1. Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch, 23-0, finally had his long-awaited moment of truth on December 8 2008, when he met a real threat in Jean Pascal, 21-0, of Canada for the vacant WBC super-middleweight title recently vacated by Welshman Joe Calzaghe. It was Froch’s big opportunity at superstardom in front of his passionate hometown crowd and the contest would prove to be a thriller.
2. Both men entered the bout, held at the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham in front of a 9,000 strong crowd, unbeaten as professionals, with strong amateur pedigree and having experienced careful development on home soil.
3. Boxing News reflected on ‘’12 rounds of excitement and brutality’‘, between Froch and Pascal, which caught fire from the off – ‘‘Froch coming out in the first landing a barrage of hooks with Pascal responding to take the initiative in the second, doubling up his own jab and stepping inside Froch’s front foot to land a hard left hook’’.
4. ‘‘From the third, it was a thriller,’’ we recalled. Both fighters would be rocked by heavy punches in rounds three, four and five as the pair traded blows in a fierce battle, until Froch’s unshakeable will to win and granite-like chin seemingly began to turn the tide against the tough Haitian-born Canadian in the sixth.
5. The Nottingham man was able to control the pace of the sixth session behind his jab before a stunning straight right to the chin had Pascal holding for the first time. Boxing News reported of how Carl ‘‘repeated the feat before banging in a left hook-chopping right’’ combination to finish a dominant round.
6. Froch, having taken the best Pascal had to offer, assumed control of the seventh and eighth rounds and was dominating the exchanges, despite getting caught at times by left hooks and straight rights on the way in from his resilient opponent.
7. Nevertheless, Pascal appeared rejuvenated in the ninth, perhaps encouraged by opening up a cut above Froch’s left eyelid in the round, but he was soon on the back foot again in the tenth as a Froch one-two had Jean wobbling and fighting on instinct.
8. The final three rounds of the contest became something of a slugfest, culminating in a final stanza which had the crowd on their feet as Froch and Pascal went toe-to-toe, trading leather, but often missing, as the crowd cheered on their local hero.
9. The pair brawled until the final bell with the outcome of the bout left in the hands of the three judges at ringside. The three scorers agreed unanimously that a bloody and bruised Froch had done enough to beat the talented and tough Pascal by a clear 12-round decision – 118-110 for Tom Kaczmarek (USA), 116-112 for Predrag Aleksic (Montenegro) and 117-111 for Herminio Cuevas of Mexico – but the scorecards far from told the full story of an epic clash, which some even called ‘‘the best ‘world’ title fight ever held on British soil’’.
10. Pascal would not have to wait long for his second crack at world honours as he successfully moved up to light-heavyweight to defeat Adrian Diaconu for the WBC light heavyweight title just over six months after being outpointed by ‘The Cobra’. After his war with Pascal, Froch revealed that he had entered the bout with a perforated ear drum and a broken rib both sustained in sparring within two weeks of the contest. This type of intestinal fortitude and warrior-like spirit was to become synonymous with the Englishman who has gone on to face the best the super-middleweight division has had to offer in recent years, enhancing his reputation and legacy with 11 consecutive world title contests (won 9, lost 2).