I think Floyd Mayweather beats Pacquiao. He’s too technically proficient. His defense is too good. I can’t see Pacquiao doing anything with him. Basically because Mayweather’s defense is too good. His offense is good as well. He’ll frustrate Pacquiao, then he’ll break him down. Then he’ll beat him, he’ll either outpoint him or he’ll stop him. In my opinion.”
Perspective on Carl Froch:
His trainer Robert McCracken : “Carl can fight. He’s highly regarded back home. I first heard of him 11 years ago. I first met him 10 years ago. He’s a special fighter. He’s very confident, has natural ability, timing and heavy-handedness. He’s a very hard puncher. With his reach, his arms are very long. He’s physically very strong. So he’s kind of got everything you need in a fighter. He’s also kind of unorthodox which also makes it more difficult for the opponent. Carl’s 100% professional. He’s diligent in everything he does. He’s very level-headed and listens to the right advice. He’ll keep a cool head on fight night. He’s a very formidable fighter and the best super middleweight in the world.”
Boxing News Editor Tris Dixon :
“Froch is a man’s man and a fighter’s fighter. He ducks no one, fears no one and wants to be recognized as the best fighter in his division. He is a big-punching hard man, has a terrific chin and one can only anticipate the fireworks when he steps in with fighters who think the same, like Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham. He was a 2001 World amateur bronze medallist and was convinced he would have medalled had he been in the Sydney Olympics of 2000. His popularity is a strange beast in this country. A hero in Nottingham, he’s been in numerous exciting fights yet has failed to nail down a TV deal over here. He is no underachiever but he is under-appreciated. I have worked with Carl numerous times and he is gracious with his time. Just last week we slotted in an hour-long interview and he had a number of professional commitments to meet and still had to buy his Christmas tree. He’s a pro who’s doing things the right way but has yet to crossover into the mainstream which is too bad, because he merits his place alongside stars from other sports. He does not crave the publicity but he deserves to be recognised for his achievements.”
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Recently there has been quite a bit of chatter regarding whether performance enhancing mouthguards are capable of assisting athletes in reaching their peak physical capacity. Dr. Anil Makkar, 20 year dentistry veteran is at the forefront of this philosophy and has created a mouthguard that has been proven to increase an athlete’s performance with his revolutionary product, Pure Power Mouthguard (Makkar PPM ™).
Connecting Professional Athletes To Real Money On Their Terms!
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Walter Iooss never thought he would be a professional photographer. As a teenager, it was just a hobby. But then at age 18, he got his first assignment for Sports Illustrated.
Michael Jordan Lisel, IL – 1987
No one captured Michael Jordan’s personality, his joy for the game, or his most personal moments, the way Walter Iooss has. For this photograph, Walter trekked to Jordan’s basketball camp for kids in Lisel, Illinois. He had one side of a parking lot painted red and another side blue, not knowing which uniform Jordan would wear to the shoot. When Jordan arrived, Iooss perched himself above the rim in a cherry-picker and had an hour to capture Jordan with the proper light and shadow. In later years, Jordan would never do an hour-long shoot. “When he played those two seasons for the Wizards,” says Iooss, “he never posed for a single photographer.”
He was to photograph and octogenarian sailor in Connecticut, who had built a boat with no plans and sailed it to Florida and back. Similarly with no plans, Iooss built an unparalleled photographic collection that has captured virtually every icon of professional sport: Ali, Jordan, Pele, Koufax, Gretzky, Unitas, Arnie and Tiger among hundreds of others. He has also photographed the most beautiful women on the planet for the world famous Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. “If you’ve got the best looking women on the planet and the best locations, it isn’t that hard,” Iooss says. Turning the pages of Iooss’ book, Athlete, is like taking a visual tour through the last fifty years of American sports history. From Kyle Rote to Brett Favre, from Wilt to LeBron, Iooss’ camera has focused on the icons of every major sport under the brightest lights looking for the story not yet told. This feature is just a small representation on the colossal body of artwork that Iooss has created and continues to expand every day.