Undefeated Carl “The Cobra” Froch and Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor participated in a press conference on Wednesday in London – Froch was joined by a host of U.K. journalists and television crews, while Taylor took part via satellite from his training camp in Miami, Fla. In a highly anticipated world title fight on Saturday, April 25, Froch will look to make a major statement — and enhance his reputation in America — when he defends his WBC super middleweight title against Taylor, a former undisputed middleweight titleholder, live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast) from the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Conn.
Froch (24-0, 19 KOs), of Nottingham, England, will be making the first defense of the vacant 168-pound crown he gained in his last outing with a unanimous 12-round decision over Jean Pascal on Dec. 6, 2008. He earned the title shot after registering a fourth-round TKO over Albert Rybacki on May 20, 2008, on ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME.
Taylor (28-2-1, 17 KOs), of Little Rock, Ark., has had a prolific pro career since winning a bronze medal for the United States in the 2000 Olympic Games. The six-foot-one-inch, 30-year-old Taylor is the only boxer to twice defeat future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins.
Froch, Taylor, who both spoke confidently yet respectfully, their trainers Robert McCracken and Ozell Nelson, and Mick Hennessy, CEO of Hennessy Sports, discussed the upcoming match and fielded questions from the media.
Press conference highlights:
CARL FROCH: “I’m a fan of Jermain Taylor. He is a big name world-wide and a great fighter who knows his way around a ring. It is strange that now we are going to meet and he is fighting me.
“But I am looking forward to going to America and showing to SHOWTIME and the fans what this English guy can do. I feel I am a world star in the making and looking forward to showcasing my talents.
“Taylor says he is going to take me into deep waters, but I can swim. I like it when opponents come forward and say stuff like that…
“I’m sure he is prepared to fight and I expect to see a lot of movement, but I can adapt to any style. More than anything I box and move and love to counter-punch. I am looking for 12 rounds, in the trenches, going blow-to-blow. I hope he is a very good swimmer.
“Obviously, it is correct that American fans don’t know me. But I am a boxing superstar, which is why I am coming to fight on American soil on SHOWTIME.
“If British fighters want to become big stars, they definitely need to go to America. It took (Joe) Calzaghe 10-12 years to go there and make a name for himself.
“(But) For me, as a fighter, I need to do this (now). I am 31 and my best years are now. I could stay in England and fight mandatory defenses, but I want to prove to the boxing press and America that I mean business and that I am the real deal.
“I am the defending WBC champ. I’ve never had a hard fight, or struggled. I’m not sure if Taylor moved up because he can’t make the weight at 160. But I am fit and the stronger fighter. He is in for a surprise.
“I don’t want to sound bigheaded, but I can’t see Taylor going the distance with me. I’ve been training too hard. He was one of the best middleweights and junior middles, but he fought small men who wouldn’t go two or three rounds with me.
“I don’t want to disrespect Taylor, but I can’t imagine him doing more than he showed against Jeff Lacy, a fight I turned off after seven rounds.
“By me going to America it shows I want the fight more than him. But we will settle everything in the ring. He was a great middleweight champion, but I am the WBC super middleweight champion and it is my belt on the line.
“I am not insulted by anything he might say. I will fight anybody to prove that Carl Froch is a marquee superstar.
“If I can emulate what Kelly Pavlik, a good fighter was who bigger than Taylor, did, I will be fine. I am going to try and get him out of there soon as soon as I can.’’
JERMAIN TAYLOR: “I’ve been waiting for this fight for a long time. I was ready after I fought Lacy. But now that I have the opportunity, I am going to take advantage of it. I can’t wait for April 25 and I am really looking forward to doing my thing.
“I wasn’t dodging anybody. But I wasn’t going over there. Not that I couldn’t beat him in England–it didn’t matter where we fought–but nobody knew who Carl Froch was.
“To be honest, I didn’t know who Carl Froch was. I would tell people all the time here in the States that I was fighting Carl Froch and everybody was saying, ‘Who?’ It was kind of embarrassing.
“He needed to come here to make a name for himself, so people would know who he was. He can make a name for himself by beating me, or by getting beat up.
“Froch needs me as much as I need him. This is his way to prove that he’s the best.
