In essence the Super Six World Boxing Classic was a revolutionary idea but in reality logistics & injuries to key names put paid to it ever being a long term fixture in the boxing calendar, think of it somewhat of a distant relative to today’s World Boxing Super Series, Carl Froch reached the final of the Super Six where he boxed Andre Ward, the favourite to win the tournament & remain unbeaten having not tasted defeat in an unblemished 24 fight career at that point, Froch battled valiantly but was ultimately unsuccessful in 12 round points defeat to Ward who in turn became the unified WBA & WBC super middleweight champion & would go on to become an all time great, winning further world titles at light heavyweight. For Froch however it was back to the drawing board & answering questions of himself from all comers, did he still have what it takes against the very best? Was he on the decline? Should he have retired? He didn’t retire of course & a mandatory IBF slot afforded him the opportunity to silence any doubters for good.
Lucian Bute was scheduled to challenge the victor of the Super Six, Andre Ward, but injury to the American shelved those ideas, instead the Canada based Romanian decided to travel to Nottingham, England to defend his IBF world super middleweight title for the 10th time, stepping up his level of opponent considerably in Carl Froch.
Heading into the bout opinions were split & debate was rife, was we about to see the end of the 34 year old Carl Froch at the very top echelons of the sport? Or could he become a world champion for a third time? Bute, however, was the bookies favourite to claim the win & move on to lucrative unification bouts, he oozed the confidence of an undefeated boxer in the build up, brimmed with confidence, Froch had the granite chin, Bute the blistering speed which way would it go?
The first couple of rounds were tentative, each man tried to establish their jab in front of a ferocious crowd that afforded Froch a great source of motivation if any more was ever needed. Though the rounds were close you got the feeling Froch was the happier of the two, landing the more eye catching shots. Early in the third round the champion landed a trademark left hand straight down the pipe & flush on the chin of Froch but it appeared to have little to no affect on the hometown fighter faked for his ability to take punishment, as he continued to patiently circle away, waiting for an opportunity to pounce and unload on his foe, that opportunity came in the very next few seconds as he marauded forward landing a heavy combination that had Bute reeling back into the ropes before holding on, desperately, he’d never faced real adversity like this & slid into crisis mode, Froch smelt blood & thumped in power shot after power shot but Bute managed to see the end of the round, returning to his corner in a daze amid thunderous cheering from a now expectant home crowd. The first half of round four passed without much incident as on lookers ringside including promoter Eddie Hearn, his father Barry, Tony Bellew, Darren Barker & Kell Brook sensed something epic was on the cusp of happening, Froch looked capable of ending the fight every time he attacked but again, Bute somehow survived the round. The ref made a check on bewildered Bute in between rounds 4 & 5 such was the heavy punishment he’d shipped but the fight was allowed to go on, however that wasn’t to last long. The 5th round of this fight is one of those spine tingling moments we are lucky to enjoy as fans of this most brilliant sport, where a fighter written off before hand, on the verge of being discarded as a world class operator refuses to conform to opinion.
After this defeat Lucian Bute was never the same & would box another 6 times, losing 4 & although he fought for world titles he was convincing beaten each time before retiring in 2017.
Froch however was revitalised & went on to play a pivotal role in the emergence of a golden era of British boxing, two memorable clashes with domestic rival George Groves, the second of which took place at Wembley Stadium in front of 80,000 fans ended with a Froch knockout victory, this would be the final chapter in the legendary career of Carl Froch but none of that would’ve happened had it not been for that night in Nottingham & that stoppage victory.
By Luke Carney of SimBoxx 🥊
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