It seems that everything Eddie Hearn touches turns to gold right now. Although in terms of experience, he is still a fledging prospect in the promotion game, he’s quickly established himself as Britain’s premier boxing promoter.
2013 has been filled with a series of high quality shows presented by Matchroom. The year looks set to climax with arguably one of the most exciting to date as the two best British Super Middleweights come together in the form of Carl Froch and George Groves.
Here’s an assessment as to why I believe this fight is a great match up for both competitors.
Positive for Froch
Carl Froch’s most recent outing was a classic for the ages. Boxing fans were treated to two warriors engaging in a full on war against each other. Froch’s unanimous points decision over Mikkael Kessler avenged one of only two previous defeats on his resume and in doing so, cemented his place as Britain’s best (in my eyes) champion.
In the aftermath of that victory, the burning question amongst boxing writers was: Where does Froch go from here?
Talks of a rematch against Andre Ward surfaced. Having avenged one defeat from Kessler, the only other defeat came from the hands of Ward.
However, Ward’s reluctance to defend his title beyond the borders of the United States of America is and will continue to remain a stumbling block should Froch want to avenge that defeat. The other problem with this is that he is not a massive commercial draw. His talent is unquestionable but in terms of box office sales and interest, he doesn’t command much of a following. Froch is still the bigger name of the two.
But geographical and commercial issues aside, this would have been a bad fight for Froch. He would go into the fight very much an underdog. He was soundly beaten when the two first met in the final of the Super 6 Super middleweight final. Ward is a smarter, more effective and frankly better fighter than Froch. It was to the Nottingham man’s credit that he took Ward the distance when they first met having been so comprehensively beaten.
Froch is an exceptional boxer and his chin is lauded as one of the best in any weight division. He has tremendous heart and has the power to match that. But there’s only so far these attributes can take you.
Age is also against Froch. At 36 years old, he is firmly in the Autumn of his career. A defeat against Ward would draw serious questions on whether the Cobra should retire from the Sport.
As stated earlier, Froch has only lost twice in his professional career. As such, his record stands at an impressive 31-2-0 (22 KO’s)
What makes this record even more impressive is the list of names on his resume. He’s never swerved or ducked out of a fight. No opponent has been too daunting or no destination too far for Froch. Throughout his career, he has been more than willing to go toe to toe with any obstacle put in his way and over the years, has proven himself time and time again to be a fearless, gutsy and powerful champion.
Who can forget the fight against the very dangerous Jermain Taylor and the famous knockout victory he secured with just 16 seconds left on the clock? Or the heart to go to Denmark to fight Kessler on his home patch? Or his demolition of the previously unbeaten Lucien Bute just months after the crushing defeat at the hands of Ward?
The match up against Groves is a perfect solution for Froch. It keeps him fresh and ready in the boxing scene and by beating the mandatory challenger, even with his age against him, he still proves he can cut it with the best up and coming youngsters in the division.
Few could blame him if he’d decided to turn this chance down. An unbeaten up and coming fellow British fighter with nothing to lose, it’s a massive risk on Froch’s behalf.
In global terms, despite being the IBF mandatory challenger, Groves’ name doesn’t command a fraction of the respect that Froch’s does. It would have been easy for Froch to relinquish his IBF belt in search of one or two bumper pay days before his retirement, but that’s not the way Froch has conducted himself throughout his career. The Cobra will see off any opponent he is charged with facing before making his next move and will certainly not relinquish a title he worked so hard to win in the first place.
Should Froch win this fight, I believe that the next step would be to negotiate a third Froch vs. Kessler. In some instances, PPV fights tend to lead to disappointing bouts with many failing to live up to the billing they are given. This can be perceived as naivety from a supporters perspective or excellent work by the promoters from a professional perspective. The truth is that some PPV fights leave fans underwhelmed.
However, this was not the case in May. There are no other word to describe the second encounter between Froch and Kessler other than a classic. Both men went to war, testing the other’s resilience and chin like never before. Froch won the fight which sparked scenes of wild jubilation within the O2 Arena and in Froch’s hometown of Nottingham.
Would a rematch interest fans? Yes, I believe it would but give it time. Repeats against the same opposition can get tedious for supporters. Seeing both men in action against different opponents will have fans salivating for a rematch as they fondly reminisce about both the previous encounters. Personally, I’d love to see a decider in perhaps in the Summer of 2014 or Autumn 2014.
Should he win that fight then he could have one last shot at Ward. At 36 years old, serious questions have to be raised as to how long Froch has left in the sport. A defeat at this stage in his career would propel these concerns further into the mire. A fight against Ward at the right time would interest both parties. Froch would have nothing to lose and victories in
But this is how Froch has fought throughout his career. He’s never one to shy away from any opponent; a point to which I alluded to earlier. The acceptance of this dust up is further testament to this quality and will further solidify his legacy
A victory against Groves gives Froch the ammunition to negotiate a bumper deal for the future. Kessler or Ward, it doesn’t matter. Froch will be sure of a massive pay day from whatever fight he takes. Personally, I believe should he win, it will be Kessler next and should he prevail there, then Ward in one last hurrah for the Cobra.