“I was hungry for the Hopkins’ fights but I think I got too relaxed and too comfortable after them. I was confident against Pavlik but I did some unnecessary things that I should not have been doing. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do in the gym. In the second fight with Pavlik, I had him ready to go but I was too cautious.
“But you learn from mistakes and that makes you a better fighter. This is my way of getting back on track and showing everybody that the fights I lost, it wasn’t me in there.
“This fight means more than the Hopkins’ fights meant to me. I am going to get the belt. I (once) had all the belts. The WBC belt means as much to me as any of the others.
“Since the fight was made, I’ve watched tapes on Carl; he’s a good fighter but he showed me nothing that I can’t handle. Nothing he did impressed me. I think he gets hit too much.
“I was supposed to move up anyway a long time ago, but I just waited. After I lost to Pavlik, I decided to move up. I was always a big middleweight, but I can’t make 160 anymore.
“I wish Froch the best. I hope he makes for a good fight because I plan on winning the belt. He will be leaving the belt here with me. That would make me a two-time world champion.
“I am not nervous. I’ve been through this before and fought at this level for a while.
“There is nothing wrong with trying to make a name for yourself and I give Froch respect for going to another man’s country to do it. But, that’s it.
“I predict a victory and already have decided on the place on my arm where I am going to have ‘Two-time Champion’ tattooed.”
ROBERT MCCRACKEN (Froch’s Trainer): “Taylor is very good, but the differences are that Carl is a little fresher, has a better reach, a higher work rate and the edge in power.
“This is just the start. What we needed to do was get to America, fight a great fight and be victorious. There was no point in us staying here for three or four years. When it is all said and done, the big fights, the money are in America where legends are made.
“We’ll see whose intentions are right on April 25. How special is Carl? He’s always been thought to have the makings of great fighter. You could see that way back when he was an amateur, even when he wasn’t training 100 percent like he does know.
“Carl is a throwback fighter with the kind of power and strength that fighters aren’t used to. He’s awkward, but he learns and always listens. He is 100 percent professional and is not only totally comfortable fighting in America, but looking forward to the occasion. He’s not like other Europeans who have fought there. He makes all the sacrifices.
“Taylor is obviously a great fighter with a couple wins over Bernard Hopkins. But Carl is a special guy and this is his big opportunity.
“It will be a great fight, but there will only be one winner and it will be Carl Froch.’’
OZELL NELSON (Taylor’s Trainer): “Carl Froch is a good fighter who is giving us this opportunity to get the belt and we are looking forward to getting it. Jermain is very dangerous and hungry and wants to make for a good fight on SHOWTIME, who we thank for putting the fight on. Bring it on.
“I know Carl has been saying a lot, but Jermain is a quiet guy who does his thing in the ring. Jermain is a lot bigger, faster and stronger. I see him giving Froch a real good whipping.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Froch. He is strong, has long arms and a good right uppercut. But I just don’t see him getting in a lot of punches and I don’t see him slipping any either. He’s too slow. He’ll be a sitting duck. Jermain will tear his head off with those jabs.
“I am very happy that this fight is happening and looking forward to a good fight. I know in his heart that Froch believes – well, I don’t know that he believes – that he is going to win, but Jermain has nothing on his mind but bad intentions and winning that belt.
“I won’t predict a knockout but only that Jermain will win and there will be a new champion. I hope Froch can survive the deep waters because Jermain might drown him on the beach.’’
MICK HENNESSY (CEO, Hennessy Sports): “I consider this a super fight between two fighters at their peak, at similar ages and with similar records. They both could have gone in different directions, but they didn’t and I applaud them for that. This is truly a special fight between two marquee fighters and it should be treated like one.
“It is common knowledge that this fight doesn’t happen if it doesn’t come to the States because Taylor didn’t want to fight in England. But Carl wanted a big fight and it was his decision to go to the States. He made the fight and is doing what no other English fighter has done, going to the States (for his initial defense). We thank SHOWTIME for really getting behind the best fights.
“We have always believed in Carl and we feel he is the best super middleweight on the planet. We expect (to see) a lot of Brits at this fight.
“Something special is going down on April 25 when Carl Froch wins a sensational fight by knockout and proves that he is on his way to becoming a major star. He is going to really shake things up.’’
The event is being co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Hennessy Sports. Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75 and $50, are on sale at www.mgmatfoxwoods.com, your local Ticket Master and MGM Grand Box Office 866-646-0649.