Froch: Klitschko didn't tarnish his legacy like Roy Jones Jr

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Former super-middleweight champion Carl Froch lauded Wladimir Klitschko for maintaining his legacy unlike Roy Jones Jr. after retiring from boxing at the "right time".

Klitschko decided to call it a career this month at the age of 41, ending talk of a rematch with heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

A dominant figure in the heavyweight division throughout the 21st century, Klitschko tasted defeat in a mammoth battle against Joshua at Wembley Stadium in April and, while an anticipated rematch looked set to take place in Las Vegas later this year, the Ukrainian star called it quits with a record of 64 wins and five defeats.

Reflecting on his remarkable 21-year career - which featured an 11-year undefeated streak that contained 18 successful title defences - Froch praised Klitschko as he highlighted 48-year-old Jones, who is still boxing.

Speaking to Omnisport, Froch said: "I was glad he retired. It was the right decision at the right time. I thought he had a couple fights too many.

"He lost to Tyson Fury and when the AJ match came along I just thought if he takes the camp really seriously and it's at Wembley it's similar to when I retired, he had a bad fight like I had a bad fight with [George] Groves in the first one.

"That motivates you to come back and be your very best. I think he did that and he was at this best and that's why he gave AJ, the younger, I was gonna say bigger and stronger but he's not as equally as big and strong as AJ is clearly but he really did give AJ a tough fight.

"He gave him a torrid time in there and the fight lived up to all the hype. It was a great night at Wembley and I was proud to be part of that. Klitschko can hold his head up high and say that he pushed Joshua to the limit and I think that was a good exit card for him. Why come back and lose to the same guy that you have already to lose and take more punishment.

"It's not always the fight that is punishing it's the training as well. It's hard on the body at that age. You're taking injections and you're seeing physios and you turn up fight night in 85/90 per cent. In my opinion you get beat in a rematch with AJ and retire with a couple million that you don't need and leave his legacy tarnished.

"Everybody will remember him for the AJ fight in heavyweight boxing. Roy Jones was one of the best boxers that ever lived and he's totally tarnished his legacy after being knocked-out a few times by fighting on too much. It's nice to see Klitschko has retired when he has and he can hold his head up high."

Klitschko and Joshua put on a show for a sell-out crowd in London earlier this year.

Both men had to climb off the canvas in an 11-round epic in front of 90,000 fans, with Klitschko recovering from a fifth-round knockdown before dropping Joshua in the sixth.

Klitschko was unable to capitalise, however, as Joshua withstood a late onslaught to add the WBA and IBO titles to his IBF crown.

Froch continued: "Klitschko had Joshua in one of those rounds and if he had gone in for the finish or gone in for the kill once he tasted blood in my opinion he would have got the finish. Because in my opinion Joshua was there for the taking for two or three rounds but you can't do what you don't do all the time in training in the gym.

"Me for example, when I tasted blood I go for the finish. I'm one of the best finishers. The list goes on the amount of people I've stopped on their feet and finished off. That's my killer instinct. Klitschko is a 'safety first' type of boxer. He looked for openings and still tried to box because that what he does. If he would have gone for the finish it would have been a different story. If he would have jumped on him round after round he may have very well got the finish.

"He'll look back at the fight and will say to himself 'All I had to do was jump on him'. He was hurt Josh, he looked like he was going to get wiped out but he survived and he got the win but I'm glad Klitschko has made the right decision."

 

Carl Froch is a partypoker ambassador, play POWERFEST this September for a share of $35million guaranteed at partypoker.com.