The time may be coming for Carl Froch to hang up his gloves but there are many British fighters who are ready to take over the mantle in the super middleweight division. The end of the ‘Cobra’s’ title-laden reign at the top could signal the beginning of a new and exciting era for British boxing in the 168lb weight class.
Froch has blazed the trail for the likes of Paul Smith, Callum Smith, James De Gale, and George Groves to follow, and his retirement can be the catalyst for a sequence of world title fights between our best super middleweights.
Smith the elder to get first crack
All of these aforementioned fighters occupy high positions in the world ranking lists of the different sanctioning bodies, and Liverpool’s Smith could soon be the WBO champion at l68lb if he overcomes the odds and the steals ‘King Arthur’ Abraham’s crown later this month in Germany.
Although many fans outside of Britain seem to think Smith vs Abraham is a mismatch, the hands of time are ticking on Abraham’s career, and he may just be ready to seize the opportunity of a lifetime.
Undeterred by his underdog status, Smith will undoubtedly let it all hang out to fulfill his dream of becoming a world champion. As far as I am concerned, Smith is capable of causing an upset on foreign soil, and my money will be on him escaping with a victory from behind enemy lines.
Groves bidding to bounce back in style
September is also a huge month for Groves, as he looks to bounce back from his humbling knockout defeat to Froch in front of a sell-out crowd at Wembley stadium.
The Hammersmith fighter can get his world title bid back on track if he beats Christopher Rebrasse next week to win the WBC silver and EBU super middleweight titles. A victory over Rebrasse should help Groves secure a world title shot against the newly minted WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell.
Young lion waiting in the wings
Callum Smith is another young British prospect who features prominently in the WBC rankings, and he is ready to mix it with the main men at super middleweight. Personally, I feel Callum Smith is the diamond of the pack and I fully expect him to be in possession of a world title by this time next year.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has already expressed his desire to set up a domestic super fight between ‘Mundo’ Smith and Groves in the not too distant future. Although Callum Smith is quiet and respectful, you can be sure he wants revenge on Groves, who knocked out his older brother Paul a few years ago.
Domestic rematch surely waiting in the wings
Both fighters are willing and able for that one and it has ‘Fight of the Year’ written all over it. The prospect of a rematch between Groves and Jame DeGale is also a distinct possibility and that one would have the fans purring in delight as well.
Former Olympic gold medalist DeGale (MBE) will soon hope to get his hands on a world title belt. He may not have to wait too much longer, as IBF/WBA champion Froch, could be forced to fight fellow Matchroom stable mate De Gale if Eddie Hearn cannot deliver him his Las Vegas dream fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr.
Froch's future still not decided
Even in the event that Froch fulfils his Vegas dream, the ‘Cobra could conceivably vacate his IBF title, which would gift De Gale, the mandatory challenger, a golden opportunity to fight for the title against a similarly ranked opponent.
Of course DeGale will not want to win a world title by default, but Carl Froch seems cool on a concept of a DeGale contest, so it may be his best option.
Obviously as soon as DeGale wins a world title, the fans will immediately clamour for a grudge rematch with Groves, who beat his long time rival in a closely fought, some would controversial, contest a few years ago.
There is still bad blood between the two, and the bitterness means both would welcome the opportunity to do battle again. With world titles at stake, the rematch would be a domestic dust up of epic proportions.
These are just some of possibilities for all British world title encounters in the super middleweight division. Regardless of which of these fights come to fruition, the future will be bright at 168lb whenever the legendary Froch rings the final bell on his incredible career.