JENNA J:Carl, a lot of people are anticipating your next fight, a unification match that’s going to take place over in the UK against Mikkel Kessler. The rematch, how do you feel about it?
CARL FROCH:Yeah, I’m very pleased the fight’s happening. It’s a massive fight for the boxing fans and for the non-boxing fans actually. It seems to have captured the public’s imagination. I mean, the tickets went on sale and they sold out within a few hours. I think it’s a 17,000 seat arena; the O2 in London. Sky pay per view are coming back to the forefront in boxing, which is great news for my fight and future fighters. So excited really underplays it, I’m ecstatic. It’s a chance for me to redeem myself as far as I’m concerned because Mikkel Kessler holds a win against me in my professional career and it was a very very close defeat out in Denmark and a fight which I feel I can win in a rematch. So I’m excited for myself, for the fans, it’s a chance for me to set the record straight and come close to securing my legacy before I decide to finally hang up the gloves.
JENNA:Alright, now it’s been 3 years since the last fight. What do you think has changed in you since last time you met in the ring?
FROCH:I think I’ve improved technically. I think my defence is better and even think my offence is better so there’s quite a lot of areas of my game I think I’ve improved on. Physically, I feel fitter and stronger and I will definitely be fitter and stronger than when I boxed him the first time because of the late complications with the travel details with the volcanic ash cloud. I mean, we flew in very very late. A couple of days, I think it was the day before the weigh in I actually flew in, which wasn’t ideal preparation. So this time as long as I’m 100% fit and on the ball, which I know I will be provided the training camp goes well, which I’m sure it will, then I don’t think Mikkel Kessler can live with me. Obviously he’s a big strong man. He’s a great fighter with bags of experience but the first fight was very very close and like I say I wasn’t firing on all cylinders in the first fight. So I’m confident that the rematch will only end in one way and that’s a victory for me.
JENNA:Okay, well, people sometimes argue that Mikkel Kessler may not be the fighter that he once was. He’s had, obviously, his eye problems. He’s had a lot of delays in his career. Do you think you’ll be facing the same fighter that you were facing 3 years ago?
FROCH:I think when I boxed Mikkel Kessler the first time he was very hungry because it was a fight where he’d just come off a loss against the geezer from America, erm, what’s his name? Ward. He lost to him so he had that fire in his belly. It was a fight for him at home in front of his home fans so I think he was maybe probably at his best when he fought me the first time. Has he got better? Has he improved or got worse? I don’t know, I think physically he’s probably the same. He’s 33 years old, he’s a couple of years younger than me, so he’s definitely peaking physically. Mentally? Who knows where he is. He beat Allan Green, he beat Brian Magee, he did what he had to do against decent level opposition but he’s not been boxing the top top elite level. So who knows whether he’s going to be better or worse? People always argue “oh maybe he’s on the slide. He’s past his best” but then you see people at 38-39 years old, Marquez, Manny Pacquiao. You see them late bloomers and they’re very rare. We’ll find out in the fight. People are going to say he’s past his best and then other people are going to say he’s physically in his peak so it’s a matter of opinion. Critics are there to criticize, I’m sure there will be a few people after I beat him saying “oh Mikkel Kessler is not what he used to be” but, you know, I’m not focusing on that.
I’m focusing on the fact that this is a superfight, it’s on Sky Box Office which is fantastic. The arena’s sold out so quick so it shows the interest in the fight. It’s a massive fight and it’s a real treat for everybody involved. So I’m really looking forward to the next fight. It’s about getting in the ring and doing the business. I’ve got a 12 week camp ahead of me. It’s going to be difficult, it’s gonna be a tough fight but one to certainly get excited about. One I feel I can win. So I’m not focusing on whether or not it’s the old Kessler or the new Kessler or “is he past his best?”, it’s a load of rubbish. That’s all it is, a load of rubbish talk.
JENNA:Well, Carl, you’ve got to a certain point in your career. Now people say that you’re the biggest draw in the UK, you get the biggest crowds, you have the biggest fan base, that you’re the biggest attraction. How do you feel about where you are right now?
FROCH:It’s brilliant, it’s humbling for me. I’m excited about the fact that I’m pound for pound the best fighter in Britain, I’m ranked as the most exciting fighter and I think this is one of the reasons, well definitely the reason, that Sky TV has decided to come back to Box office because it’s the only way these big fights can happen. Bringing Mikkel Kessler over to the UK, he’s going to demand paying well and it all involves, really, our superstars. Mikkel Kessler is a superstar in the sport. I’ve proved that I’ll fight anybody anywhere. I’ve lost fights, I’ve come back and won fights and I’m a 3 time world champion. So this is just a massive fight for everybody involved and exciting times for British boxing.
