Five defining fights of Carl Froch's career

Ahead of his bout with George Groves at Wembley on Saturday night, Sports Mole takes a look at five fights that stand out in Carl Froch's career.

IBF and WBA super-middleweight champion Carl Froch will go into his highly-anticipated Wembley showdown with George Groves on Saturday night keen to restore order at the top of the 168-pound rankings in Great Britain.

Despite stopping Groves in the ninth round of their first contest in November, Froch has been heavily criticised for his performance in Manchester and the 36-year-old will see their mammoth encounter in North London at the weekend as an opportunity to strengthen his legacy in the sport.

Below, Sports Mole looks back at some of the matches that have seen the Nottingham fighter become one of the most successful world champions that Great Britain has ever produced.

1. Jean Pascal

After blasting his way through the first 23 fights of his career, Froch was handed the chance to compete for the vacant WBC title at the end of 2008 against Canadian Jean Pascal.

Pascal was also going into the Nottingham contest unbeaten in 20-plus matches, and both men showed their attacking capabilities and granite-like chins during several explosive exchanges at the beginning of the bout.

Froch was always ahead on the scorecards, but Pascal remained a threat throughout the middle rounds and the North American rocked the Brit with a couple of clubbing blows to the head.

It was Froch who ended the stronger, though, and while Pascal remained game to make it to the final bell, Froch deserved the unanimous verdict that saw him win the world title for the first time.

2. Mikkel Kessler

Froch struggled past Andre Dirrell and Jermain Taylor in his following two contests, and things weren't about to get easier for the world champion when he went up against Mikkel Kessler in Denmark as part of the super-middleweight Super Six tournament.

Mikkel Kessler of Denmark (L) lands a left cross on Carl Froch of England during their Super Six WBC Super Middleweight title fight on April 24, 2010© Getty Images

Kessler hadn't performed at his best in his previous outing against Andre Ward, but the Dane displayed a determination in the first few rounds that showed that he was eager to regain his standing as one of the best fighters in the division.

Froch responded before the midway point, but from then onwards, Kessler began to dictate proceedings and he stiffened the champion in the eighth.

The Brit rallied during the final couple of rounds, but Kessler's chin held up to see him dethrone Froch on points while also inflicting the first professional loss of Froch's career.

3. Lucien Bute

After suffering a second defeat to Andre Ward, Froch went into his fight with Lucien Bute acknowledging that he would retire from boxing if he was unable to overcome the challenge of the unbeaten Canadian.

Froch performed below his best in Atlantic City, but in familiar surroundings in Nottingham, the 'Cobra' delivered one of the displays of his life as he stopped Bute in the fifth round.

Carl Froch of Britain celebrates after beating Lucian Bute of Romania during their IBF World Super Middleweight Title boxing match in Nottingham central England on May 26, 2012© Getty Images

After taking the first two stanzas, Froch unleashed a barrage of punches in the third that left Bute having to hang on until the bell, and the challenger repeated the damage in the fourth.

The encounter ended in the fifth when Froch battered Bute into submission in the corner, and although the referee made the count, Bute's corner threw in the towel to allow Froch to become champion of the world once again.

4. Mikkel Kessler II

After a routine victory over Yusaf Mack, Froch revealed that he was eager to secure a rematch with Kessler, and the pair agreed to face each other for a second time at London's O2 Arena.

Both men were putting their versions of the world title on the line, and it was the IBF holder Froch who dominated the opening exchanges in front of a sell-out crowd.

Carl Froch of England in action with Mikkel Kessler of Denmark during their Super Middleweight Unification bout at the O2 Arena on May 25, 2013 © Getty Images

However, Kessler showed his class in the fifth before Froch responded powerfully between rounds six to 10 to re-establish control and his Danish opponent was aware that he required a stoppage during the final six minutes.

Kessler found success with one huge shot that wobbled Froch's legs, but the Brit finished strongly before the final bell to secure a unanimous points win.

5. George Groves

In the aftermath of his win over Kessler, Froch was quick to call out Andre Ward, but after a second clash failed to materialise, George Groves was given a chance to face the unified titlist after being named the IBF's mandatory challenger.

Froch was the clear favourite to prevail against the largely-untested Hammersmith combatant, but Groves shocked the boxing world by dropping Froch with a huge right hand at the end of the opening round.

Carl Froch celebrates victory over George Groves after their IBF & WBA World Super Middleweight Title fight on November 23, 2013© Getty Images

The champion was struggling to deal with the speed of Groves, and there was an argument for the younger fighter to be given each of the first six rounds on the judges' scorecards.

However, after gradually working his way back into the contest, Froch found success in the ninth round which resulted in referee Howard Foster calling off the fight, despite the attempts of Groves to fire back at his opponent.

Carl Froch after his win over Yusaf Mack on November 17, 2012
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