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Now that England has exited the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil in ignominy it is time to take a punt on Carl Froch taking out this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award is given to the British sportsperson whose actions have most captured the public’s imagination. Well, that is the grand idea anyway, with the British public voting for their favourite star.
At the halfway point of the Wimbledon men’s singles, Andy Murray is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award third favourite behind Lewis Hamilton and Chris Froome, with Froch fourth in line and Jonny Wilkinson not far behind the boxer.
One understands why Hamilton is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award market leader. He has an excellent chance of winning the Formula One title and sportspersons from his motor racing competition have received the honour six times – second only to athletics on 17. What puts one off Hamilton is that his 2008 Formula One championship success was not enough for him to win the popularity contest and he is a sportsperson who polarises opinion in the United Kingdom.
Froome won the 2013 Tour de France and yet all that he could manage in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award race was sixth place behind Murray, Leigh Halfpenny, Tony McCoy, Mo Farah and Ben Ainslie. Back-to-back Tour de France wins would be a phenomenal achievement and Froome is the market leader for the great race but one has to be concerned with his remarkably poor result in last year’s popularity poll.
Murray received the 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, which was almost inevitable from the moment that he ended the United Kingdom’s 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s singles champion. But the British public remains unsure about how it feels about Murray and no-one has gone back to back in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award since it came into existence in 1954. Indeed, only Henry Cooper, Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell have won it twice.
That last fact is what is against Wilkinson, who earned the BBC 2003 Sports Personality of the Year Award for kicking England to Rugby World Cup glory. Wilkinson had a terrific final season for Toulon but surely it was insufficient for him to win the prize in what looks like a strong contest.
Froch is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award value bet at odds of 17.00 with several bookmakers, including Betfred, Sky Bet and Sportingbet. Froch is the rated as one of the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer and he is the IBF and WBA super middleweight champion, belts that he retained by beating fellow British fighter George Groves in May.
About 80,000 people attended the second scrap between Froch and Groves in the space of six months. Froch-Groves II drew the largest crowd to a boxing bout in the United Kingdom since World War Two and Froch thrilled the crowd with an eighth-round knockout punch that BBC caller Mike Costello described as the best ever thrown in a British ring.
Boxers have a superb BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award record. Four fighters – Cooper (twice), Joe Calzaghe, Lennox Lewis and Barry McGuigan – have picked up the gong – indicating that the British public will vote for boxers whom they take to their hearts. Froch is hugely popular in the United Kingdom, not only for the way that he throws punches but also for the way in which he conducts himself publicly.