Ahead of this weekend's highly-anticipated rematch between Tony Bellew & David Haye, we sat down with partypoker ambassador Carl Froch to talk through his thoughts on the fight, Wilder's $50M offer to Anthony Joshua, the return of Tyson Fury and how he thinks he'd get on in a heads-up match between himself and former promoter Eddie Hearn!
Q: Firstly Carl, who wins the Bellew vs Haye rematch?
Carl: It's difficult for me to pick a winner as initially I thought that Bellew had enough to win but I didn't quite know that he'd be able to withstand the power of David Haye and the first fight made me realise that Tony's big enough, strong enough and tough enough to cope with David Haye. But this is a 'past his best' David Haye and how long can the punishment keep coming from David Haye? I know his Achilles tendon ruptured, which is a totally debilitating injury but he can still give Tony a bit of trouble and that's what makes the fight so close for me. It's almost impossible to pick a winner!
Q: Do you really think that it's a proper coinflip like AK vs QQ in poker?
Carl: I do, because if Haye's body holds up, which it has done in camp, then he's got a real chance. That's unless he's masking something like he did before. I'm convinced he had an ankle injury before he got into the ring last time as he was seen sneaking off to some specialist in Germany. So if his body holds out, which is a big if, as a 37 year-old on the back of all the operations he's had, you just never know if he's going to fall apart at anytime during the fight.
If Haye's body does last the full 12 rounds then I think this fight could go either way on points. David Haye won't be going for the early knockout as he knows he hasn't got a one-punch knockout against Bellew at this weight. It all comes down to who wants it more and I've got a feeling that David Haye really wants this and really needs this. That extra desire is tipping me towards Haye although it's still a 50/50 fight. I think the smart money is on it going the distance and then it's all down to the judges as we know.
Bellew vs Haye
Q: If Haye wins, what's the next step for the former Heavyweight champion? Can he jump in with the big boys or does he need a couple of more fights?
Carl: I don't think he can have a couple more fights as his body won't get through the camp. The hardest part of boxing is the training camp. The punishment you have to put yourself through to get fit is absolutely ridiculous so if he beats Tony Bellew then he has to go straight for a big fight. Who does he fight? I don't know! Does he get a fight with Wilder? Probably not. Will he get a fight with Anthony Joshua? I'm not so sure anyone would take that seriously unless he absolutely obliterates Bellew. The winner of this fight has got a chance to do something at Heavyweight but both of them are a bit too small to beat the likes of Wilder and Joshua.
Q: What do you make of Deontay Wilder's $50m offer to Anthony Joshua and what chance do you give it of happening this year?
Carl: Well, $50m is a good offer and I think that Eddie Hearn is right to go over there and find out the credentials behind it to substantiate the offer and see where the money's coming from. If it's all legit then I think they'll take it and they should do! Not only is it $50m but it's for the WBC world title, the green and gold belt, which will make Anthony Joshua the undisputed champion!
Q: Who wins the fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder?
Carl: I think either guy has a real chance. Wilder will be looking for the early KO and although he's got a very unconventional style, he can cause AJ a lot of problems. However, Joshua could also exploit the weaknesses of Wilder and actually make it quite a comfortable night for himself. If Wilder connects he'll hurt him, but if AJ's smart then he'll make him miss and run out an easy winner. It's another really tough one to call but I'm going to go with AJ. I like him and he's coached by my former trainer Rob McCracken.
Q: One other Heavyweight who's back in the mix is Tyson Fury who makes his comeback in just over a month's time. Where does he sit amongst the top heavyweights that are currently dominating the sport?
Carl: I can't answer that question until I see him box at some kind of level. He's had well over two year out of the ring of course and nobody knows how he'll respond physically and mentally to getting back into the ring. I can't see him jumping back in with a Joshua, Wilder or any top heavyweight anytime soon but it's great to have him back in the mix. I don't think he'll ever get back to his absolute best but if he can get somewhere near it, then he's going to be a nightmare for any of the top heavyweights.
Q: Out of all the heavyweights we've just spoken about, who would make the best poker pro and why?
Carl: I'd love to play Tyson Fury at poker. His style would be brilliant to play against. His personality would be incredibly hard to read and it would definitely be an exciting game. He would be very unpredictable and very dangerous to play against as you've never quite know what he was going to do next! But at the same time you can use that to your advantage. If you've got good cards then you can exploit him into making a few rash decisions.
Q: Your former promoter Eddie Hearn used to work on the poker circuit and fancies himself as a bit of a pro, how would you rate your chances against him in a heads-up match?
Carl: I think I'm too experienced for him now. I've improved a lot recently and give me four or five hours with Eddie Hearn and I'd absolutely take him to the cleaners! I'm officially calling him out! partypoker can put it together, we'll meet up at Dusk 'til Dawn in Nottingham for a heads-up match and we'll give the winnings to charity.
Q: How are you feeling ahead of this Sunday's POWERFEST tournament?
Carl: I've been playing very well of late. My online game has improved a lot recently and I'm starting to pick up a few online tells. I've been getting a lot of valuable experience recently, been running deep in a few tournaments, finishing Top 15, Top 10 sometimes in tournaments. I've not quite had the big win yet but I can feel it coming and should hopefully only be a matter of time!
Q: It's been another disappointing season for your club Nottingham Forest this season. Do you think that they can turn it around next season?
Carl: I'm hoping we do because we're a much bigger club than the Championship. We had such a good time in the late 70s and early 80s with Brian Clough and it's not nice at the minute being a Forest fan. We have a few games where it looks like we're playing well and the manager's got us going in the right direction and then we go and lose 3-0 at home to someone like Preston and it's back to square one again.
Q: Thanks very much Carl, look forward to seeing you on Saturday for the fight and good luck in POWERFEST on partypoker this Sunday!
Carl: Cheers mate, should be a great fight and hopefully an even better tournament for me on Sunday!
For a chance to knockout Carl Froch in POWERFEST with partypoker on Sunday 6 May 2018, visit: http://po.st/POWERFEST