From Jean Pascal to Wembley Stadium, Carl Froch's five most memorable fights

A look back at some of the best fights featuring one of the toughest and best British fighters in recent memory…

When you think of Carl Froch you think of two things: knocking out George Groves and winning in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium.

"The Cobra" had an epic rivalry with Groves and at one point they were the worst of enemies. Fast forward eight years on and they could not be further from being foes with the pair most recently touring the UK together to share tales of their two-fight series.

Groves - who tasted defeat in both bouts - eventually became world champion and made two successful defences, including victory over Chris Eubank Jr. For Froch, his epic stoppage of Groves in 2014 was the final fight of a 12-year professional career.

While Canelo Alvarez is the current undisputed champion at 168lbs, it is in a division that is not as glamorous as once it was. During Froch's time as a fighter, you had Andre Ward, Mikel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Jean Pascal and Andre Dirrell.

This is not to undermine the achievements of Canelo but when you look at the competition he faced compared to previous decades at 168lbs, there is a huge difference in quality.

Froch may not get the credit he deserves by some, but make no mistake about it he would have given Canelo a run for his money and alongside Joe Calzaghe, he is up there as Britain's greatest super middleweight.

To celebrate Nottingham's finest, we take a look at his five standout wins.

1) Winning his first world title vs Jean Pascal (December 6, 2008)

Froch Pascal

This was Carl Froch's first big opportunity at world glory. The Nottingham-born super middleweight was 23 fights into his pro career at this point. He was gradually making his way up through the British and Commonwealth level before landing this fight for the vacant WBC title.

Froch and Jean Pascal headlined a stacked card at Nottingham Arena. Interestingly, this fight night also included the professional debut of Tyson Fury. The eventual two-time world heavyweight champion won via TKO in the first round against Hungary's Bela Gyongyosi.

Froch and Pascal got going later in the night and delivered an instant classic. In the non-stop 12-round contest, each fighter showed great heart as they exchanged big punches throughout the entire 36 minutes.

This would become a trait of Froch's career, as he became known as a fighter who relished an old-fashioned brawl inside of the four-sided ring.

In the end, it was Froch who got the decision. He won it unanimously on the cards: 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110. And that was it. Froch's lifelong ambition of becoming a world champion was realised. But his career went from strength to strength from this night.

2) War with Arthur Abraham (November 27, 2010)

Carl Froch

Froch managed two defences of his newly-won title, which were entertaining fights with Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell. The second defence was his first fight in the Super Six World Boxing Classic.

The next fight in this series was with Denmark's Mikkel Kessler. This was another back-and-forth 12 rounder, but it was Kessler who got the nod in his home country.

He won comfortably via unanimous decision, which frustrated Froch and his supporters who argued the fight was a lot closer than the cards suggest. In the aftermath of the fight, Kessler endured an eye injury that forced him to withdraw from the tournament and relinquish his world title.

Therefore, Froch took on Arthur Abraham, former IBF middleweight champion, for the newly-vacant WBC title. The Nottingham fighter was again fighting away from home, this time in Abraham's home country of Finland.

There were pre-fight fears that this may swing the contest in Abraham's favour should it go the distance. But Froch made sure this would not be the case. He dictated the fight which was reflected with the cards. Froch won it 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109 to reclaim his title and become a two-time world champion.

3) Defeat to Andre Ward (December 17, 2011)

Andre Ward

With the victory over Abraham, Froch advanced to the semi-finals of the Super Six tournament. There he faced Glen Johnson and retained his title via majority decision. One judge scored it 114-114, but the others had it in Froch's favour 117-111 and 116-112.

The culmination of the tournament came as Froch fought Andre Ward. The undefeated American super middleweight and current WBA world titleholder. This unification fight was for each of their world titles as well as the vacant Ring magazine title.

Before the fight, Ward was widely regarded as the best fighter in the division, and he showed just why in the early rounds. He fought expertly during the first half of the contest, keeping Froch at a distance and within range of his precise jab.

But in the later rounds Ward got a bit complacent, allowing Froch to get a foothold in the fight again. The Nottingham fighter finished well in the last couple of rounds. But it was not enough for the win as Ward's early dominance earned him the victory. Ward won via unanimous decision: 115-113, 115-113 and 118-110.

4) History in Nottingham (TKO win over Lucian Bute - May 26, 2012)

Froch Bute

Froch was straight back into another world title fight next. The IBF ordered that he became mandatory for their world title, held by Lucian Bute. This marked Froch's grand return to Nottingham Arena after four fights abroad.

Prior to this fight, Bute was billed as one of the very best in the division. Some critics even considered him to be better than WBC and WBA titlist Andre Ward. As a result, despite being in his hometown, Froch was an underdog against Bute.

It did not take long for Froch to silence all the critics and Bute though, as he controlled the fight from the get-go. The two-time world champion had been known as a 12-round fighter, clawing out victories after hard-fought battles.

But this one only lasted just five rounds. Froch backed Bute up on the ropes before unloading some vicious combinations. Bute did not protect himself well enough as the referee decided to end the contest.

Jubilant scenes ensued as his hometown crowd rejoiced at this resounding victory for one of their own. Nottingham had their three-time world champion after a masterful performance from Froch. He had already had a brilliant career, but he was far from finished yet…

5) Fights with George Groves… (Nov 23, 2013 & May 31, 2014)

Carl Froch

After successfully defending his world title against Yusaf Mack, he won a rematch with Mikkel Kessler at the O2 Arena to avenge his loss in 2010. This awarded Froch the WBA title to go along with his IBF crown.

The IBF then ordered a fight between George Groves and Froch, which took place at Manchester Arena at the end of 2013. There was a lot of verbal sparring between the two fighters in the build-up, and a lot of bad blood.

Throughout his career, it was always tough to get under Froch's skin. But it looked like Groves managed to do this, as Froch seemed very out of character leading up to fight night.

It was Groves who started much the stronger of the two in the opening bout. A very surprising win looked well on the cards when he dropped Froch in the first round with a flush left hook-right hand combo. This was only the second time Froch had been dropped in his professional career.

"The Cobra" got up and carried on fighting like a true champion, but Groves dominated the next few rounds as Froch did not have much in response for him.

As we reached round nine, Froch was working his way back into the fight, hurting Groves with some vicious punches. After a lengthy onslaught, referee Howard Foster controversially stopped the fight in the ninth and Froch retained his titles. Fans were outraged and Groves was livid with the decision.

A rematch was always inevitable. Eddie Hearn announced that it would take place at Wembley Stadium and there was heavy interest in the rematch. All 80,000 tickets were sold soon after going on sale, which Froch has been partial to mention once or twice since…

Froch made it known that he had underestimated Groves before the first fight. Understandably, the start to the rematch was much slower than the first fight and perhaps cagey.

Groves tired in the first fight and the tactics in the second was the reserve energy heading into the second half of the contest. But it sparked into life in the eighth round. Groves came out firing looking to hurt Froch but was unable to connect, instead plummeting to the canvas following a spiteful right hand by Froch. This time there was no controversial stoppage and Froch reeled off in celebration.

Froch did not fight again after this, and why would he? He had just delivered one of the best British knockouts of all time, so what better way to call time on your career? The only fight out there for him after was James DeGale, the IBF champion at the time.

He had nothing left to achieve in the sport. Since retiring he has teased about making a comeback to the ring but that time has passed. Froch has remained in the sport as a boxing analyst and can be seen regularly calling fights on Sky Sports.

One tends to wonder what would have happened between a primed Froch and the current champion at super middleweight in Canelo...

Read more: The top five most important fights of Tony Bellew's career

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