The Cobra: My Story, by Carl Froch

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The Independent Culture

There's something about British boxing's 12-stone men that makes them feel unloved.

Joe Calzaghe spent much of his career bemoaning the fact that he didn't receive the recognition he felt was due, and Carl "The Cobra" Froch, the current WBC super-middleweight champion, sings from the same scoresheet, though he does acknowledge that his punch-perfect performance against the tough-as-nails Armenian Arthur Abraham to regain the title last November at 33 raised his profile.

He's still far from a household name, though, except perhaps in his home town of Nottingham, where he was raised on a tough estate with a father who was in and out of jail.

Froch started boxing at nine and showed much promise before drifting away from the sport as a teenager. He returned to become the first English boxer to win a senior amateur World Championship medal, a bronze, before turning professional in 2002. He tells his story in artless and undemonstrative fashion, with no sensational revelations, and perhaps this down-to-earth nature is one reason he has not received more publicity; he is not one for hangers-on or bling, and tends to celebrate his victories by doing a spot of decorating at one of the buy-to-let properties he owns.

A more attentive ghostwriter or editor would have saved him from some repetitive passages and solecisms: when he writes, for instance, that a certain boxer "could punch like a mule" you know what he means, but he hasn't quite said it. And he is naïve when he writes: "Why there cannot just be a single statutory body running [world] boxing, I don't know."

The answer is money, Carl; the more bodies there are, the more "world-title fights" they can hype. Nevertheless, as an honest account of high achievement this punches its weight well enough.

Published in hardbackby Ebury, £18.99