By Scott Gilfoid: Former super middleweight champion Carl Froch is picking Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs) to beat WBA 168 lb. champion George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) in their semifinals match on February 17 in the World Boxing Super Series at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Froch, 40, beat Groves twice by knockout in 2013 and 2014, and he used Eubank Jr. as a sparring partner. Eubank Jr. was Froch’s chief sparring partner to help him for his rematch with Groves in 2014. Froch says the sparring with Eubank Jr. was tougher than the actual fight with Groves. Of course, Groves fought entirely defensively in the rematch with Froch, so it doesn’t mean much that Eubank Jr. gave him a harder time in sparring.
Groves is the No.1 seed in the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Groves is expected to win the fight. Froch doesn’t think so, but you have to wonder whether he still has bad blood over the way that Groves made him look so bad outside of the ring before their 2 fights. Groves really got under Froch’s skin big time, especially the second time they fought. Froch seemed totally unnerved each time the two were together. Beating Groves still doesn’t seem like it was enough for Froch. I don’t think he’ll ever forget the way that Groves was trash talking him.
I’ve sparred one, fought the other of course, and it is impossible for me to make a case for Groves to win their fight,” said Froch to skysports.com. ”It is Mission Impossible for Groves. Eubank Jr has a ferocious work-rate, will go for the full 12 rounds and here’s the sting in the tale: you just can’t hurt him,” said Froch.
I disagree with Froch. I saw Eubank Jr. get hurt by a shot from Gary O’Sullivan in their fight in 2015. O’Sullivan stopped throwing punches after exhausting himself throwing a dozen shots. The only other puncher that Eubank Jr. has fought during his career is Arthur Abraham, and that was a poor effort. Abraham was nowhere near the same fighter he once was when he took that fight.
Eubank Jr. has fought only one guy that was powerful and still cogent and that O’Sullivan. I could understand Froch smothering Eubank Jr. with compliments if he’d been tested against the best in the middleweight and super middleweight divisions, but he hasn’t done that. O’Sullivan is not a relevant fighter at middleweight, and Abraham is a past his prime super middleweight.
If Eubank Jr. had beaten these guys, then I could understand Froch being so complimentary of him:
• James DeGale
• David Benavidez
• George Groves
• Callum Smith
• Juergen Braehmer
• Jesse Hart
• Gilberto Ramirez
• Anthony Dirrell
• Andre Dirrell
• Jose Uzcategui
Eubank Jr. has not been beating those types of fighters, has he? Eubank Jr. has been defeating largely mediocre guys.
These are the best fighters that Eubank Jr. has beaten:
• Avni Yildirim
• Renold Quinlan
• Artur Abraham
• Nick Blackwell
• Gary O’Sullivan
• Dmitri Chudinov
”The only way for Groves to beat him is to keep out of his way and out-box him, win on points. But the problem is I don’t think he’s fit enough,” said Froch.
I think Froch is underestimating Groves. I think he can Groves can win the fight suddenly just like he did against Jamie Cox by landing a shot to the body of Eubank Jr. I wouldn’t waste too much time targeting Eubank Jr’s head if I were Groves, because he tends to keep his head out of the way of punches. Eubank Jr. leaves his midsection open with his habit of throwing repeated uppercuts. Most fighters don’t try and throw uppercuts like that, because it’ll get you hurt. But with Eubank Jr. mostly facing poor opposition throughout his career, he’s been able to get away with a lot of his bad habits without getting hurt.