Froch vs. Groves on November 23rd at Phones 4u Arena in Manchester
By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn finally found venue for the November 23rd fight between IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch (31-2, 22 KO’s) and unbeaten #1 WBO, #2 WBA, #6 IBF, George Groves (19-0, 15 KO’s). The two will be fighting at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England.
Froch and Groves will be having a news conference next month on September 17th to start the promotion going for the fight. In the UK this fight is a big deal, but pretty much elsewhere this one won’t register a blip on the radar screen. Groves isn’t a big enough name for the fight to get much attention outside of the UK.
That’s not to say that I don’t think Groves can win. I definitely expect him to win the fight, because Froch is starting to show his age, and he’s ready to be beaten at this point in his career. If it wasn’t Groves, it would be someone like Edwin Rodriguez or Thomas Oosthuizen that would do the job on him.
Hearn said to ESPN “Phone lines, Twitter, and emails haven’t stopped for tickets since we confirmed the fight. We are expecting another instant sellout when we go on sale on September 17. I’m delighted to bring this event to Manchester on November 23. This Battle of Britain is a fascinating fight between a true legend in British boxing in Carl Froch and a superb young talent in George Groves.”
This is funny. Carl Froch a British legend? I think Hearn is going a bit overboard in trying to sell this fight. Froch just got whipped by Andre Ward, and he also has a loss to Mikkel Kessler, as well as what should have been a defeat to Andre Dirrell. How is that Froch is a legend when he was beaten by a prime Kessler, Ward and Dirrell? No, I don’t Froch as a legend.
He’s just one of the belt holders at 168. The real champion in the super middleweight division is Andre Ward in my view. That’s the problem with having multiple titles in each division. You get guys that hold world title belts that aren’t the best in the division. It’s sad the way that the sanctioning bodies do this kind of thing.
Froch-Groves will do well in the UK, but we’re talking about a small market. That same fight probably wouldn’t draw flies in the U.S, even if they were both from the United States. You got to bring a little more to the table than what I’ve seen from those guys to sellout arenas in the U.S.
Groves hasn’t really fought anyone good to earn the title shot against Froch. Groves’ best victory of his career was a controversial 12 round majority decision win over James DeGale in 2011. I have dog in this hunt, but I thought DeGale clearly won that fight. I’m not surprised that Groves got the decision though, because the crowd was booing DeGale from the moment he walked into the O2 Arena that night, and they were cheering everything that Groves did. I count that as a loss on Groves’ record.
There’s nothing wrong with him getting beaten by DeGale, but it does show that there’s some flaws there in Groves’ game. Groves beat 34-year-old Noe Gonzalez Alcoba in his last fight. Groves other notable fight was against 44-year-old Glen Johnson. As you can tell, there’s been a lot of soft match-making for Groves, and that makes it almost impossible to tell whether he’s any good or not.
I pretty much just judge him by the DeGale fight, and that tells me he’s pretty flawed. But like I said, I think Groves is good enough to beat Froch right now. Had this fight taken place 2 years ago, I think Froch would have won, but he seems to have slipped a couple of notches due to the ravages of age and the wear tear of his difficult fights.
Froch hasn’t done much since Ward beat him in 2011. Froch has wins over Yusaf Mack, Lucian Bute and a close win over Kessler. Froch was staggered by Kessler in the 11th round of that fight, and had Kessler been better conditioned, he likely would have knocked him out. For Froch, this fight is coming at the wrong time in his career, and I expect it to go badly for him.
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