- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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CASTLE DONINGTON, England -- Going into his challenge of super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute, former two-time titlist Carl Froch certainly doesn't lack for confidence -- even though he is coming off a clear decision loss to Andre Ward in a title unification fight in December in the final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic.
"The Ward loss was very frustrating," Froch said. "I knew it was going to be a hard night's work. I knew it was tricky. I knew he was a spoiler. I know what he does. What he does, he does well. He's fast and he was catching me with left hooks.
"I know where I went wrong. But again, it wasn't a loss where I go back to the drawing board and say I don't belong at this level, I'm not good enough [or] I'm not a very good fighter, it's time to retire. It wasn't one of those losses. ... I could've won the fight. I mean, would've, should've and could've -- and I got beat fair and square by the better guy on the night. But what I'm saying is, it wasn't meant for me and, you know, it didn't kill my confidence. It really didn't. I look to Ward as the great fighter he is, and I came as close as anyone else has come to beating him."
Despite the loss, Froch is right back in a world title bout -- and in his hometown of Nottingham -- against Bute on Saturday night (6 ET, Epix and EpixHD.com) at the Capital FM Arena.
"I'm jumping straight in with a world champion," Froch said. "I don't think Bute is as good as Ward, and I'm not sure if he's as good as [Mikkel] Kessler or Andre Dirrell or Jermain Taylor. I really don't, because he's only fought Brian Magee and Glen Johnson.
"So, mentally, I'm confident. I'm switched on. I'm ready. And I'm not licking my wounds. I'm not sulking. I'm not feeling sorry for myself because I lost my last fight. I'm really not. I'm taking confidence from that loss. I know where I went wrong and I know what I need to do to put it right. And I can beat Lucian Bute. I'm going to be a three-time world champion. That's the kind of stuff legends are made of."
Froch is expecting his rowdy fans to turn out for Friday's public weigh-in -- which will air live on Sky Sports News -- as they did before his most recent fight in Nottingham, a split-decision win against Dirrell in 2009 in the first stage of the Super Six.
"Bute is going to feel the full force of my fans [Friday] -- there's nothing like 'The Cobra's Army' in full force," Froch said. "It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day, so I hope they come out in thousands.
"When I weighed in for the Dirrell fight, they definitely gave me an edge. He was intimidated by the huge numbers, and then they started chanting for me. They created a real racket [then], and they will [again Friday], and Lucian will get a little idea of what's in store for him on Saturday night -- but times by three."
Bute will at least have fans at the fight. Some are already here, and the early estimate is that more than 1,000 will make the trek from his adopted home country of Canada, as well as from his native Romania, to cheer him on.