by Kiearn Mulvaney
In the immediate aftermath of his first, back-and-forth, give-and-take tussle with Mikkel Kessler, before the rationalization and defiance kicked back in, Carl Froch’s eyes told the story. So too did his words.
Appearing uncharacteristically downcast, the preternaturally super-confident Englishman looked at girlfriend Rachel Cordingly as the two embraced in the ring.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
Cordingley’s response – a disbelieving “What?” – was more than the effort by a loving partner to be consoling; it was a genuine and legitimate expression of disbelief that, after 12 rounds of Herculean effort, Froch could possibly feel that, win or lose, he had failed in any possible way.
The judges’ scorecards provided the explanation for Froch’s apology: Kessler had won a unanimous decision. But it had been a truly titanic battle, one that most neutral observers considered to be closer to the 115-113 card of Guido Cavellari than Roger Tilleman’s 117-111. As the disappointment ebbed, Froch’s swagger ultimately returned with the assertion that had the fight been in England rather than Kessler’s Denmark, the result might have been different.
He has the opportunity to put that theory to the test on May 25 when, three years after their initial encounter, super-middleweights Froch and Kessler clash again, this time in London, on HBO World Championship Boxing.