Carl Froch's last Nottingham fight: 'Nottingham's so proud of you Carl'
With Carl Froch preparing for what is likely to be his last fight in Nottingham this evening, Ray Yeomans spoke to some of the people who have known him best during his boxing career.
AS the mother of a world champion, Carol Weatherbed has every right to be proud.
Her son Carl Froch defends his IBF World Super-Middleweight title in Nottingham tonight – and Carol will be ringside as usual.
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Carol and Froch's partner, Rachael Cordingley, are the number one cheerleaders for Team Froch.
She has never missed a fight since he turned professional and has travelled all over the world to watch him.
But she admits she doesn't enjoy watching him fight.
In fact, she would have preferred him to quit after his thrilling win over top Canadian Lucian Bute in Nottingham in May.
"I would have been happy if he had retired after the Bute fight," she said. "I don't look forward to his fights any more. I'm just glad when they are over and he is safe.
"What do you expect? I'm his mother. I'm very protective and worry about him.
"It is very hard watching him fight now."
Carol, 57, of Gedling, has followed Carl's boxing career since his amateur days in Nottingham and Newark.
"At the amateur shows, other mothers would fall out with me," she said. "They would come up and say 'Your son made my boy's nose bleed' – things like that.
"Carl was little then, very little for his age. He used to measure himself against the door. He kept a little chart, but when he got to 17 or 18, he suddenly shot up.
"His brother, Wayne, was the same. He went to bed one night 4ft 6in and came down 6ft 4in! It was unbelievable."
Carol vividly recalls the day when Carl had to make a decision about his career.
Follow all the action LIVE at thisisnottingham.co.uk from 7pm, as sports reporter Stevie Roden gives a blow by blow account of the fight from inside the Capital FM Arena on our live blog. Tweet your pictures and thoughts to Digital Publisher James White @jrwhitemun or use #Froch
"He had been out for a spell and then came back into it," she said. "He was at a crossroads but decided boxing was what he wanted.
"A few managers wanted him to turn professional with them. But he met Robert McCracken and they hit it off.
"Frank Warren came up to me and gave me his card and asked me to talk to Carl on his behalf. He said he would listen to his mother.
"No chance. I wasn't interested. I tore the card up."
Carol is not surprised that her son went on to win three world titles.
"He is so driven," she said. "Anything he goes for, he gets in the end. He is very patient, although you would never think it to look at him."
If Carol thought the arrival of her grandson, Rocco, might persuade Carl to hang up his gloves for good she was wrong. "No chance", she sighed. "Carl just loves his boxing. It is in his blood. He has not lost any of his desire.
"He knows he will have plenty of time on his hands when he does retire, so he is living the dream. He cannot imagine not being a boxer."
Froch has had 31 pro fights – and Carol singled out the victory over Jermain Taylor in the US as a highlight.
However, she admitted she didn't see much of the Taylor fight after the third round when Carl was knocked down.
"I was on my knees," she said. "I was devastated when he went down. But I was so proud of him when he stopped him just before the end.
"It is unbelievable what Carl has achieved. I was worried, but it all turned out well. He pulls it out of the bag every time. In my heart of hearts, I knew he would not lose. He was getting stronger the longer the fight went on."
Carol says the Bute fight was also "amazing."
But understandably, she did not enjoy watching her son defeated by Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward.
"Kessler and Bute don't seem to want a re-match," said Carol. "But I definitely don't want to see him fight Ward again. I didn't like him at all, with all his talk of God being on his side.
"He was lucky the referee helped him so much in that fight. He would not have got away with that in England."
What are your memories of Carl Froch? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org