George Groves has paid a qualified tribute to the retiring Carl Froch, lauding him as a "tough, strong man" but questioning whether he would have been good enough to hold his own against previous British super-middleweight greats.
Groves and Froch did not hide their dislike for each other in the build-up to their two big bouts and the controversial manner of the stoppage in their first fight clearly still rankles with the Londoner.
"Carl Froch was a tough, strong man, very tough, I don't know how he would have got on with those guys," Groves told Sky Sports News.
"I don't think he'd have beaten Calzaghe, Calzaghe would have been too quick for him. Him and Nigel Benn would have been an out-and-out war. Benn has a bit more skill and class about him but that would have been a great fight to watch.
"He's a tough man to beat, Carl. Sometimes you think you've got him and then a bit of controversy gets in the way. Sometimes you're boxing really well, you're in full control, and one punch can change a fight. There's plenty of fights of Carl Froch's that I've watched and thought 'he's losing this', or 'he's not going to get the win', and he ends up getting the win.
And Groves, who has won two straight bouts since his second loss to Froch in May last year, said he hoped the pair could put their differences aside now that Froch had hung up his gloves.
"We don't need to be friends of course: I've got friends. But there's a rivalry when you're going to box and now that he's no longer a fighter that rivalry isn't there."
Carl Froch thinks that he would have beaten Joe Calzaghe had the fight he wanted with the Welshman happened.
In a revealing documentary to be screened on ITV4, Froch says that he thinks Calzaghe wouldn't agree to the fight as he knew he would have lost.
The two never went head-to-head despite Froch repeatedly calling for the fight.
"That was a fight I wanted," Froch told ITV Sport. "He was WBC champion, everyone knew who he was. It was a massive fight back then - I think it would still be a big fight now. I think Joe Calzaghe knew that I was going to beat him."
Froch's coach, Rob McCracken, added: "He (Calzaghe) didn't see it as a big enough fight at the time, obviously Carl and we saw it differently."
Barry McGuigan says it was a shame the fight never took place: "Calzaghe might have been too clever for him, but it would have been a hell of a fight, and it's a pity that didn't happen."
Watch a sneak preview of the show in the video player above.
- Watch Carl Froch: Sports Life Stories at 10pm on ITV4, Tuesday 14th April
Carl Froch says the punch that beat George Groves is the most satisfying of his career.
The pair met at Wembley Stadium in May 2014 and despite being knocked down by Groves in the first round, a single powerful blow from Froch stopped the fight in the ninth, meaning he retained his IBF and WBA world titles.
“The genuine needle in that fight, the genuine rivalry, made for what was the biggest fight in British boxing history. It takes two to tango, I needed a dance partner and George Groves was just that," Froch told ITV Sport.
Relishing the victory, Froch's relationship with Groves is infamous in the boxing world: “I wouldn’t choose to try and be his friend, but there’s no hate in it. I exorcised my demons when that right hand landed on the jaw... It was the most satisfying punch I’ve ever landed.”
Carl Froch: Sports Life stories will be on ITV4 at 10pm on Tuesday April 14, get a taster of the programme in the video above.
Carl Froch has vacated his IBF super middleweight title as he recovers from the injury that ruled him out of a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, his promoters have announced.
Mandatory challenger James DeGale will now fight the next available contender for the vacant title.
"It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks with terms agreed for the Chavez fight only for me to be unable to proceed in camp due to injury,” said Froch.
“I know what it’s like to wait for a shot and I didn’t want to hold James up in fighting for a World title.
“James is a great fighter and I hope he can go out and win that title and who knows, we may even meet later in the year.”
Carl Froch admits he would find it difficult to "get out of bed" and train for a fight against James DeGale.
The 37 year-old super-middleweight champion is chasing a Las Vegas meeting with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. before retiring from boxing.
Despite fighting the likes of Andre Ward, Mikkel Kessler and Lucian Bute in recent years, Froch has never been offered a bout in Las Vegas.
"I'm just not motivated to fight another British kid in Britain," Froch told BBC Radio Nottingham, when asked about mandatory challenger DeGale.
"If I was told tomorrow by my promoter that I would be fighting DeGale in the early part of next year I don't think that it'd get me out of bed in the morning to go running."
Carl Froch has beaten George Groves in the eighth round to retain the IBF and WBA super-middleweight titles at Wembley.
Boxers Carl Froch and George Groves have stepped into the ring in a much anticipated world title bout billed as the "biggest fight in UK history".
The IBF and WBA World Super Middleweight Title fight is at Wembley Stadium.
Debate raged on Twitter among boxing fans following Car Froch's controversial ninth round victory against George Groves in Manchester.