Positive for Groves
George the Saint Groves has been demanding a shot on the World Title Scene to anybody that will listen to him for some time now. His impressive record stands at 19-0-0 (15 KO’s).
With Groves the mandatory challenger for Froch’s IBF belt, Froch’s acceptance to take on Groves means that the Saint finally has the chance to win the world title he so desperately craves.
So what do we know about Groves? The 25 year old from Hammersmith, London is the Current British and Commonwealth Super middleweight champion and has been slowly making forging his name as a promising super middleweight since turning professional in 2008. He boasts an undefeated record which includes impressive victories on both sides of the Atlantic.
Despite his relative inexperience, Groves is no stranger to headlining a PPV event. Arguably, his career highlight came arguably when, he headlined the Best of Enemies bill alongside 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist James De Gale;a man he’d previously beaten in their days as amateurs together in November 2011.
It was not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a fight boxing purists enjoyed. Groves frustrated De Gale, fighting impressively on the back foot to record a famous majority decision over his adversary. This was all under the intense scrutiny of the British Media and was a fight many neutrals had expected him to lose.
His career to date has been impressive but there can be no denying that this is a step up in opposition for Groves. He’s leaving behind the safety blanket of the British, Commonwealth and even to a certain extent European title stage and is about to embark on the global scene. Froch will be a very dangerous opponent for Groves and is in a different league to any foe he’s come up against in his fledging career thus far, but the time has come for him to step up to the ‘major leagues’ after his promising start to his professional career.
Whilst the odds are stacked against Groves, a victory in this fight could propel Groves into a household name in both British and world terms. Whilst he is ranked the IBF mandatory challenger, the likes of Ward, Bute, Kessler, Froch and Dirrell lie ahead of him. He’s currently ranked 13th on Sky Sports’ Super Middle weight rankings (http://www1.skysports.com/boxing/news/12183/8147935/super-middleweight-rankings: 12/8/2013).
The war of words has already started between the two Matchroom stable mates with Froch accusing Groves of boring fans into submission with his style and tactics. It can be argued that Froch’s claims certainly have substance. Groves is quite a conservative fighter. While some fighters enjoy close and explosive combat, Groves likes a more methodical approach, picking and choosing his attacks.
Yes, you can accuse Groves of boxing on the back foot, but this sensible and conservative approach could work in the challengers favour. Groves’ trainer Adam Booth was the mastermind behind David Haye’s finest victory against the much bigger and more fancied Nikolay Valuev in Germany.
With Booth in his corner, Groves has a chance of being able to pull off a surprise victory. He must box on the backfoot and not get drawn into a brawl. Froch’s power is too effective and his chin is iron clad. He must be disciplined and fight sensibly and choose his punches wisely. Should he do this, it may not be the most thrilling of contests but it could cause the champion some problems.
This is a massive opportunity for The Saint. He’ll do well to grab it with both hands. At just 25 years old, age is on his side. A defeat certainly wouldn’t catapult Groves into obscurity.
But if anyone thinks for one minute that Groves will be a glorified jobber to make Froch look good are in for a surprise.
Positive for Both
This fight will undoubtedly stimulate the interests of both the casual and ardent boxing fans. Benn/Eubank will go down in British sporting history as one of the greatest rivalries this country and sport has ever seen.
For further proof , just look at David Haye. Haye has become a household name thanks to a victory over Enzo Maccarinelli at Cruiserweight level and further domestic success over Audley Harrison and Derek Chisora at Heavyweight. Its proof that sometimes it doesn’t matter the opposition, nothing stirs the senses quite as much as a domestic dust up
Both fighters will benefit from increased exposure and a bumper pay day from this dust up with both fighters look set to be considerably heavier in pocket in the aftermath of this fight.
With Sky Box Office showing the fight, pressure will be on both to advertise in order to increase PPV purchases and which in turn will increase the money both will make from the fight.
Groves in particular will benefit from an increased profile as a result of the fight. To the casual boxing fan, Groves is not a household name as yet but being
Surprisingly, Froch still has not won all his doubters over. I myself was a Froch doubter until very recently (his demolition of Bute changed my opinion). While there’s no doubt his victory over Kessler did this to a certain degree, a comprehensive victory over Groves could be influential in doing this (although I do admit some will never be won round to the Cobra’s ability)
Conclusion and Prediction
This is undoubtedly in my eyes the British fight of the year. Haye vs. Fury will attract as much if not more attention due to the high profile of both fighters and the weight they are both fighting at but neither fighter is in the global leagues that these two are.
Personally, I feel this fight is too soon for Groves. He will undoubtedly give a very good account of himself and surprise people expecting an easy victory for Froch. The key for Groves to stay competitive is to fight sensibly and for him to dictate to Froch the fight he wants to fight.
Should Groves fail to do this and get drawn into a brawl, then I cannot see anyway that Groves will be able to live with Froch’s power or do substantial damage to Froch’s chin to hurt him.
I see Froch gaining a late stoppage in the 9th in a very intriguing match up. This will then set Froch up for either a decider against Kessler or one last shot at Andre Ward. November 23rd looks set to be a great night.