JENNA:Great, well Carl, one great thing about you in your career is that you’ve stayed relatively healthy. Same actually can’t be said about Andre Ward. He’s had a lot of injury problems, he’s had a lot of injury delays to his career. How important is it for you to kind of carry the super middleweight division? Because Andre Ward, he can’t seem to stay healthy enough to really carry it.
FROCH:Erm… I think injuries, it’s one of those things, your body develops. I mean I’ve had my fair share of injuries. I’ve broke my hand a couple of times, I’ve had 2 operations on my hand, I’ve torn my cruciate ligament in my knee, I’ve had that operated on. So I’ve had my fair share of injuries but, you know, shoulder injuries aren’t good. They’re career threatening injuries and I just think that Andre Ward will probably develop and toughen up as he gets through his pro career. He’s had plenty of fights but let’s just hope that Andre Ward isn’t totally finished with the shoulder injury.
I think there’s a new kid in town with this Broner, this Adrien Broner because Adrien Broner is very talented. I know we’re not talking about him, we’re talking about Ward but Broner seems to be taking over in the USA because he’s exciting. People wanna watch him, he puts bums on seats. So Andre Ward is in a bit of a bad position as far as I’m concerned. He’ll probably listen to this and think I’m having a go at him but I’m not. Oscar De La Hoya said it as well. Andre Ward needs to be more offensive, take more chances and be a little bit more exciting when he fights because he’ll put a glass eye to sleep. It’s as simple as that. People aren’t interested in watching his fights. So hopefully Andre Ward can come out of his injury and get himself fit and ready and fighting again. That’s down to him, nobody else in his team around him.
I’m fit, physically strong, physically capable. I’m a very tough hard man. So any injuries and I sort of get myself sorted out and I’ve not been injured, I’m touching wood at the minute, I’ve not been injured for a long time. I’ve been quite fit and healthy and my training’s adapted. I manage small injuries and I keep myself fit and strong. So hopefully the 12 week camp for the Kessler fight and I’ll remain injury free and put on another career best performance. I’ve had so many world title fights back to back against top level opposition, time and time again. I think my last 9 fights have been top top level fights, taking aside the Yusef Mack fight, that was a fight that made sense at the time after the Lucian Bute demolition. Injuries aside I think I’m in a good position and unfortunately for Andre Ward he needs to get himself back on the training program and hopefully get himself into rehab for his shoulder injuries. Is he back out? Has he started training yet? I don’t know I’ve not heard from him in a while.
JENNA:No, no, he hasn’t trained yet. He’s going to be out for I think another couple of months.
JENNA:Alright, well another thing I wanted to get your view on is actually a fighter that just appeared on the show before you came on and that’s Ricky Hatton. You know, he had a fight in November, he looked good for the first 5 and then obviously he got knocked out in the 9th. I’m just curious what are your reflections of Ricky Hatton as a fighter and now him moving forward to being a promoter full time?
FROCH:I think Ricky Hatton is a fantastic fighter. He’s exciting, he’s very tough, he’s durable, he means business when he gets in the ring. He’s not the most the most skilful fighter in the world but then neither am I but he makes up for that with toughness and endurance and stamina. I think what sort of finished him off was he had a couple of bad losses against Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Again, let’s not forget, the best fighters in the world pound for pound the top fighters. So it’s no shame losing to them. Unfortunately he got knocked out quite bad in them fights, which is never a good sign towards the end of your career. But he did what he did, he had 3 years out of the ring and then he came back to fulfil that burning desire that he wanted to fight again, for himself, for his fans. He felt he had unfinished business. That’s why I just wished him luck and just hoped he didn’t get too badly injured if he was to lose. I thought he did himself proud.
He went 9, 10 rounds and was just physically exhausted. He showed himself and everybody else that to box at top level you’ve got to live the life. You’ve got to be an athlete all year round. He had 3 years out doing what he wanted and then come back into the sport trying to compete at top level, it just shows you that it’s physically impossible. I’m sure mentally he’s in a good place now, he’s come back and he’s had a go. He’s been a credit to the sport, he’s a credit to himself and the sport. Not many people could sell out arenas like he did and bring the excitement, put bums on seats. Ricky Hatton will be remembered as a legend in the sport. He’s done himself and the sport of boxing proud, as I’ve said, and I’m proud to have known him. I think he’s done the right thing with retiring. He’s had a long old career, he’s fought plenty of fights and he’s had a successful career so good luck to him. I hope he has a happy and healthy retirement.