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In appreciation of Carl Froch: British star deserves a special place of honor in boxing fans’ hearts

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Carl Froch (L) celebrates after his fight with Mikkel Kessler in London ended (AP)

Sometimes, we don't appreciate what we have until it is too late. If you're a boxing fan, though, you don't want to make that mistake with super middleweight Carl Froch.

Froch is what we dream every boxer to be: Tough, skilled, intense, utterly fearless and not only willing, but eager, to fight the best challenges there are to offer.

He routed Mikkel Kessler on Saturday in London's O2 Arena in a rematch of a superb 2010 fight that went to Kessler. Froch was extraordinary throughout Saturday, landing hard shots, shrugging off massive blows from Kessler and generally imposing his will on one of the best 168-pounders to have lived.

Froch is in the middle of an extraordinary run against elite competition that is virtually unmatched in today's modern game. He isn't facing one-time stars who are on the back sides of their careers. He's not taking on guys moving up a division or two. He's not meeting no-hopers.

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Carl Froch (R) pins Mikkel Kessler on the ropes (AP)

For the last four-plus years, Froch has gone through a Murderer's Row of the best of the best in his weight class. He's won eight of those 10, losing a disputed decision to Kessler in Denmark in 2010 and a clean verdict to Andre Ward in 2011 in the finale of Showtime's heralded Super Six World Boxing Classic.

He's scored wins over Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson, Lucian Bute, Yusaf Mack and Kessler in that span. In all of them, he fought a fan-friendly style and was never content to just cruise down the stretch to a victory.

He's not the most talented guy in the world and he takes his share of punches. His trainer, Rob McCracken, was pleading with him Saturday to pay attention to his defense as Kessler managed to get in some fairly hellacious power shots of his own.

Froch, though, was so intense and wanted to win so badly that he literally walked through the best that Kessler threw.

Ward was at ringside and did color commentary for HBO on Saturday's bout. Froch clearly has earned a rematch with Ward and, if truth be told, it ought to be in Froch's native England.

As great as he is -- and Ward is, arguably, the best fighter in the world right now -- Ward's not a ticket seller. He's not drawing massive crowds anywhere he goes and the fans he does bring out don't have nearly the passion for him that Froch's fans do.

Froch, clearly, has earned a return engagement with Ward. Ward is a superior talent and, as he showed in a September destruction of Chad Dawson, is evolving into an all-timer. He may beat Froch if they meet again.

That doesn't mean, though, that it's a fight that should be ignored. When a guy is willing to go to the post time after time against the best in the business, he should be rewarded. Froch's reward should be a bout against Ward at a soccer stadium in the United Kingdom.

For all he has done for boxing, the sport owes him that.

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Carl Froch (R) cracks Mikkel Kessler with a right hand Saturday (AP)

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports
Froch beats Kessler to retain IBF super middleweight title
Photos of Froch-Kessler bout
Bellew, Groves win on Froch-Kessler undercard

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