Former super middleweight world champion Carl Froch rarely took a backward step in the ring during his storied career. He has, also, never been afraid of telling the world how he feels about his peers in the boxing industry.
Now a pundit for Sky Sports, Froch appeared miffed recently when was not included in a top 10 of the UK's best pound-for-pound fighters. One man who did make the cut, though, was unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
"AJ" rounded out the list - having been placed 10th - and Froch did not mince words when it came to his views on Joshua's inclusion.
“Not putting me in the top 10 is bad news, and I don’t know how you can have AJ in the top 10," declared Froch on an Instagram Live stream hosted by iFL TV.
“I’m not giving AJ stick, but he got knocked out by a little fat kid from Mexico. I’ve never been knocked out in my life, amateur or professional.
“AJ got beat up by a fat Mexican who, we don’t even know how good the Mexican is because he’s not done anything really. And they’ve got him in the top 10.”
Froch's comments on his countryman were controversial to say the least. Instantly recognising the opportunity to capitalise on the situation, iFL TV quickly uploaded a clip of Froch's words to YouTube, entitled: "ANTHONY JOSHUA GOT BEAT UP BY A FAT MEXICAN – HOW WAS I NOT IN TOP 10?’ – CARL FROCH GOES ON RANT”.
Such titles are, of course, used to generate interest - and it seems likely that this one grabbed Joshua's attention, after Froch felt compelled to clarify his comments a few days later.
Speaking on his own podcast, Froch revealed that he had received four late-night WhatsApp messages from Joshua - all of which were quickly deleted before Froch could read them.
"I was just having a conversation with someone actually off the record and I’ve seen something on Instagram, I don’t think it’s made the press or gone any further. They've twisted what I said," insisted Froch.
"Anthony Joshua’s got beat by this fat kid from Mexico,’ which is out of order because Andy Ruiz is a decent fighter...He’s a good fighter, he can punch, he’s got quick hands. He is overweight, yes, but he can still fight."
Froch then moved to explain that he meant no offence towards Joshua.
"My beef wasn’t with AJ, my beef was with the list," explained Froch, before he went on to argue his own case for inclusion in the top 10 in question. "You’ve got AJ in at number 10, you’ve gotta have me in there somewhere between nine and maybe even top five.
“Because if he finished his career today and that was the end of his career, he’s not had as glorified a career as what I’ve had in terms of world champions beaten, amount of world title fights.
“AJ’s had a great career, but I’ve never been stopped amateur or professional. He got stopped against Ruiz, he's come back and avenged the defeat, but I’ve won all the titles, four times world champion...To not have me in the top ten, I just think it’s ludicrous."
Froch then shared news of Joshua's deleted WhatsApp messages with his listeners.
“Anthony Joshua, I’m a massive fan of his, he knows I am. But sometimes you just don’t know, he’ll read something and he’ll think, ‘What’s Froch talking about now? What b****cks is he talking now?’
“I’ve actually had four messages off him last night on WhatsApp at midnight, five past midnight, ten past midnight."
“You know when you read your WhatsApp and it says, ‘This message has been deleted.’ I’ve had four of them.
“I’m thinking, ‘What has he wrote there and then deleted and changed his mind?’
“So AJ, if you listen to this, come on mate, send me a message or pick the phone up and give me a ring because you know I’ve got nothing but love for you.”
Froch's misstep with his recent comments is not the first controversy he has talked himself into - and will likely not be the last.
Joshua is big business for Sky Sports, though, and it may be wise for Froch to choose his words more carefully when he speaks about one of his employer's top stars.
- Footage of Mike Tyson working the pads
- BBBofC issue statement on possible return date
- Malignaggi: Pacquiao would ‘obliterate’ McGregor