Carl Froch: “Howard Foster definitely made the right decision to stop the fight”
"Cobra" Carl Froch spoke to Maniche as part of the new In The Zone podcast.
The 46-year-old from Nottingham talked through the first fight with George Groves, in November 2013, and described in-depth why the stoppage was called and how he believes it was the correct decision.
“If you’re sitting in the stands as a fan watching that fight, you want a conclusive end to the fight,” said the former world super-middleweight champion. “So, in that instance, you want that fight to carry on because you start thinking, ‘what could have happened?’
“The referee’s job is to ensure the safety of the fighters, and he has to make a split-second decision because it takes a millisecond to throw a punch and from Howard Foster’s point of view, I had hit George with a big overhand right and he was in trouble.
“He was wobbly, he was trying to hold me, but I was going for the finish. Howard Foster has seen me finish loads of guys before and he knows what kind of fighter I am, but he knows Groves is in his first world title fight as well.
“I hit him with a barrage of punches, his head was wobbling and his eyes were in the back of his head so the referee had no choice but to stop the fight. From the angles that people saw, it didn’t look conclusive but Howard Foster definitely made the right decision to stop the fight.
“From an audience point of view, yes the fight was stopped too early so I can understand the argument. It was controversial, but we can’t complain because it gave us Wembley Stadium.”
The married father of three, who won 33 from 35 professional contests, then revealed about how there was genuine animosity in the rivalry, “People always ask if we hated each other, but I genuinely could not stand him. What an obnoxious p**** – I wanted to kill him, I wanted to punch his head in as hard and as often as I could until the referee stopped me.
“It was stupid and unprofessional of me because I didn’t train properly for the first fight because I didn’t think he was worth the hard work. I was doing a dance show with my partner and I was enjoying the razzmatazz and the glamour after beating Mikael Kessler. “I’d already stopped Groves in sparring, so my mindset going into that first fight was not right – I saw him as an easy night’s work and I nearly paid the ultimate price.”
That fight captured the British public’s imagination, so much so that the national stadium was required for the rematch.
“We’ve got a mutual respect; we’ve shared two fights together and he gave me one of the hardest beatings I have ever had in that first fight, but I managed to survive it. He maintains it was early, but I managed to end the rivalry conclusively in front of 80,000 and knock him out harder than he has ever been knocked out before.
“I believe a man makes his own luck in this life and George trained hard and he persisted and I thought it could be all over when he lost to Badou Jack after me. But he kept believing, gritted his teeth and finally got his world championship belt against Fedor Chudinov after all of the talk before that.
“Wembley Stadium now doesn’t define George because that world title victory does, whereas it does for me because I ended a grudge match with a conclusive knockout that was the last punch I ever threw in my career.”
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