Undefeated Carl Froch, a household name in his native England, looks to enhance his reputation in America when he defends his World Boxing Council (WBC) super middleweight title against Jermain Taylor, a former undisputed middleweight champ and one of the most highly regarded and recognizable fighters of this generation, in a world championship fight on Saturday, April 25, live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). 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. 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 and is the only boxer to twice defeat future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins. When he outpointed Hopkins the first time, Taylor became 160-pound world champion in the WBC, World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organization (WBO).
Both fighters took part in a teleconference call with media members on Tuesday. Highlights from the call follow:
“I believe this to be a genuine super fight. It’s one of the very best fights in world boxing right now. (We have) two fighters a similar age at the absolute peak of their powers. I would like to congratulate both fighters because, in these days, there are a lot of major fights being avoided and both of these fighters have stepped up to the fight.
“I genuinely believe that Carl is the best super middleweight on the planet. I think he’s going to prove that on April 25. One thing Carl brings to the table is he is never, ever in a dull fight. He brings the heat and is relentless.
“I believe Jermain is going to feel heat like he’s never felt before. We’re not coming to America to make up the numbers. We’re coming for Carl to launch himself in a big way and you’re going to see something very special on April 25.”
“I want to thank SHOWTIME. I think Ken Hershman championed the fight and it’s happening because he understood the significance of this fight and how important it was for Jermain to have another shot at a world title. Carl Froch is a worthy champion who has already proven that he can be exciting in the ring. He’s going to try and come over and make sure that everybody in the world knows how to pronounce his name (It’s pronounced Fro-CH, not Fro-CK).”
“For me it’s not a big deal coming to America. I boxed in America once before. Traveling for me is not a problem. Obviously, to come and establish myself in the States, this is what I need to do. I need to come to America and showcase my talents on SHOWTIME. That’s the reason I’m coming over here. I want to establish myself on American soil. That’s what this fight is for. I’ll be coming over there and defending my title in style.”
“I’m looking forward to the fight. I’m just ready to fight.”
Carl on the keys to the fight:
“The key to winning this fight is for me to establish myself early on and let Jermain know that I’m there. I don’t want to take a step backward so it looks like it will be an exciting fight. It really does. But I’ll still do my thing landing the big, heavy shots and I think the usual thing will happen and my opponent will start to fade and fall apart in front of my very eyes. Then I’ll start to showcase my skills even more.”
Jermain on concerns about moving from 160-168?
“I’m not worried about his strength. He’s a strong fighter, so what? I’ll just go in there and box the hell out of him.”
“Jermain Taylor wanted to win the WBC 168-pound title. Carl had it and SHOWTIME loves the fight and was willing to make it one of their premier fights of the year. ”
Froch on if Taylor is his toughest opponent:
“You could say that Jermain Taylor is the biggest fighter I’m going to box until this point. But, how would you define a great fighter? Jean Pascal was 26 years old, hungry and unbeaten. He was a hungry, young talented fighter coming to put it all on the line. He didn’t know what it was like to lose. I’d say that was a big fight for me for the title and a fight that I won convincingly in an exciting matchup.
“It’s easy to say that I haven’t fought anybody. But that’s what boxing is about. Like Mick said earlier, we’ve got two fighters here who are both putting it all on the line. We’re both of a similar age. We’re both on the top of our careers. We’re both fit and hungry. He wants my belt? I don’t want him to take my belt. It’s going to be a fabulous fight. I’ve been in 24 fights, I’m unbeaten, I haven’t been in any trouble. I’m coming to this fight confident that I’m taking my belt home with me. No problems.”
Taylor on Froch’s level of confidence:
“I don’t worry about it. With the opponents he’s fought, of course he’s going to be confident. He doesn’t know how to lose yet and I’m going to teach him.”
Froch concerned that he is the underdog?
“I am surprised because for my whole career I’ve always been a massive favorite. I’ve never been an underdog. Odds don’t mean anything as far as I’m concerned because I’m not a gambling man. But, I’m not surprised. The American media doesn’t necessarily know who Carl Froch is in terms of big-time boxing. This is why I’m going over there with my title to defend against such a top name as Jermain Taylor. Until I do that, then the odds probably won’t be stacked in my favor. I don’t mind being the underdog.”
Froch on if it will be a tough fight:
“There’s no such thing as an easy fight. I’ve been with awkward opponents….I’ve had my fair share of difficult fights. But, honestly, I’ve never been in a hard fight. What I mean is, I’ve never been in a fight where I didn’t feel that I was in control, I wasn’t dominating and didn’t think I was going to win.”
Froch on if he thought Taylor was trying to duck him:
“He’s good fighter. He’s obviously a confident man and he means business. He’s got what they call ‘Bad Intentions.’ He had absolutely no intentions of coming to England and fighting the Cobra, that’s for sure. You can take what you want from that, but I take it as he didn’t fancy to fight. I’m not going to say he didn’t want to fight because he signed up for the fight.”
