ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Before Saturday night, Carl Froch talked about wanting to be a boxer against Glen Johnson, but Johnson gave him no choice but to find his inner brawler. Matched against the ultra-tough Jamaican, Froch was forced to be ultra-tough himself. As a result, the fans got a dramatic, action-packed bout on Showtime, and Froch got himself a majority decision and a ticket to the finale of the network’s compelling super middleweight tournament.
It was a tremendously difficult fight to score. Like one of the judges, I scored it a draw. But more ringside press scored it for Froch, overall. My sense is that people think Froch landed more shots than he did, with Johnson catching a lot of punches on his gloves. But Johnson fights are always a bitch to figure out on the scorecards. The ultimate result was fair.
Froch started too slow, and with very little happening, Johnson was the one coming forward and connecting a little bit more. But Froch began to turn it on as the fight proceeded. In some of the rounds, Johnson won on my card with big, chopping right hands that were the most eye-catching of the whole fight. But Froch was the one feeling it in the later rounds, gaining control of distance and outworking the 42-year-old man.
It might or might not have been the best fight of the tournament; I thought Froch-Mikkel Kessler was a little bit better. But it was a really excellent battle, with momentum swings, strategic intrigue and back-and-forth trading. If this was Johnson’s last stand — and I would never call it that, because Johnson has more lives than just about anyone in boxing — then it was a heroic one. Froch showed, once more, what heart he has, and maybe now he’ll get overdue universal top-10 pound-for-pound props. And next he gets to face Andre Ward in the Super Six tournament finale — that figures as another great scrap, with a very attractive trophy and bragging rights on the line for an event that, for all its troubles, Showtime never abandoned. After tonight, everyone should be happy about that.