Boxing Analysis: Is a Lucian Bute vs. Carl Froch Deal Right Around the Corner?

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Eddie Hearn appeared confident this week that a deal for Carl Froch to fight undefeated IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute in home and away bouts during 2012 could be concluded as early as next week.

Froch, who has been considering his options at home since losing a clear points decision to Andre Ward in the final of the Super Six before Christmas is understood to be desperate to fire himself back into world title contention as soon as possible, and a double header against Bute fits that bill.

The Nottingham fighter (28-2) had planned to arrange a spring homecoming after the Super Six tournament ended, however defeat to Ward has meant that the man famed for his willingness to go anywhere and fight anyone will once again be forced to travel in order to regain a world title at this weight.

As exciting as a two fight deal with Bute sounds, there are going to be problems to deal with. If Froch fails to win the opening fight- and in Canada a win there would be an extraordinarily tough ask- I would suggest the chances of Bute actually coming to Nottingham for a second fight would be remote at best.

In fact the logic of an undefeated world champion going overseas to defend his title against a fighter he has already beaten would appear non-existent, and regardless of any financial benefits or contractual obligations, Bute would be ill-advised to make the trip. Froch will thus, once again, be heading into the lion’s den to attempt to wrest a title that has fitted easily around the waist of Romain born Bute for nearly five years, knowing that anything other than victory would destroy much of the good work the British fighter has done over the last three years.

Defeat would also be the former two time WBC champion’s second on the spin and would leave him few options and no bargaining power should he desire further fights at world level.

Obviously, with so few credible world title fights available at super middleweight, Froch’s eagerness to throw himself back into the mix should be commended- however it also means that the former British champion has not taken an opponent outside the top 10 in the division since a 2008 win over Albert Rybacki.

If nothing else, the fight would prove the worth of Froch’s 2011 move to Matchroom Sport. Having spent his entire professional career under the guidance of Mick Hennessy, Froch surprised many by transferring the promotional side of his career to Matchroom fronted by father and son team, Barry and Eddie Hearn.

Initially it felt as if the Matchroom move was a bandwagon jump from the Hearns- Froch’s win over Arthur Abraham in November 2010 suddenly catapulted the newly crowned WBC champion into the spotlight and the promotional change brought about a swift return to Sky television after a three year absence.

Hearn will have had his work cut out for him in the wake of the Ward loss, however if he is able to come up trumps in securing a night with Bute, he will have done some excellent work.

A number of boxing writers- Steve Bunce in particular- were keen to see Froch take on James DeGale or George Groves in 2012. The argument being that a fight against either of those young tyros would be the best way for the Cobra to become truly mainstream- his defeat to Ward having cost him the notoritory of long-time yardstick Joe Calzaghe.

I would imagine, however, that Froch would see such an engagement as a backwards step. He has always insisted that he would not be interested in returning to domestic level skirmishes as his career winds down, and I suspect that a further defeat at any stage will bring the curtain down on his involvement in the sport.

With this the backdrop to an Easter showdown in Quebec or Montreal, do not be surprised if we never see Froch fight again on these shores.

As the world of boxing awakens from its post-Christmas slumber, feel free to follow me on Twitter for the latest from the biggest (and smallest) fights throughout 2012.

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