Fantasy Fights: Steve Collins vs. Carl Froch

By Cain Bradley on July 27, 2018
Fantasy Fights: Steve Collins vs. Carl Froch
Carl Froch was part of the second wave of this incredible renaissance of British Boxing.

A dream fight between two boxers at any stage of their career. This time we clash two super middleweights and see which one comes out greater…

A dream fight between two boxers at any stage of their career. This time we clash two super middleweights and see which one comes out greater. Steve Collins has wins over British legends and looks to add another one when taking on Carl Froch.

Carl Froch was part of the second wave of this incredible renaissance of British Boxing. He was a superb amateur with two ABA titles and a bronze medal at the 2001 World Championships. Carl Froch was trained by Robert McCracken and managed by Mick Hennessy. After a stellar start to his amateur career, he won the Commonwealth and then the British titles in 2004, defeating Charles Adamu and Damon Hague respectively. Over the next few years he would look towards world title level and especially Joe Calzaghe. In 2007, he sent former world champion Robin Reid into retirement. His world title win came in a fascinating battle with Jean Pascal. The two went to war, showing great heart and chins with Froch winning the WBC title. In an unusual move, Froch went abroad for his first title defence and took on the dangerous Jermain Taylor. Froch once again showed his unrelenting will to win when surviving a knockdown and in the final round when down on the cards, scoring a knockout.

Following that win he agreed to take part in Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic. He would edge the unbeaten Andre Dirrell in his home town by a controversial split decision. A bout with Mikkel Kessler was also extraordinarily close but went the other way in Denmark. He qualified for the Super Six final after beating the tough Arthur Abraham and Glen Johnson. He became another victim of the pound for pound king, Andre Ward in the final. Following the completion of the tournament, he was named mandatory to the unbeaten Lucian Bute. As underdog he overwhelmed the Romanian, stopping him in the fifth round. Froch would also stop Yusuf Mack, winning the Boxrec fighter of 2012. He also sought a rematch with conqueror Mikkel Kessler. He would get a measure of revenge by winning a good decision. The final acts of his career came against domestic rival George Groves. The first fight saw him dropped in the first round before he recovered to win by controversial ninth round stoppage. The scorecards all had Groves ahead at the point of stoppage and with Howard Foster possibly calling the ending too early, a rematch was set. 80,000 attended the fight at Wembley, a post war record until the Joshua v Klitschko fight. Leading on the scorecard, Froch landing a superb right hand which The Ring called Knockout of 2014. After that Froch retired and has taken a role as a commentator on Sky Sports.
Steve Collins was an incredible amateur, who won over 20 Irish titles and lost only 8 of his 90 bouts, before moving to America to turn professional. He worked out of the Petronelli Brothers gym in Massachusetts alongside Marvin Hagler. He won the Irish Middleweight Title and then the USABA Title before losing to Mike McCallum as a late replacement for Michael Watson. Supported by a passionate Irish following he run McCallum close. He would go on to lose to Reggie Johnson and Sumbu Kalambay before returning to Belfast and becoming the WBO Middleweight Champion. He stopped Chris Pyatt in five rounds to win the title.

Almost a year later, struggling to make Middleweight, he stepped up to take on Chris Eubank, replacing Ray Close after he failed a brain scan. He became the first man to defeat Chris Eubank, winning a unanimous decision. The two exchanged knockdowns in the second half of the fight but Collins did enough to take Eubank’s unbeaten record. An immediate rematch was ordered and Collins got another win. This time it was a split decision, as the fast pace he set got to Eubank. He defended the title six more times. The most impressive win in those defences came when stopping Nigel Benn twice. The first matchup was stopped as Benn suffered an ankle injury but Collins made sure in the second fight as he engineered a destruction of Benn, stopping him in the sixth. Matchups against Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jr were feted but never materialised. He eventually retired when during a sparring session with Harold Eastman he collapsed.

Carl Froch is the talker of the pair and although he can be irritating, I struggle to see this descending into a war of words before the bout. He enters with the physical advantage, being the natural Super Middleweight, an inch advantage in height and four inches of reach. The man that beat Froch were usually good movers who were hard to hit. Collins showed that he had those skills at Middleweight but up at Super Middleweight he tended to get on the inside more. He begun to rely on his toughness and work rate. Those are two attributes he shared with the Cobra and is tough to see either man getting a huge edge in either of those. Froch was more powerful but the toughness of both men means it’s unlikely that either gets stopped although both have been knocked down. Neither man would be described as incredibly skilled, with styles that were not necessarily pleasing on the eye but certainly delivered.

The early exchanges in this bout would be fascinating as both men try to establish themselves. Froch likes to walk down opponents with a low front hand, choosing instead to lean away from attacks. His unorthodox attacks would likely win a couple of the early rounds. Both men would likely be better off using their boxing skills hoping the other gets drawn into a war, however both men are such warriors, I expect it becomes that kind of fight earlier than some presume. The turning point would likely come with a counter right hand. Froch has shown susceptibility to those over his career and Collins throws a magnificent one. If he can time it well, Froch will find himself on the canvas. Both men are well versed in a war, Collins a better technician on the inside but Froch is better at mid range. Both men go to the body well. I think the added power of Froch will see him potentially begin to drain Collins in what is a truly damaging contest. Froch has an iron will to win and seemed to only get stronger as the rounds went on. I think that is the deciding factor as he takes the final three rounds to snatch the victory from Collins. Collins has regrets, believing he could have boxed a smarter game-plan. He will get a chance to avenge his defeat though as fans are desperate for a rematch after an action packed bout.

Result: Carl Froch defeats Steve Collins by Unanimous Decision with scores of 114-113, and 115-112 twice.

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  1. Chico Salmon 02:19pm, 07/27/2018

    Calzaghe vs. Ward, maybe? Some writers around these parts think Ward is one of the all time greats. lolol. Calzaghe by UD.

  2. Kid Blast 12:10pm, 07/27/2018

    Collins belongs in the HALL. Don’t know why he is not. But Froch would beat him. Simply too much offense.

    Good match-up , however. Collins was very underated.

  3. Chico Salmon 08:09am, 07/27/2018

    Hope you keep doing “Fantasy Fights” articles. Collins fought in what could be described as the “Golden Era” for Super Middleweights. I agree the fight goes the distance, however, I see Collins coming out on top by similar scores. Nice matchup.

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