Froch on a mission to establish himself on the world scene

Updated: April 24, 2009, 9:21 AM ET

Tom Casino/Showtime

For what Carl Froch lacks in experience, he more than makes up for in confidence.

Froch here to make a name for himself

Carl Froch isn't shy and there are a few things the super middleweight titlist wants to get straight.

First, he wants you to know how his name is pronounced. It's Fro-CH, not Fro-CK. Got it?

He also isn't shy about telling you exactly what he believes will happen when he fights former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor on Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET/PT) at the MGM Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Conn.

"I'll establish myself early and let him know that I'm there," Froch said. "I'll land my big, heavy shots and, as usually happens, he'll fade and fall apart in front of my eyes."

Taylor laughs that notion off.

"He's a cocky fighter and I love that because I plan on bringing all that down," Taylor said. "He doesn't know what he's getting himself into and I'm going to teach him."

Froch certainly doesn't lack for confidence. Proof of that is the 31-year-old's willingness to come to America from his native England to make the first defense of the vacant belt he won in December in a rousing distance battle with Jean Pascal.

British stars such as Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton and Naseem Hamed didn't come to America until they had already found fame and fortune at home. Froch, however, wants to establish himself on the world scene as quickly as possible.

"For me it's not a big deal coming to America. I boxed in America once before," he said of a 2005 fight in California. "Traveling for me is not a problem. Obviously, to come and establish myself in the States, this is what I need to do. I need to come to America and showcase my talents on Showtime. I want to establish myself on American soil. That's what this fight is for. I'll be defending my title in style.

"I hope he's ready for the fight of his life because I know I am. He wants to know who the Froch is Froch, well I've left no stone unturned. This is my chance to make a real statement here in America and believe me, after my hand has been raised on Saturday night, Jermain Taylor will rue the day he ever heard my name."

Carl Froch

Tom Casino/Showtime

Carl Froch has no qualms about fighting in America.

Showtime boxing chief Ken Hershman, who bent over backward to make this fight happen on his network even though Taylor has spent virtually his entire career on HBO, gave credit to Froch and his team for their willingness to come to the U.S.

"Froch and [promoter] Mick Hennessy are the champs here. They didn't have to come over here and take this fight," Hershman said. "My hat is off to them for coming here and doing this. There are not many fighters that would come over here and do this."

Although Froch -- who has never been knocked down as a pro or amateur -- is undefeated and claimed a 168-pound belt in his last fight, he hasn't faced nearly the level of competition Taylor (28-2-1, 17 KOs) has. At middleweight, he twice beat Bernard Hopkins and fought to a draw with a prime Winky Wright before losing twice in a row to Kelly Pavlik.

Froch (24-0, 19 KOs) didn't sound like he was much interested in Taylor's accomplishments.

"Jermain seems very confident, talking about being back and [being] No. 1, but make no mistake. This is my belt. I am the champion. I am undefeated," said Froch, who spent the end of his training in Canada sparring with his old rival Pascal. "Only a few warriors have gone the distance with me. Everyone else hasn't been able to stay in there.

"Calzaghe didn't want to fight me. When I became the champion it was vacant and you don't get as much respect that way for some reason. But I am the WBC super middleweight champion and come Sunday morning Jermain Taylor will be disappointed that he doesn't have the belt. I'm showing the Americans what 'The Cobra' is made of."

In the co-feature, super middleweights Allan Green (27-1, 19 KOs) and Carlos De Leon Jr. (21-2-2, 14 KOs) meet in a 10-rounder with the winner putting himself in good position to eventually face the main event victor.

After Taylor, 30, lost on points in the rematch with Pavlik 14 months ago, he made the full-time move to super middleweight and outclassed 2000 Olympic teammate and ex-titleholder Jeff Lacy in November to become Froch's mandatory challenger.

Taylor has sounded more excited about boxing for this fight than he has in recent bouts.

"I have found the hunger again and it took fighting Carl for the belt to get it back. If I catch him he's going to sleep," said Taylor, the slight favorite. "At 168 I'm more focused on boxing, because I don't have to worry about making weight. This fight I want to show the doubters. I want to make a statement."

Added Taylor promoter Lou DiBella: "Froch is a worthy champion who has already proven that he can be exciting in the ring. He's going to try and make sure that everybody in the world knows how to pronounce his name."

Rigondeaux going pro

Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Cuban Olympic bantamweight gold medalist (2000 and 2004) who defected in February, is preparing to make his professional debut May 22 in Miami on "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2). The 28-year-old southpaw is one of the most decorated amateurs in history, compiling two separate streaks of 200-plus wins to go with his two gold medals.

Guillermo Rigondeaux

AP Photo/Murad Sezer

Time to get paid: Guillermo Rigondeaux is making the leap to the professional ranks.

He is finalizing a promotional agreement with Arena USA, director of boxing operations Luis DeCubas told ESPN.com. DeCubas has vast experience with Cuban fighters and "to me, he is the greatest Cuban amateur ever and maybe the greatest amateur period in the history of boxing. He's like a Pernell Whitaker that can punch with either hand."

Rigondeaux, who will box professionally at junior featherweight, idolizes Whitaker, who will be part of his training team, DeCubas said.

Rigondeaux hasn't boxed since a failed attempt to defect during the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil. He was caught, returned to Cuba and kicked off the team. Despite all the amateur fights and long layoff, DeCubas believes he'll be a top pro.

"He's had some time off and that sometimes helps a fighter," DeCubas said. "He's just a terrific fighter."

Gamboa-Caballero under discussion

Once before representatives for rising featherweight star Yuriorkis Gamboa and unified junior featherweight titlist Celestino Caballero talked about them fighting. However, they went their separate ways as Caballero pursued other big names in his division and Gamboa went after a belt in his. Now, they're back on a path to each other.

Caballero promoter Leon Margules of Seminole Warriors Boxing told ESPN.com that he and Ahmet Öner of Arena-Box Promotions are working on the fight.

"We tried to make to make it once before, but Caballero really wanted to get a fight with Juan Manuel Lopez or Israel Vazquez or Rafael Marquez," Margules said. "But now it's clear they are not going to fight him. So he's willing to go to 126 after he defends his title [April 30 against mandatory challenger Jeffrey Mathebula] to fight Gamboa, now that Gamboa has a title."

Yuriorkis Gamboa

Javiel Centeno/Fightwireimages.com

A hot commodity: Celestino Caballero has his sights set on Yuriorkis Gamboa, left.

Gamboa (15-0, 13 KOs), the electrifying 2004 Cuban Olympic gold medalist, ripped through Jose "Cheo" Rojas last Friday to claim a vacant interim belt. Rojas knocked out Panama's Caballero (31-2, 22 KOs) in three rounds in 2003.

Margules said he and Öner can easily make a deal.

"We both say let's do the fight and our fighters will do the fight," Margules said. "If we can find a premium network to buy it, we're doing the fight. I have a call in to Showtime and I have spoken to Luis [Barragan] at HBO and HBO is interested. It's a terrific fight. It's another one of those fights that is what 'Boxing After Dark' is about. Gamboa is this hot, young star HBO includes in its pieces about up-and-coming guys and Caballero is a unified world champion."

Margules and Öner would like to do the fight between July and September at the Hard Rock resort in Hollywood, Fla. If neither network buys the fight, Margules said he's talked to Irish promoter Brian Peters about matching Caballero in Ireland with Bernard Dunne, who recently claimed a junior featherweight belt via 11th-round knockout of Ricardo Cordoba in a March 21 fight of the year candidate.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.


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