Stepping out of Calzaghe shadow

April 22, 2009

WBC super-middleweight champion Carl Froch finally gets the chance to banish the cries of Carl who? and step out of the shadow of Joe Calzaghe when he takes on former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor in Connecticut on Saturday.

The skilful slick Froch (24-0 with 19 ko’s) is the owner of the WBC belt, once held by the now retired Calzaghe for more than ten years, but has struggled to gain recognition at home, never mind in the U.S.

As one of only two British world champions (Ricky Hatton being the other) the decision by the television companies to not screen his fight in his homeland this weekend is unfair for fans and the fighter.

The 31-year-old won collective praise from media and fans for his unanimous points victory over previously undefeated Canadian Jean Pascal in December. He tried, in vain, to fight the popular Calzaghe to dispel the argument he was not in his league but only received a barrage of criticism from the Welsh-Italian.

“I judge people on how they perform in the ring and I see nothing in his performances,” Calzaghe said. “His mouth is interesting but his performances aren’t.”

But as much as Calzaghe was loved and applauded by fans in Britain he never received the same accolades in the U.S.

His two victories in the States against Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins were slick but both opponents were past their best. If Froch beats the 30-year-old Taylor in his own backyard his reputation and popularity could sky-rocket in America past anything Calzaghe achieved and then the television companies will come running back.

jermaintaylorTaylor, though, is no easy opponent.

Once the undisputed middleweight champion, two defeats at the hands of Kelly Pavlik ended that reign some time ago but anyone boasting two wins over Hopkins cannot be underestimated.

Still, if Froch manages a convincing win, who knows? Maybe he could bring Calzaghe out of retirement for a big bucks showdown.

PHOTO: Jermain Taylor of Arkansas takes a punch from Kelly Pavlik (R) of Ohio during a non-title rematch fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada February 16, 2008. Pavlik won by unanimous decision. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

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