Photo courtesy SHOWTIME
Bitter rivals and European superstars Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham continued to throw verbal jabs at one another on Monday during an international media conference call less than two weeks before their Super Six World Boxing Classic clash for the vacant WBC Super Middleweight title on Saturday, Nov. 27, on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT) on same-day-delay from Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland.
“I never ever want to test my chin with anybody,” Froch said. “The best chin is the one that doesn’t get hit. I’ve fought some very strong super middleweights and light heavyweights. I’m not concerned when people say that Arthur’s the biggest puncher I’ve faced. I think his power is overrated, especially at super middleweight.”
Abraham (31-1, 25 KOs) vs. Froch (26-1, 20 KOs) has the potential to be a classic toe-to-toe brawl with both fighters hungry and coming off their first professional losses. Froch lost his world title to Mikkel Kessler, who withdrew from the World Boxing Classic Tournament with an eye injury, and has said that he feels like he will have to knock out Abraham to get his belt back.
In the second bout of the split-site doubleheader, unbeaten Andre Ward (22-0, 13 KOs) will defend his WBA 168-pound crown against Sakio Bika (28-4-2, 19 KOs) live from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
Here are what the principals had to say on Monday:
“Of course we have tried to learn from the defeat (against Andre Dirrell). We have tried to change what we did in practice. The mistake I made against Dirrell was that I gave away the first couple of rounds. That won’t happen again and it’s something we’re looking to change in the next fight.
“I have to do more and take more risks than I did against Dirrell. I don’t want to reveal too much now but I will just show you on Nov. 27.
“One thing I learned from my fight against Dirrell is that I have to be more aggressive from the early rounds because those are the rounds I lost.”
What are your advantages against Carl Froch?
“The advantages are inside my head and I don’t want to speak to that right now. I’ll just show you.”
How has the delay in the fight affected you?
“I’m actually used to fighting every three or four months but my trainer is very professional and an expert so we knew how to alter the training so my body stays in shape and so I stay sharp. We just adjusted our training accordingly and I think it’s actually an advantage for me. The more I train the better I get and the stronger I get. So it’s no problem for me at all.
“I agree he has a long jab. But it didn’t help him against Mikkel Kessler because he lost the fight.
“After the Super Six Tournament I expect to make even bigger fights in America. Then after a couple more fight then I will call it a career.”
“In my last fight I lost a very close decision although the judges’ scorecards didn’t reflect that. It was a very close fight and it could have gone either way. It went against me but everyone knows that fight is one that you want to watch again and again. It’s the kind of fights that I’m usually involved in.
“I’ve been sparring a lot more for this fight. I’ve got like close to 200 rounds. As far as other aspects go, not a lot has changed since the defeat. I’m not going to do anything different based on that loss because quite frankly it was a very close fight and I should have won. I take a lot of confidence from my fight against Kessler. I sent Mikkel Kessler into retirement with that fight. And now I’m fighting to get my title back. As far as I’m concerned I defended my title against Kessler and I’m defending it again against Abraham. So nothing’s changed. The training has stayed the same.
“I’m giving myself a week before the fight to get over to Finland and get settled in. I’m fully prepared, meticulously prepared to do the job I need to do on Nov. 27 to bring that green belt back to England. I have a massive, massive chance to win the Super Six Tournament so I just have to hold onto that and give it my all.”
Do you feel like you’re still an undefeated fighter?
“I don’t feel like that fight did enough to take away my confidence. I lost a very, very close fight. Eighty-five percent of the people thought I won the fight. And that’s not just Carl Froch fans. That’s people in America and people in England and all the boxing people. I don’t want to keep bringing it up but it’s not like I was totally outclassed. I’m not trying to disrespect Arthur at all when I say this but if I was to have gotten beaten as bad he got beaten for 11 rounds (against Dirrell) then I’d be worried. I’d be mentally dejected. Not only did he get beaten and outclassed but he got beaten and outclassed by a guy that I previously beat. So that’s got to have him worried and cause him concern.”
Has fatherhood changed you?
“Of course it has. You realize it’s not all about you. I’m a very selfish person. Most boxers are. You have to be selfish. You have to say no to people; to friends and family. And you have to be disciplined and you become somewhat of a recluse, especially when you’re training. In terms of my boxing and what I want to achieve and I what I want to stand for it gives you a little sense of urgency. Because I’m not just doing it for myself but I’m doing it for my son (Rocco) instead. He’s too young to understand it now but someday when’s he’s old enough he can look back on this fight and watch it on video and he can be proud of his old man. So of course I want to win not just for myself but for my son as well.
“I don’t think home-fight advantage matters. Everybody’s different. I produced a great performance away from home in a win against Jermain Taylor and I boxed brilliantly against Mikkel Kessler away from home. So whether or not I’m home or away, my performance is not affected. Being at home is nice because you can feed off the crowd and the energy and it makes you feel good and if you feel good then you perform better. It’s no problem for me being in Finland because it’s the same for Arthur.
“I’m going to box and move and employ some different tactics for this fight. Plan A is to hit and not get hit back.”
KALLE SAUERLAND (Abraham’s promoter):
“These two are easily the biggest punchers and the biggest warriors in the tournament and I think many fans will agree with me on that. I think they are two of the heaviest-hitting fighters in all of boxing pound- for-pound. With both fighters coming off the first losses of their careers the scene is set for a great fight. There’s a lot at stake. Arthur is in the best shape of his life and he’s absolutely pumped up and ready to go.”
MICK HENNESSEY (Froch’s promoter):
“I said at the initial press conference in Helsinki that this fight has the potential to be the fight of the decade candidate. And I seriously believe that. This fight has all the ingredients to be very, very special. We have two of the fiercest warriors and two of the biggest punchers in all of boxing. We have two of the toughest and most exciting fighters. This is what everyone in the fight game has been looking forward to for a long time.”