Bunce on Boxing: All bets are off as Froch gambles with his career

 

The perfect bad ending to an extraordinary weekend of boxing was provided yesterday when the former world champion – and arguably Britain's best active fighter – Carl Froch revealed that he had held up an opponent in order to determine a fight's ending in 2005.

Speaking on BBC Radio Nottingham, Froch talked openly and innocently about his December 2005 Commonwealth super-middleweight title fight against the London-based South African Ruben Groenewald, and said that he could have easily put an end to the one-sided bout in round four.

However, he held Groenewald up, as they say in boxing, and took him into the fifth round because he knew about bets that had been placed on the fight finishing in that round. The claim first surfaced in Froch's autobiography last year but it was not picked up by the British Boxing Board of Control.

"I don't gamble but my brothers and friends did quite well," said Froch, before adding: "I've done it before."

A closer look at the post-fight interview, which was on Sky, shows Froch laughing and joking about taking Groenewald into the fifth round. However, Froch retaliated to criticism yesterday by insisting that his brothers and friends had also lost a lot of money betting on him. "They are always giving me stick about it," Froch said. "I did nothing wrong on the night. I finished the fight when I could."

David Haye had to answer a lot of uncomfortable questions when he joked about stopping Audley Harrison in a designated round. Haye was able to show he was joking, but Froch seems determined to insist that it happened and that it was not a joke. During the interview with his local radio station, it was clear that Froch was given ample opportunity to take his comments back, but for some reason he failed to realise the potential severity of his claim. The board has confirmed that it wants to speak to Froch about his comments.

Froch has been involved in a series of top fights since winning the world title in 2009, and is set to announce an IBF super-middleweight title fight against the unbeaten champion, Lucian Bute, in Nottingham in May. That fight is still likely to happen. There will need to be a bit of diplomacy, however, before Froch fights again. I'd bet on a few quid going from Froch's kitty to the board's fund for ex-fighters.

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