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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Victorious Froch wants Calzaghe

Carl Froch and his promoter Mick Hennessy will try to tempt Joe Calzaghe into one last fight by offering the Welshman a deal he cannot refuse.

Nottingham man Froch beat Canada's Jean Pascal in his home town on Saturday to claim the WBC super-middleweight title.

Froch is due to fight Jermain Taylor in a mandatory defence next but, if the American turns the offer down, Froch and Hennessy will pursue the Welshman.

"We'd love Calzaghe next more than anything," Hennessy told BBC Sport.

Hennessy offered Calzaghe £5m to fight Froch earlier in the year. Calzaghe instead took a fight with Roy Jones Jr, but Froch's promoter said he would return with an increased offer in an attempt to secure the fight.

"Taylor is the next mandatory opponent for Carl, but he has to be a man and take the fight, if he doesn't then will we go after Calzaghe and improve the offer."
If 31-year-old Froch were to meet Taylor, it would probably take place at New York's Madison Square Garden in April, Hennessy confirmed.

Froch has chased Calzaghe since 2004, but has always done so as a challenger.

Now the tables are turned and with Froch's stock having risen dramatically after his sensational unanimous points victory over Pascal, 36-year-old Calzaghe may well be tempted by one last fight, which would be likely to happen at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

"If Calzaghe doesn't retire then I'd love to fight him, but he knows that already," said Froch.

"I've got the title he vacated and if he wants it back he can come and get it.

"But realistically I know he wouldn't drop down to super-middleweight and I don't really want to go up to light-heavyweight so I'd compromise and meet him at a catch weight of around 172lb.

"It's the fight all of Britain wants, they've seen what I can do and they've seen what an exciting boxer I am."

If Taylor and Calzaghe fall through then Hennessy is sure there are other big fights out there for his man.

He said: "For once the ball is in our court, we have the best belt in world boxing."

IBF champion Lucian Bute and WBA holder Mikkel Kessler are two such names, and both are fighters Froch would love to meet.

Bute, who is unbeaten in 23 fights, lives in Canada and Hennessy said Froch would travel to Montreal to meet the Romanian-born southpaw, if the deal was right.

Dane Kessler has only been beaten once in 41 fights, by Calzaghe last year. That is a fight that would most likely take place in Nottingham again.

"What he has done here has made him a marquee fighter," said Hennessy.

"Carl is the most exciting boxer in the world and is a true champion.

Froch added: "I'd fancy IBF champion Bute, it would be a good fight and even though Kessler has been beaten by Calzaghe, he can come again.

"I know he was injured going into that fight and probably should have pulled out, so he's still a dangerous fighter."

Froch also revealed that he came close to pulling out of Saturday's fight as late as the week before, having suffered ear, eye and rib injuries during intensive sparring sessions at his six-week training camp in Ireland.

But he ignored the advice of promoter Hennessy, who wanted to withdraw his man, and boxed on. He met Pascal to claim the WBC title in what will go down as one of the best world title fights Britain has seen.

For Froch, victory ends years of frustration and announces his arrival onto the world scene.

"Pascal can come again, but I am 31 and needed to win this fight. This was my chance and I had to take it and I think that showed," said Froch.

"It was the hardest fight of my career and he caught me with some good shots but I showed I am a true fighter and that's why everyone loves coming to see me fight.

"I thought I had him a few times, but every time he looked in trouble he came back at me like a wounded animal. He was a dangerous opponent."

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