Carl Froch must grant George Groves a rematch for the IBF belt

Groves never needed to be protected from Froch.

The IBF on Friday ordered that a rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves must occur within 90 days.

Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) successfully defended the IBF and WBA super middleweight belts with a controversial ninth round TKO victory over the 25-year-old Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) on November 23.

Groves, whose awkward style gave the Nottingham native fits, floored the 36-year-old Froch with a right jab in the first.

Although the champion recovered, Froch was consistently outdone by Groves’ speed, movement and deft footwork.

Bruised and swollen, “The Cobra” finally connected with a barrage of punches that left Groves wobbled and referee Howard Foster quickly halted the bout.

In actuality, despite being a legitimate bruiser, Froch hadn’t done enough over roughly 25 minutes to stop Groves.

“After a review of the information presented to the panel, it has been determined that there was inappropriate conduct by the referee that affected the outcome of the fight,” read a statement released by the IBF.

“Based on the foregoing the IBF is ordering an immediate rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves for the IBF Super Middleweight title. The Bout must take place within 90 days, or by April 24, 2014, and neither boxer can take any other fight in that time frame. The signed contracts are due within 15 days or by February 8, 2014. If the IBF doesn’t receive the contracts by February 8, 2014, we will call for a Purse Bid.”

Considering the debatable conclusion, boxing fans deserve to see a sequel between Froch and Groves.

Froch, who has battled premier pugilists and possesses a granite chin and solid power in both hands, should also want to prove the initial bout versus Groves was an aberration.

Also a past two-time WBC super middleweight king, the aging Carl Froch must decisively overwhelm the precocious George Groves this spring or expect a harsh backlash by critics.

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