CARL FROCH V JERMAIN TAYLOR
Sunday 26 April
Approx. 0300 BST Coverage:
Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Nottingham, live video at www.omnisport.tv (pay-per-view)
Froch makes the first defence of his WBC title in America on Saturday (pic - justin mckie)
When a boxer tells you he is in the shape of his life ahead of a fight, it often has to be taken with a large pinch of salt.
But undefeated WBC super-middleweight champion Carl Froch is not merely resorting to cliché. He has the evidence, in black and white, to back it up.
The Nottingham fighter, who defends his title against American Jermain Taylor in Connecticut this weekend, has for the past seven years kept a diary on every aspect of his professional career.
Froch defeated Jean Pascal in December (pic - justin mckie)
Every training run time, every sparring session and every gym visit are all logged in the book Froch has kept since he turned professional in 2002.
And only days away from the first defence of the WBC title he won by beating Canadian Jean Pascal in a bruising and thrilling encounter in December, he has proof that, at the age of 31, he is only just hitting his peak.
"I've being doing the same six-mile run in Nottingham for the past seven years and normally I do it in 35 minutes, which is under six minutes a mile," Froch told BBC Sport.
"Recently I was shocked to break my best time, so I'm running faster and I'm punching harder then I ever have done before.
"I feel so strong and mentally I'm more mature than when I turned pro seven years ago. Jermain Taylor is in serious trouble."
Froch broke from his usual routine of heading out to Ireland for a four-week training camp and instead spent March in Loughton, Essex, where he sparred with Commonwealth middleweight champion Darren Barker and super-middleweight prospect George Groves.
Froch also spent two weeks in April sparring with old foe Pascal in Canada, in an attempt to tailor his style for the robust and powerful American Taylor.
The WBC champion was keen to break up his usual routine, having openly admitted to becoming "too comfortable" in the lead up to previous fights.
His willingness to make his first defence in the United States and not in front of his own fans in Nottingham is further evidence of this.
Former undisputed middleweight champion Taylor has lost twice in a 31-fight career (both times to current 160lb king Kelly Pavlik) and, despite being the challenger, is the bookmakers' favourite ahead of the fight.
But Froch is confident he can retain his WBC title at Foxwoods Casino, run by the Mashantucket Native Indian tribe.
Froch still bears the scars of that torturous night (pic - justin mckie)
"This means more than any other fight as I'm defending my title for the first time and I worked so hard to win it," added Froch.
"Being the champion is brilliant and I'm proud to have won that belt so I'm determined to defend my title and defend it in style.
"I've seen Taylor and I know enough about him to know that I can beat him. I'm not worried about him. I know I will be victorious."
For Froch, the showdown, which will be in the early hours of Sunday morning UK time, will finally herald his arrival on the biggest stage, with the fight broadcast to millions across the US by broadcaster Showtime.
As Taylor is only too happy to point out, few on his side of the Atlantic had previously heard of Froch but it is something 'The Cobra' is convinced will change with a win over Taylor.
An impressive display could also open the door to potential unification fights with IBF champion Lucian Bute and WBA holder Mikkel Kessler.
"It's not New York or Las Vegas but it's still a fantastic venue and will be great exposure for me," said Froch, who has 24 wins (19 knockouts) and no defeats.
"Jermain Taylor is a marquee name and the sort of name I've been chasing for years. Now I finally get the chance to fight him. It's a fight I need to win."
I don't entertain thoughts about this being my last opportunity to fight for a world title. That belt is mine and I'm planning on taking it from him
Despite initial interest, UK broadcasters have failed to secure broadcasting rights with Froch's promoters Hennessy Sports to show the fight, with the credit crunch being blamed for a deal not being struck, which Froch calls "laughable" and a "disgrace".
It has meant fans will either have to listen to the fight on BBC Radio 5 Live or watch on their computers, with online broadcasters Omnisport.tv showing the fight live at 0200 BST on Sunday.
It is doubly surprising since Taylor is a former Olympic bronze medallist and a former undisputed middleweight champion who has beaten Bernard Hopkins twice.
After wresting all-four major belts from Hopkins in 2005, he held the titles for just over two years before Pavlik knocked him out in seven rounds and outpointed him in the rematch.
It was a night that still haunts Taylor, who admits his approach to the fight was all wrong.
"I made a mistake," he told BBC Sport. "I got complacent and I paid a price for that mistake. I will never let that happen again."
Taylor, from Little Rock, Arkansas, has studied hours of video footage of Froch, something he has never done in the past.
And he feels, having watched how Pascal exposed Froch's lack of defence, that he will have too much speed and too much ring-craft for the Brit.
"I'd never heard of him, I've only recently seen videos of his fights. He's just a regular fighter, and I don't see anything to worry me," stated Taylor.
"Losing is not in my thoughts, I see myself winning this fight.
"I don't entertain thoughts about this being my last opportunity to fight for a world title. That belt is mine and I'm planning on taking it from him."
So with Taylor approaching the fight in a bullish frame of mind and Froch in the best shape of his life, the fans that will pack into the Foxwoods Casino could be in for a real treat.
Victory over Taylor would not only provide Froch with the biggest scalp of his career, it will also confirm his arrival as a star of world boxing. As Britain's only boxing world champion, he deserves nothing less.