Prizefighters need to have a bit of cockiness or confidence, whatever you want to call it, to step in between the ropes knowing that in the other corner a guy with gloves wants to take you apart.
Carl Froch and Jermain Taylor have loads of it.
Undefeated Froch (24-0, 19 KOs), the WBC super middleweight titleholder, intends to prove that he’s cocksure of beating Taylor (28-2-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday at the Foxwood Resort Casino in Connecticut. The title fight will be televised on Showtime.
The first time I saw Froch fight live was back in 2005 at the Avalon Theater near Hollywood and Vine. The British middleweight put a beating on poor Henry Porras, a Costa Rican called up by the promoter to test the Brit.
It was no test, it was just a pop quiz.
After eight rounds of pounding and pounding, Porras could take no more from the Englishman who hammered away like a blacksmith. It wasn’t a feat of artistry, or a one-punch destruction a la Tommy Hearns, but a blue-collar effort of consistent bludgeoning.
That night in 2005 Froch showed little discomfort being away from home fighting in the historic heart of celluloid magic and celebrity. The only difference he noticed were the accents of the reporters that April night.
Froch recently told reporters that anywhere inside the ring he is comfortable.
“For me it’s not a big deal,” said Froch (24-0, 19 KOs) during a telephone conference call. “I’ve fought in America before.”
Four years have passed but Froch still has that same confidence.
Maybe it comes from beating fighters like France’s Jean Pascal, an undefeated fighter when they met in December. Or maybe it’s mugging the rugged likes of Robin Reid and Brian Magee to capitulation?
“Of course he’s going to be confident, he don’t know how to lose yet,” said Taylor, 30, whose only losses were to current middleweight world champion Kelly Pavlik. “I’m going to have to teach him.”
The usually amiable Taylor, who managed to hand Bernard Hopkins his first defeat in 12 years and repeated the feat several months later, has little compassion for the Brit crossing the Atlantic Ocean. He’s almost rude about the confrontation.
“I’m just going to go in there and box the hell out of him,” said Taylor, who seems more anxious than usual to regain faith from boxing fans. “So he’s a strong fighter, so what?”
Though Taylor only has two losses, it seems the boxing world has relegated him to has-been status.
Taylor, a has-been?
The Arkansas Razorback fumes when reporters even consider that Froch is capable of handing a third defeat.
“I think he’s too slow,” Taylor says about Froch’s speed.
Froch has so much confidence that despite Taylor’s refusal to go to England, he simply shrugged at the option of coming to America where fans of Sanjaya are more prominent than fans of Froch.
“Initially when I found out Jermain Taylor didn’t want to come to England and had absolutely no intention of coming to England, I take that as he didn’t fancy a fight,” said Froch about the negotiations. “He would have probably earned more money.”
So here comes Froch ready to show America what blue-collar hardness truly means. He’s never been beaten, never been humbled and never doubted that he’s the best in the world. But he’s not the favorite.
“I am surprised,” said Froch who hails from Nottingham. “Because in my whole career I’ve always been a massive favorite.”
Taylor sees Froch as a means to reload his own career.
“It’s all about being a champion. All these other fights don’t mean nothing,” Taylor said. “He needs to come over here and establish himself.”