Taylor on why he took the fight:
“It’s all about being a champion. All these other fights mean nothing until you get these belts back. As far as me going over there…Going over there? For what? I mean who is he? I didn’t even know who he was until now. So I wasn’t going over there. He needs to come over here.”
Froch on his style:
“My style is very rangy, very fast. I’m powerful. I can box out of range and not get hit. I can fight in close and I’m a puncher with the best of them. Styles make fights, well I adapt to my opponents. It’s hard to describe my style except for it’s a winning style. Whatever Jermain Taylor brings, I will be reacting in a positive way for me to win.”
Taylor on Froch’s style:
“He’s rangy. He moves and fights with a lot of strength. I don’t think he’s fast though. He tries to get you on a break. I think he’s too slow. The guy doesn’t know how to lose. So someone has to teach him how to lose. I have to break him down.”
Froch on if the fight will be easy:
“I feel like I will make the fight as easy as I can. I know what to do to give myself an easy night. If Plan A isn’t working then I’ll but Plan B together and it will be destructive, trust me.”
Taylor on impressing the fans:
“I just know that hard work pays off. Those few fights I lost, I not only let myself down, I let my fans down; I let my hometown down. I just want to get these belts back and all of it will be erased. Now, I have a chance to do that and I’m going to take it. I’m Arkansas Razorback until the day I die. I have another chance to come back and be champion. It’s amazing. That’s what I love about boxing because I’m never out of it. Everything I’ve done in the past will be erased. I’m not worried about anything.”
Froch on the problems Jermain presents for him:
“I’m struggling to find major problems. I will say he’s very experienced against top level (opposition). He hasn’t been dominant at the world level. He’s had a couple of split decisions, he’s had a draw. I’m not worried. I’m really not. I’m just looking forward to going out there and doing what I do best. The fitness is there. The strength is there. I just know that I need to come there and put my work together.”
Taylor on Froch’s comment:
“He’s a cocky fighter and I love that because I plan on bringing all that down. He doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into and I’m going to teach him.”
Froch when asked if he could knock Taylor out:
“I’m the bigger, stronger man. Jermain Taylor has not stopped anybody for four years. But don’t get me wrong, he’s a good fighter. He thinks he’s fast, but I don’t know what he thinks his speed is going to do to me. I’ve fought fast fighters.
“I’m not giving him any disrespect or trying to be cheeky. I’m in no way cocky. I’m quite a very level headed man. I’m just very confident and believe in myself.
“Fact of the matter is, he’s fought most of his career at middleweight and I’m a big, strong super middleweight. And that can very well be the deciding factor. When I start connecting with the right hand on the jaw section there will probably be some damage done.”
Taylor on Froch’s size:
“I’m not worried about his power at all. As far as him never being on the floor before, there’s a first time for everything. He gets hit a lot. His defense is his head. He stands right there.”
Taylor on how serious he is taking on Froch:
“At the end of the day, he’s still champion. It doesn’t matter who knows him or who doesn’t. At the end of the day, he’s still got the belt. So, of course, I’m taking it seriously. I haven’t trained this hard in a long time. Those fights he was looking at me getting tired. You know what? Those are the past. Here it is. I got a chance to get those belts back and I’m going to take it. This is the best fight that you’re going to see me fight in my life.
“If he’s bigger, so what? It doesn’t mean anything as long as I’m boxing and moving.”
Taylor on what he respects about Froch:
“I just respect the fact that he has the belts. I think he’s way too cocky and he doesn’t know how to lose. He has to learn how to lose.”
DiBella on why Taylor is taking on Froch:
“When has Jermain Taylor ever fought an easy fighter? I think Jermain has always reached out for a challenge and always wanted to fight someone who meant something to him. He wasn’t familiar with Carl’s name, but I think Jermain agrees with what Carl said earlier in that he views the WBC belt as the biggest prize and that he wanted to get that belt back. That’s why this fight is happening.”
“Winners don’t need to learn how to lose and Carl Froch is certainly not going to learn how to lose on April 25. It’s not in his makeup. Showtime really knows their business and knows there fights because they picked a hell of a one right here.”
“Stylistically, this can’t be a bad fight. This is a Fight of the Year candidate waiting to happen. I’m confident in my fighter and know he is going to get a belt again. This fight is can’t miss and Ken Hershman is going to look like a genius after this fight when Jermain Taylor wins a very hard fought fight over former world champion Carl Froch.”
“I want to thank SHOWTIME for coming on board for this fight. I think they’ll be thanking me and Jermain Taylor after the fight because it’s going to be one hell of a fight.”
“I’m just looking forward to the fight. I’ve been training in Miami hard. I’m training harder than I’ve ever trained before. I’m looking forward to getting these belts back. I’ve been missing them.”
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will air live from MGM Grand Theater at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods. The fight card is being co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Hennessy Sports. Tickets are on sale now and priced at $200, $100, $75 and $50. Tickets are available at www.mgmatfoxwoods.com, your local Ticket Master and MGM Grand Box Office 866-646-0649.