January 19th, 2005 – by Tomás Rohan
British and Commonwealth super middleweight Champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch feels that Brian Magee is ducking him. The unbeaten Nottingham fighter has never been backward in coming forward and blasted Magee in a press release claiming that the Belfast man has an “aversion strategy” where Froch is concerned and has promised to knock Magee out.
Former IBO title holder Magee was recently made the mandatory challenger for Froch’s Lonsdale belt but he has his eyes on a European title shot and is not concerned with a bid for Froch’s title. Magee’s manager Pat Magee (no relation) told the BBC, “”He could fight Carl Froch in the future but it is not on Brian’s agenda at the moment.”
Top of that agenda is a spring challenge for the European title. Current champ Rudy Markussen has his first defence scheduled for February 12th in Berlin when he takes on Ukrainian Vitali Tsypko in a fight that also doubles as an eliminator for the IBF crown held by Jeff Lacy. Magee is currently rated number 4 by the European Boxing Union and is happy to take on the winner of that contest before the summer.
Given that the Markussen – Tsypko is an eliminator there is also the possibility that the winner may vacate the European title going into a World title challenge with Lacy which would leave Magee to contest the vacant belt with another contender. Either way the Lisburn born southpaw feels that the European title offers a more direct route back to World title contention that a fight with Froch.
Froch though insists that Magee is running scared. Currently in Florida helping stable mate Howard Eastman ahead of his fight with Bernard Hopkins on February 19th Froch didn’t hold his punches in launching a tirade against Magee. “I knocked on the doors of Magee and (Robin) Reid last year but they pretended they weren’t in. If potential challengers want to avoid me, what more can I do? My promoter has done everything he can to allow me to challenge and defend my titles against quality opposition. But nobody wants a piece of me.”
“I think the Board recognised this and that’s why they made the match with Magee”, continued Froch. “I’d love this fight as my first defence. It would be tough, but I’d win it in style. I can promise you I’ll knock him out – clean. He can’t live with me. I’m the best in Britain, I’m the best in the Commonwealth and I’ll be the best in Europe and then the World. I say that with a 100%, cast-iron guarantee. Throughout my career all I’ve wanted to do is prove I’m the real deal. With the Board’s help, I’ll take Magee now, and I’ll have Reid afterwards.”
Froch is unimpressed at Magee’s European plans and feels he should deal with matters closer to home first. “I’ve heard they are talking about Magee fighting for the European title either against champion Rudy Markussen or a vacant challenge but fighting for the European title before beating your domestic rivals proves nothing. The only reason he would take this route is to avoid me and prolong his career. Magee isn’t mandatory or even the number one for the European so why talk about ‘what-ifs’ and ‘could-bes’. It’s ridiculous. He’s got a mandatory challenge sitting waiting here, so what’s with the aversion strategy? Let’s just get it on.”
“If the rumours are true, Magee is demonstrating everything that’s wrong with boxing in the UK. Why doesn’t anyone want to prove they are the best anymore? Is it only Hennessy Sports fighters that step up? It’s funny how certain boxers get vocal about potential fights and what they want to achieve in their careers, yet when it gets put on them, like Magee now, they take a vow of silence and go into hiding.
“I’m surprised he gets any public support. If he swerves this fight, he swerves it because he knows I’ll expose him.”
“I nearly choked on my tea when I saw him ranked number 14 by the WBC. Give me the opportunity and I’ll knock him down the rankings, no way should he be higher than me! I’ll give him the opportunity to be a man and step up to the challenge. If he does that, I’ll tip my hat to him. If not, I’m tempted to put an advertisement in the Belfast Telegraph and explain to his fellow countrymen what the real Brian Magee is all about. The choice is his!”