Boxing: Froch must find his old self to better Bute


Carl Froch's opponent Lucian Bute is unbeaten, smart and seems to be aware that it is rare for a foreign world champion to accept terms for a fight in Britain and then suffer a loss.

The odd exceptions to the established boxing order tend to happen only when the plucky British champion fights out of his skin or the faded champion has been picked at the perfect time for stuffing. However, Bute is at his peak, nine defences into a reign and younger than Froch.

"I guess that means I will have to have a real fight," Froch insisted. "It's always me in fights like this, always me going in against a good fighter, a champion. I would not have it any other way." Froch is not joking and tonight's fight in Nottingham for Bute's IBF super-middleweight title is the eight consecutive in a unique, if draining, sequence of truly remarkable encounters.

The sold-out signs will be hanging from the doors in Nottingham tonight as Froch's fans, who have been on the road for his last four fights stretching back to 2009, swarm to his assistance, knowing that Bute has taken precautions against the bellowing faithful. Bute has been training in Canada with hostile crowd sounds piped through speakers in his gym and, according to camp insiders, a short passage of Froch's partner Rachael Cordingley letting loose a beautiful, foul-mouthed burst of abuse. "I'm ready for everything now," Bute confirmed through a translator.

Tonight at about midnight Froch will enter the ring second, watched as he walks through his horde by a silent Bute, for the most important fight of his career and a night that will design his imprint on a business that has too often overlooked him. Froch's fearless credentials are the envy of champions young and old but he has struggled to turn performances into profile; his last seven fights have been shown by four different broadcasters.

Froch knows that it will not be easy and, no matter how many times he listens to his entourage talk about Bute's hand-picked ascent of boxing's greasy pole, he will know that 10 world title fights, 30 unbeaten fights and the pressure of winning have made Bute a quality man. "I see flaws and I also see good things. It will be a great fight," promised Froch.

I believe that the only way Froch wins tonight will require a dormant version of the Nottingham idol to surface and roll back the years. It will take a performance of aggression and skill in equal measure, just like the glory nights against Jean Pascal in 2008 or Arthur Abraham in 2010. Both Pascal and Abraham were better fighters than Bute but, then again, Froch was fresher in those two breathless fights. Froch claims he is not suffering in anyway from his severe sequence of seven fights, which all went into the 12th and final round: "I don't take a lot of head shots. I'm still fresh."

Bute can be beaten; he can be put under pressure and made to tire, which is what Froch once did with ease in fights. In 2008 Bute survived a harrowing last round to hear the bell and retain his title against tough Librado Andrade: Bute was out on his feet and saved only by his favourite referee. Froch has taken inspiration from that night but is aware that he will have to push his body to get into that position.

It will be about timing and whether Bute's bold raid has been perfectly timed or whether Froch can find that magic he has shown so often in great fights, just not in his last two. The odds suggest Bute has made the right choice but writing off Froch is a hazard too far and I expect a fairy-tale ending to delight his bleary-eyed fanatics.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears