George Groves won; get over it
By Mark Young: The result wasn’t controversial, it was close, after what seems like an eternity of listening to James DeGale blow his own trumpet, last weekend the whole world witnessed his nemesis George Groves narrowly beat him with a superior game plan. The predictors were all wrong, myself included, had I been a betting man I would have lost money on DeGale, I was adamant before the fight DeGale would clean Groves clock, but he didn’t. DeGale lost, and it wasn’t controversial, it was close, there’s a massive difference, it was all his own fault and he deserved it.
The way some people are harping on you could be led to think some sort of great injustice had just taken place, some writers have been literally carpet bombing the web with article after article about how unfair the whole thing is, but it doesn’t change the facts. Unsubstantiated comments such as“most people think……” before droning on about their own self perceived take on public opinion is not an accurate reflection of how the everyday man actually saw the result, looking at replies to these articles I personally have found that overwhelmingly the fans are behind Groves so clearly it’s not the case.
On the night Groves had better movement, he didn’t run, he fought on the back foot and he picked DeGale off, making the normally slick Londoner look clumsy. Floyd Mayweather has made a career fighting on the back foot and has successfully done it for his whole career, running is completely different to fighting defensively. DeGale didn’t put his foot on the gas until it was too late and when he did he wasn’t consistent. He did not win the last 6 rounds, he won a few of them, he went 50-50 in the 8th, he lost the 10th and left the 12th questionable. His flurries were infrequent and he didn’t dominate the rounds in which he was effective. DeGale hurt Groves in the 9th but came out in the next round and dropped back down a gear. I think Groves has shown a marked improvement and I put this down to quality sparring. It would seem that Dirrell’s black eye may not have been a fluke after all, and that some of Dirrell’s skills may have given the Groves something to think about, his feints were good, he was hard to pin down and he kept busy.
I’ve even seen a few comments that suggest the whole thing is just a racist rip off suggesting that DeGale has been subject to a conspiracy; clearly these posters missed the part where Groves’s predominantly mixed race corner surrounded him after the fight for the victory photo while DeGale was flanked by his entirely white corner and manager. If the world is racist I’m glad to say it hasn’t at least affected these two guys, they may hate each other but they aren’t bigots. My experience of British fight fans is that they are fiercely patriotic, and they expect the same from their idols no matter what colour their skin may be. The Brits do hate a big mouth; there is certainly a soft spot for the quiet underdog as well as a soft spot for the flawed guy giving it his all, which is why there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Frank Bruno finally became world heavyweight champion. The lager swilling fight lovers in the UK seem only too happy to cheer on guys like David Haye and Amir Khan and overall I think it’s childish to unfairly stereotype them because it suited an argument.
The one thing we should all take from the weekend’s entertainment is that both fighters are green, they both exuded elements of guys who are relatively recent arrivals from the amateurs. Degale could seriously do with a lesson in humility, I see no reason why he persists in alienating himself from fans, while Groves needs to keep his head in check, talking about world titles in 18 months is foolish, there’s not one guy in the super six who couldn’t take these two upstarts to the cleaners, even a pummeled Arthur Abraham would be too big a risk for either of these two greenhorns.
This may have been a domestic rivalry but it’s not really an important fight in boxing, DeGale got a well deserved reality check, he should now realize the tomato cans he’s been fed by his shifty promoter Frank Warren have given him an over inflated level of confidence, his gold medal isn’t impressing anyone in the pro ranks and his mouth doesn’t win fights. Groves should acknowledge that he’s open when he comes forward, he doesn’t have massive power and that he can be man handled by bigger guys, he should also be wary that he’s susceptible to guys with pop and that his chin is questionable.