By Scott Gilfoid: IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch (31-2, 22 KO’s) expects challenger George Groves (19-0, 15 KO’s) to come out and immediately go into a defensive posture and stay there for 12 rounds this Saturday night in their fight on November 23rd at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, UK.
Froch thinks that if Groves does try and trade with him, he’ll take him quickly. Froch figures that Groves will at least win the respect of fans if he fights in a positive fashion rather than if he runs for 12 rounds to just survive.
For Froch this fight is personal because Groves has gotten under his skin in the several meetings they’ve had with one another to publicize the fight, and he’s been analyzing Froch and finding fault with him for weeks now. Froch hasn’t taken it too well being under Groves’ microscope, and so this fight will give Froch a chance a chance to get even with Groves once and for all.
Froch told On The Ropes Boxing Radio “George Groves is going to try and go on the back foot and survive like he did against James DeGale. I would be very surprised if he comes out and stands in front of me, especially early on. I think it’s going to be a tactical performance, and if he tries to do that then he’ll lose miserably on points. But if he tries to come and fight and win, he’ll go out on his shield. He’ll get knocked out, but at least he’ll get a bit of credit for doing that. Potentially it can go the distance. He’s arrogant, disrespectful and childish. He’s not fought anyone at the world level. He’s in for a serious whipping as far as I’m concerned.”
I’m not sure that I see things going like Froch envisions it to be. Maybe if the fight were to have taken place several years ago when Groves was younger, but a lot of things have changed with Groves growing stronger and Froch growing older. Groves is ready to kick Froch off his throne and take over as the UK’s best super middleweight. Obviously, Groves won’t be the best 168 lb. fighter in the world after the Froch fight, because there are a number of fighters that would likely whip him, but he’ll certainly be the No.1 guy in the UK after this one if he can defeat Froch.
I don’t see Groves running like Froch thinks he will, but I also don’t think Groves is going to stand in the pocket and look to fight toe-to-toe until the bitter end. Groves is too smart for that, and he’s going to try a number of different things to keep Froch guessing. Groves will likely be using his speed advantage to get in close, rip off 3-4 quick shots to Froch’s head and body, and then retreat to the safety of the outside before Froch has had much of a chance to throw something back at him.
Froch, as tall as he is, doesn’t have a great jab, so he won’t be able to dominate the shorter Groves when he’s on the outside. I think Groves will end up using a mixture of pot shots and good inside fighting to get the better of Froch. I can see this one looking a lot like Andre Ward’s win over Edwin Rodriguez last night with Groves using his superior hand speed to hit Froch cleanly with punches and avoiding most of the punches he throws in return.
It’s going to be devastating to Froch’s career if he loses this fight, because he won’t be seen as the top guy in the UK anymore at super middleweight, and he’ll definitely be seen differently. Will Froch continue his career after a loss to Groves? I’m not sure. I guess it depends on how badly Groves beats him. At 36, it would take a long time for Froch to come back from a defeat such as this, and I’m not so sure he’d be committed to taking all that time to get back to where he was before, if it were even possible.