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Groves: I thought I won

George GrovesBy Scott Gilfoid: #1 WBC challenger George Groves (21-3, 16 KOs) is still trying to come to terms with losing a close 12 round split decision last Saturday night in his failed title challenge against WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack (20-1-1, 12 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Groves is now a three-time world title challenger loser. He’s fought for world titles three times and lost all three times. I suppose if he keeps getting chances in the future, he’ll eventually win a world title at some point, but I have serious doubts whether he can do that after seeing him fall apart last night in the last six rounds against Badou.

I hate to gloat about the outcome of this fight, but this is exactly what I predicted would happen. I knew Groves would look good for the most part in the first half of the fight against Badou, and I knew Groves would run out of fuel in the 2nd half and wind up losing the fight.

I’ve seen too many of Groves’ fights in the last four years. I know the guy’s pattern in his fights. Groves is basically a six-round fighter at best, and I don’t see that ever changing other than him becoming a 4-round and then a 3-round fighter as he ages more in the coming years. Right now, Groves is trouble for almost anybody in the first six rounds of his fights, but after that he’s totally vulnerable in the second half.

“I thought I won the fight decisively,’’ Groves said. “I thought I controlled the fight with my jab and that I was in control throughout, though, it appeared closer to the judges.

Groves, 27, feels that he did enough to deserve the decision over the talented 31-year-old Badou, but of course two of the three judges felt otherwise in scoring the fight 116-111, 115-112 for Badou, and 114-113 for Groves. After the scores were revealed by the judges, an upset Groves dashed out of the ring without saying a peep to Showtime interviewer Jim Gray.

It looked really bad because it made Groves look like a sore loser. We didn’t see James DeGale storming out of the ring after he lost a controversial decision to Groves in 2011, did we? DeGale stuck around to be interviewed despite believing that he had done enough to deserve the win.

By Groves storming out of the ring after he lost to Badou, it just made him look really bad in my eyes and likely in the eyes of the American fans watching the fight on Showtime pay-per-view. Instead of Groves vacating like that and being upset, he should have been upset without himself for getting dropped in the 1st round, and then running out of gas in the 7th round.

I personally thought Groves came close to winning, as I had him winning rounds 2 through 6, but the combination of his 1st round knockdown and his total collapse in rounds 7 through 12 was too much for him to overcome. If it had been a six round fight, Groves would have easily won because he was clearly the better fighter during the first six rounds of the contest. Unfortunately for Groves, his stamina problems reared its ugly head in the second half of the fight and he wound up gassing out and losing.

I don’t know where Groves goes from here. I imagine he’ll keep his high ranking with the World Boxing Council, but I don’t see him ever beating a talent like Badou. There’s no sense in Groves fighting him again. Badou talked about wanting to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Lucian Bute in his next fight.

If one of those guys can somehow beat Badou, which is very possible because he’s a flawed champion, then Groves might do better against one of those guys to win a world title. I mean, I would give Groves a good chance of beating Chavez Jr. and Bute. However, I don’t see Groves being good enough to hold onto the WBC title for any length of time.

As soon as he faces DeGale, or the Dirrell brothers, he’ll lose the WBC strap. Those guys are a lot better than Groves at this point. Groves isn’t as good as he was back in 2011 in my view, so I think DeGale easily beats him. DeGale has gotten better in the last four years, whereas Groves seems to have aged and his stamina isn’t as good. It wasn’t good even back then, but it appears to have gotten worse.

“It was a legit knockdown in the first round,” Groves said. He landed the right hand over the top, but I have good fitness and I thought I got back in control of that round. But all credit to him though scoring the knockdown in the first round.”

Groves might luck out and get a title shot against IBF champion DeGale. I could see that happening. Obviously it would look really had if that happened because Groves has now lost 3 out of his last 5 fights. Heck, that’s even worse than the 3-3 record that Andre Berto had going into his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. last night. How does DeGale get away with defending his IBF title against a fighter with a 2-3 record in his last five fights? The International Boxing Federation would likely sanction the fight, but it sends a really bad message to the other fighters and to the boxing fans. It would suggest that the sport it little more than popularity contest rather than a sport based on achievement. A fighter with a 2-3 record in his last five fights shouldn’t be fighting for a world title in my view. But then again, I didn’t think Groves rated a world title shot against Badou coming into their fight given that his record was 2-2 in his last four fights.

Former IBF/WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch, who previously stopped Groves twice, had some kind words to say about him on his social media site.

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