Carl Froch says Lucian Bute will be intimidated by Nottingham fans

By Ben DirsBBC Sport

Carl Froch says Lucian Bute will struggle to come to terms with his vociferous home support when they meet in Nottingham on Saturday.

Canadian Bute is defending his IBF super-middleweight crown, while the 34-year-old Froch is bidding to become a three-time world champion.

It is the first time Froch has fought in England since October 2009.

"The crowd will be silent when he's throwing punches and going mental when I throw punches," Froch told BBC Sport.

"It will be difficult to cope with because he won't feel like he's getting any reward for his work.

"It's not really a test for me, I've mixed it with the best in the world for the last three years, but he's got it all to prove.

"And to do that in Nottingham, that's a very tough task. After rounds one, two and three, if he's not having any success and getting caught with some big shots you'll see what he's made of.

"I want to put it on him, put him under some serious pressure and make him feel the pain early on and get him out of there.

"He'll either go into his shell and want to go home or come out fighting like a wounded animal. Either way, I'm ready for him."

Froch has never been beaten in his home city but has fought four times since his last bout in Nottingham two-and-a-half years ago.

On that occasion he narrowly beat Andre Dirrell, part of an epic seven-fight sequence that culminated in his reaching the final of the Super Six tournament.

Froch was well-beaten in the final of the Super Six by Andre Wardexternal-link in Atlantic City in December but trainer Rob McCracken says his charge will be more comfortable on home soil.

"Carl is very home and family-orientated, he's not the same away from home," said McCracken, who is head coach of the GB Olympic team.

"He wasn't himself before the Ward fight, there had been a lot of fights on the road and it took a mental toll on him."

McCracken added that the unbeaten Bute was "a little bit stupid" to leave the comfort of his adoptive country to fight Froch in the Englishman's backyard.

Bute, 32, has not fought outside his native Romania or Canada, where he lives, since 2004.

McCracken said: "It says a lot about him [Bute], that he's very determined and believes in himself, but also that he's a bit stupid.

"He thinks he's fighting the Carl Froch that fought Ward. Carl wasn't quite himself that night, lost the fight fair and square, learned from it and has come back stronger.

"We think they've made a mistake, we'll find out Saturday night if they have or they haven't."

Froch's promoter Eddie Hearn, who confirmed the 9,000 capacity Capital FM Arena is almost sold out, said the venue would be "the most hostile environment" Bute has faced.

However, Bute's trainer Stephan Larouche said his fighter would be able to handle what promises to be an intimidating atmosphere.

"Lucian knows what it is to fight in front of a big crowd," said Larouche. "And when you fight in front of 20,000 in Montreal and you are supposed to win, that is pressure.

"Lucian knows it's going to be noisy. But how quiet are the crowd going to be when Carl gets hit?"

Larouche confirmed Bute has been sparring to the backdrop of simulated crowd noise in a bid to acclimatise and has even gone as far as using recordings of Froch's girlfriend screaming from her ringside seat.

"I can't think of anything worse than that - training to someone screaming," said Froch. "But maybe he's got a psychologist who knows what he's doing."

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