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Groves-Barakat: George with soft touch on Saturday, March 23rd

George GrovesBy Scott Gilfoid: Well, promoter Eddie Hearn isn’t exactly challenging his fighter super middleweight George Groves (17-0, 13 KO’s) by putting him in with quality opponents. This Saturday night, Groves will be facing journeyman Baker Barakat (37-13-4, 25 KO’s) in a scheduled eight round bout on the undercard of the Arthur Abraham vs. Robert Stieglitz rematch at the GETEC Arena in Magdeburg, Germany.

The idea here is to give Groves, 24, some visibility to attract interest in a fight between him and the winner of the Abraham vs. Stieglitz, but why in the heck isn’t Hearn’s willing to test Groves against someone with an actual pulse. This is the second soft touch that Hearn has set him up with since Groves joined his Matchroom Sport stable.

Groves wiped some guy named Dario German Balmaceda in three rounds on March 9th of this month, and Balmaceda looked like he’d been pulled from the crowd and thrown in the ring. Talk about your mismatches. That one was sickening, and I thought Hearn had gotten it out of his system, but here he is putting Groves in with an even worse mismatch against the 32-year-old Barakat.

I think this is kind of telling about the kinds of opponents Hearn will be matching Groves up against if he’s able to get his hands on one of the 168 pound titles. We could see the kind of soft matchmaking that we’ve seen from fellow Brit WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly, where Groves would just sit on the WBO title and milk it against bottom feeders for as long as possible without being challenged to face the top contenders like the Dirrell brothers, Sakio Bika and talented champions like Andre Ward.

Honestly, there’s not much to say about Barakat except that he’s lost two out of his last three fights. He does have a six round decision over Khoren Gevor, but you can’t say much about a win like that because it’s six rounds. I see anything less than 10 rounds as exhibition fights, and they shouldn’t even count on a fighters resume.

Groves will be fighting on the undercard of the Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler fight on May 25th at the O2 Arena in London. This is the fight where Hearn has promised to land a big named opponent for Groves to fight, but guess what? I don’t see Hearn getting any big named opponents for Groves. The name he’s likely going to grab is the recently knocked out Brian Magee, and I for one don’t consider that a big name. I don’t even consider that as a moderately big name. It’s just another safe fight for Groves, but I guess the Brits will be impressed with that mismatch and thinks it’s grand fight.

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