NOTTINGHAM, England -- With Ricky Hatton's eligibility one week away from definition, Amir Khan exposed and David Haye bizarrely locked in an Australian jungle for a reality TV show, the U.K.'s true pound-for-pound No. 1 reaffirmed his foothold Saturday night and made a huge statement toward his intentions for 2013.
It has been 12 months since Carl Froch lost the Super Six tournament finale to Andre Ward, but Froch fed the growing momentum as the leading challenger to the 168-pound linchpin's reign at the top.
Yusaf Mack was fed to the lions in Nottingham, plain and simple. He was totally overwhelmed by a revitalized Froch, who quite simply looks like a different animal in 2012 -- especially on his home soil.
Half a dozen Macks' wouldn't have stopped Froch in this form, with the super middleweight titlist illustrating the same drive and thirst for the finish that led to the fifth-round dismissal of then-unbeaten Lucian Bute in May. Whether it's enough to tempt Ward into a return is rudimentary. The fact is that Froch eating up challenges in this manner is fueling every fight fan's desire to see Ward-Froch II.
Naturally, The Cobra insists he wasn't quite 100 percent when they met the first time, but in this form -- especially inside his hometown arena -- it's tough to see any man being able to fend off Froch's slashing attacks.
He has been simply electric. Bute, unbeaten in 30 starts and a long-reigning 168-pound champion at the time, and onetime light heavyweight world title challenger Mack have both been annihilated by Froch, who seems like a fighter reborn.
In Nottingham, the beloved Sheriff disposed of Mack at a canter. The champion hardly hit third gear as he dropped the Philadelphia warrior in the opening round and punched the gumshield from his grill in the closing seconds of Round 2, with Mack pinned up against the ropes and unable to slip in shots.
In the third, Froch's whipping shots -- slicing the head and dicing the body -- chopped Mack down and onto all fours. He made little effort to get back to his feet this time. This was Froch at his clinical best, and he captured the wave of furor around the entire boxing scene across the Atlantic.
Boxing in Britain is booming once more, with Froch, who has been featured in nine consecutive world title fights, as the band leader. Fans here want to see only one matchup in 2013.
All the talk at ringside was about Ward-Froch II. And the Brit maintained tonight, "It will be a different story next time me and Ward fight. I lost the fight with him before I stepped into the ring last year. I was OK whilst we were in New York, and I was nice and angry. But in Atlantic City, it was like Groundhog Day. I switched off out there. That won't happen again."
Adonis Stevenson is Froch's IBF mandatory, and although Bute could trigger the contract agreement he has for a rematch, that seems hugely unlikely after tonight's performance.
Prior to the first bell in England, Ward tweeted that he had no interest in even watching tonight's broadcast -- screened live in the U.S. on pay-per-view. Whether that's true, just minutes after Froch's success Ward returned to social networking and hinted at the possibility of a trip across the Atlantic.
With the money in the U.K., especially with plans in place for a Froch-headlined stadium fight in the summer, how long can Ward realistically turn down the dollars that a return with the Brit brings?