Carl Froch: Joe Calzaghe Represents a ‘Bullet Dodged’

Carl Froch recognises he may have “dodged a bullet” by not fighting Joe Calzaghe when he hoped to.

The retired Froch sought a fight with Calzaghe – then Britain’s leading fighter – shortly after Calzaghe fought and won for the last time, against Roy Jones Jr. at light heavyweight in November 2008.

It was in December 2008 that Froch established himself as a world-level fighter by outpointing Jean Pascal to win the WBC super middleweight title, but with Calzaghe then retired it took until 2013, against George Groves, for Froch to land a high-profile fight against a domestic rival.

In 2023, Froch, 46, joined Calzaghe, 51, in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and the outcome of a fight between them therefore remains the subject of debate. For all of the bullishness with which he typically speaks, Froch also acknowledges that the timing of the theoretical fight, in addition to Calzaghe’s qualities, would regardless have worked against Froch.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a regret, if I’m totally honest,” said Froch, 46, as the guest of honour at a lunch hosted by the Boxing Writers Club. “I don’t regret not fighting him. The thought of fighting Calzaghe at the time when I boxed [Jean] Pascal – I don’t think I was ready for Joe Calzaghe. In the build-up, I’d have made too much of a big deal of it.

“Jean Pascal turned out to be a fantastic fighter – he had a great career at light heavyweight. He was a unified champion. So who knows what would have happened [if I’d fought Calzaghe]?

“But it’s not regret. I do wish it would have happened later – after the [Lucian] Bute fight [in 2012], maybe. But he was finished after [Bernard] Hopkins and Roy Jones. I’m always honest and say that Joe Calzaghe would have given me one helluva hard fight. If I didn’t knock him out, which would have been hard to do – he was very tough – I’d have lost on points, because he was so busy.

“I don’t look at it as a regret. I look back on that and think, ‘Maybe I dodged a bullet – maybe it was supposed to happen like that.’”

Froch also spoke with the knowledge that Jeff Lacy, in 2006, was once beaten so convincingly by Calzaghe that his career never recovered.

“That night with Pascal, which was a toe-to-toe fight between two young hungry lions – Pascal was a helluva fighter,” Froch said. “Maybe I would have beaten Calzaghe that night. But maybe I’d have lost to him and that’d have been the end of my career. Things happen for a reason. Serendipity – it can do you a favour.

“I’d have liked to have boxed him. [But] I don’t look back in regret. It’s slightly different eras. He went and fought Hopkins – I thought he lost; who am I to judge? – and Roy Jones.”

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