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Carl Froch ordered by IBF to fight Adonis Stevenson

British World Boxing Council super middleweight title holder

British World Boxing Council super middleweight title holder Carl Froch does push ups after a workout at Trinity Gym in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011. Froch will face Andre Ward Saturday, Dec. 17, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Credit: AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It’s been noted for many years now that the championship belts don’t mean as much as they used to. Fighters continually pass up chances to win a belt for high profile fights.

Enter IBF super middleweight champion Carl Froch (30-2, 22 KOs). Froch was in negotiations to fight WBA champion Mikkel Kessler. Since talks with Kessler have reportedly broken down, the IBF has ordered Froch to take on the mandatory challenger Adonis Stevenson (19-1, 16 KOs).

Fight fans (British fight fans in particular) will not be happy with this. Froch and Kessler are two big time names in Europe. The idea of Froch fighting Stevenson instead of Kessler won’t be a popular one.

Froch has until January 15 to take the fight. Froch could vacate the belt and continue to pursue a fight with Kessler. He could also wait until the deadline and let the fight go to a purse bid.

Is this what boxing has come down to? The sanctioning bodies pulling the strings and ruining big fights.

Obviously, Stevenson welcomes the chance to take on a fighter of Froch’s caliber and the opportunity to win a major belt. And he should take advantage of it because under normal circumstances he’d have to wait a lot longer.

"I'm finally realizing my goal of a world championship fight, facing a great champion like Carl Froch," Stevenson said. "I know he's had great victories during his career, particularly against two other Quebec fighters, Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute, but I have all of the tools needed to emerge victorious in a great fight.”

Making matters worse for Froch is that Stevenson’s promoters want the fight to take place in Quebec. If there were ever a time that a champion should put his foot down and dictate where a fight should take place, it’s now. Froch has too much of a track record to have to chase a challenger to another continent.

“I know Froch's promoter, Eddie Hearn, wants this fight to take place in England, and he has also sent an interesting offer for a date in May,” said Group Yvon Michel (GYM) president Yvon Michel. “From our side, we will rally all of Quebec Nation to get behind us and try to convince the Super Six finalist to come here to defend his crown in March or April. We have also sent a very generous offer for this purpose. He had the opportunity to beat Pascal and Bute at his home in Nottingham. Isn't it his turn to visit us in Quebec?"

If the Jan. 15 deadline is not met, the fight goes to a purse bid. If GYM wins, the fight will be in Quebec.

Right now, thanks to IBF pressure, the ball is in Froch’s court.

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