Groves is only option for Dirrell
By Gav Duthie: Anthony Dirrell might be right about George Groves not deserving a title shot after back to back defeats to Carl Froch but the fact is there isn’t much else out there.
Looking at Dirrell’s list of alternatives for a voluntary defence before he faces Groves as his mandatory challenger it makes uninspiring reading. Unless he fancies fighting his brother Andre Dirrell he won’t make any more money or add to his marketability other than in a showdown with Groves.
The Londoner got back to winning ways on Saturday night against Frenchman Christopher Rebrasse in a bout with a 3 pronged incentive.
(1) The European Title
(2) The WBC Silver Title
(3) Final Eliminator for mandatory to WBC title
Did beating average contender Rebrasse 22-3-3 (6) deserve such reward, of course not but Kalle Sauerland played the game perfectly and achieved the best path for his fighter. The WBC knows that Groves, despite his fragility, is a big name in the division just now and they are in the money game like everybody else. A fight against Dirrell makes sense.
I have changed my stance since Saturday night on Groves future after hearing some of the nonsense spouted by fellow professionals like Carl Froch and Tony Bellew and reading some of the assessments of Groves performance. I originally felt that Groves was probably diving in too early to fight for another world title. As a young 26 year old with only 21 fights prior to Saturday I thought he might benefit from a few fights at European level. After listening to Froch saying Dirrell would knock him out and Bellew saying Abraham would also knock him out my feelings changed. Bellew also pointed out Abraham’s had a tough defence against Paul Smith (who Groves obliterated in 2 rounds). If fellow professionals feel that anyone with a bit of power will knock Groves out then why wait to test that theory. George could have 1-2 or even 10 fights at European level and these guys would still say any decent puncher will knock him out. Groves is already a top boxer, he showed much slicker skills than Carl Froch in their 2 fights and I think he has more skill than Anthony Dirrell also. His chin is the big question and no amount of tune up fights is gong to change that. This is why I feel he should go straight in at the deep end again. There are definitely silly mistakes that he needs to rectify and there are some issues about his stamina but with a jab as good as his and a workrate that saw him throw 952 punches against Rebrasse it is only really his punch resistance that is in question. Whether he fights Dirrell in December this year, Jan 2015 or waits a couple of years he is as ready now as he ever will be.
Champion: Anthony Dirrell
1. George Groves
2. Julio Chavez Jnr
3. Gilberto Ramirez
4. Christopher Rebrasse
5. Derek Edwards
6. Sakio Bika
7. Alexander Brand
8. Badou Jack
9. Andre Dirrell
10. Calum Smith
From the above list the most dangerous on paper looks to be Gilberto Ramirez 29-0 (23) but he doesn’t have a big reputation yet so Groves is less of a risk. The biggest name is Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr but he is chasing Carl Froch and is unlikely to fight Dirrell as a result. The best boxer on that list is Andre Dirrell but seeing as they are brothers we can forget that happening. As the first defence is voluntary he can go out with the top list as long as the WBC agree but other than the likes of the awkward South African Thomas Oouisthuizen or former WBO champion Robert Stiegletz there is little exciting out there. There are still many casual fans I speak to that think Anthony actually is Andre Dirrell after the latter achieved fame in the super 6 tournament when he fought Froch and Arthur Abraham. Beating the tough Sakio Bika was certainly an achievement but the Australian has lost most of his big fights against the likes of Sam Soliman, Lucian Bute and Andre Ward so the win is good but certainly not historic.
In summary Anthony Dirrell is still not a huge name yet and a win over Groves would certainly help promote him further. At the moment I would back Dirrell to beat Groves and although both fighters don’t seem to think too much of each other I think it is the biggest fight out there for either at the moment.
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