Mythical matchups are a sure-fire way to get people's tongues wagging and minds whirring. Heated debate is sure to ensue as fans champion the merits of their favourite fighter, when compared to the skills and accomplishments of one from another era.
So, whilst we are all on lockdown, with no boxing to watch and few fights to look forward to, why not use our imaginations to vividly envisage what magnificent chaos would unravel if some of Britain’s most beloved boxer’s were pitted against one another, during the peak of their powers.
Britain has been blessed with world class super-middleweights over the years. The abundance of past talents has included the likes of Herol Graham, Chris Eubank, Joe Calzaghe, Robin Reid, Richie Woodhall, George Groves and James DeGale. Today we have Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith who continue the tradition of British dominance in the 168lbs division.
However, the one fight that would satisfy even the most blood-thirsty of fans, is a hypothetical clash between ‘The Dark Destroyer’ and ‘The Cobra’.
The two have much in common. Both hard-nosed, no-nonsense tough guys that would snarl in the face of anyone that tried to intimidate them. The pair also had the uncanny ability to become all the more dangerous when their backs were against the wall.
Their credentials stack up fairly evenly. Nigel Benn (42-5-1, 35KOs), a two-weight champion, claiming the WBO middleweight title before stepping up to super-middleweight and snatching the WBC belt from Mauro Galvano, going on to defend it 10 times.
He holds notable victories over Iran Barkley, Thulani Malinga and Gerald McClellan. He also shared the spoils in his disputed rematch with bitter rival Chris Eubank, which many thought Benn edged.
The ‘Dark Destroyer's' warrior mentality meant that he was willing to go out on his shield and had been stopped in four of his five losses, albeit two of them coming in his final two fights when he was past his prime but not ready to quit.
Carl Froch (33-2, 24KOs) is a three-time super-middleweight champion. He was a two-time WBC champion, before retiring as the unified the division as the WBA and IBF king.
His most famous wins read like an assassin's hit-list, as he challenged himself against many of his generation's finest fighters. These include Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, Lucian Bute and two over his arch-nemesis, George Groves.
His only losses were again Mikkel Kessler in their initial contest – which he avenged in the rematch – and modern great, Andre Ward who retired undefeated.
It could be easy to visualise a contest between Benn and Froch being a savage affair, where there is little need for the sweet science. Instead the two testosterone-fueled troopers would clash in the center of the ring and throw caution to the wind, immediately testing the brawn and machismo of the other. If this is the case, it would be hard to pick a winner because to do so would be to question the fighting heart of the loser, which simply wouldn’t be fair.
Whilst boxing’s equivalent of nuclear warfare would make for an incredible spectacle, I don’t think it would actually happen.
Carl Froch showed that whilst he earned his stripes during his numerous wars, he could also follow a game-plan to perfection. His victory over Arthur Abraham showed that he could resist the urge of engaging in a toe-to-toe battle and follow the smart tactics laid out to him by his esteemed coach, Rob McCracken, now entrusted with Anthony Joshua's career.
He demonstrated a fast and snappy jab when he prevailed over former conqueror Mikkel Kessler. Then, on his biggest night of all, he showed discipline, concentration, power and accuracy by knocking out George Groves in front of 80,000 people.
I believe that Benn would come out blazing immediately with a ferocious attack on Froch. He would likely have some success by rocking his opponent and perhaps even score a knockdown.
However, the granite-chinned Froch would retain his composure, use his jab to keep a distance and wait for Benn to slow down, before planting his feet with greater assurance and landing with frequent eye-catching blows. As the contest wears into the latter rounds, the pop from Benn’s punches would begin to diminish, the ‘Cobra’ would take the calculated risk to stand in front of the ‘Dark Destroyer,’ and accept some punishment in order to land his potent attacks on the fatigued Benn, to the delight of a raucous crowd.
Benn would fight valiantly till the end, digging in deep and at times threaten to sway the momentum of the contest back his way, literally sacrificing buckets of blood, sweat and tears in the process.
But ultimately the combination of composure, tactical superiority and toughness would prove to be difference, as Froch is awarded with a razor-thin decision victory.
Here's what BBN's readers voted for in our online poll:
Nigel Benn PTS: 14%
Nigel Benn KO: 31%
Carl Froch PTS: 19%
Carl Froch KO: 36%