PADDY Fitzpatrick has called on American referee Charlie Fitch to clamp down on Carl Froch’s dirty tactics ahead of Saturday’s British super fight against his boxer George Groves.
Following the first Froch-Groves clash when Fitzpatrick’s boxer was pulled out in controversial fashion by British referee Howard Foster, both camps have been in lengthy talks about Saturday night’s officials. And, after Froch’s camp made an early objection to Jack Reiss, promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed Team Groves questioned Fitch’s credentials prior to the IBF eventually sanctioning the appointment.
Fitzpatrick refused to talk about any such objection to Fitch but hinted that Team Groves weren’t entirely happy with the appointment of the Brooklyn referee.
“What I will say is that he has been appointed,” said Fitzpatrick of Fitch’s appointment. “I’m not going to have any more discussions before Saturday that don’t need to be had. If it was anything where I still had some control over the outcome and a discussion that might help towards that then we’ll have it but it is what it is.
“Everyone has been chosen, the fighters have been chosen and it is on and cracking.”
Fitzpatrick is particularly concerned by what he calls persistent fouling from Froch and he has urged Fitch to watch out for the WBA and IBF super-middleweight champion’s antics on Saturday night.
Said Fitzpatrick: “I would ask that he (Charlie Fitch) pays attention to fouls which have happened in every fight that Carl Froch has had. Some less than in other fights but in every fight he has hit behind the head.
“I would ask the referee to watch round eight of the Andre Ward fight and it will take him exactly 59 seconds to watch that and see that Rob McCracken told his fighter to go out and hit a man behind the back of the head.
“I would like him to be aware with the other corner that the fighter has proved to foul when he is emotional and the coach has proved that he will ask his fighter to foul, or instruct him to foul.”
The pre-fight rules meeting is one of the last things Team Groves have to attend ahead of Saturday’s fight and Fitzpatrick plans to make it a “legal proceeding”.
“I expect for us to come in and make it a legal proceeding, not a general rules meeting - a legal proceeding where anyone that makes any comment, anyone connected with the fight that makes any comment at the rules meeting, I want them to know that they are making it on and for the record,” said Fitzpatrick.
“And they will be made aware of that and the board of control will be made aware of that, his other camp will be made aware of that, this is not a general backscratching club where they sat back last time, the head of the board of control crossed his hands over his belly when I said about my concern and said “yeah we’ll take care of that” because it didn’t.
“It doesn’t matter if we kept our mouth shut now and people said you shouldn’t be saying too much, they have a bad taste for us anyway, so all we can do is keep telling the truth and keep carrying ourselves correct so that’s what we are going to do.
“I would like a referee that would allow the fight to take place but to keep it clean.
“We went over it in the last fight, in the rules meeting, and we were taken with a pinch of salt because it was generally thought of that we would turn up and George would give a reasonably good account of himself for a few rounds and then we would all be sent packing. I really hope they show more respect to the game that they are part of as well, they are part of this game too, this is supposed to be something that they enjoy and that they want to be part of.”