Hearn wants Groves for DeGale, Martin Murray or Callum Smith
By Scott Giloid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn is eager to setup a fight with one of his stable fighters in with the struggling #3 WBC George Groves (21-3, 16 KOs) in 2016 in order to take advantage of Groves’ popularity and ability to sell tickets.
You can also argue that Hearn smells blood in the water with Groves, as it’s painfully obvious that his career is sinking into the depths of the sea with his two losses to Carl Froch and his recent defeat at the hands of WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack last September.
Hearn wants Groves to face one or more of the following Matchroom stable fighters: IBF 168lb champ James DeGale (22-1, 14 KOs), #1 WBC Callum Smith (18-0, 13 KOs) or #8 WBO Martin Murray (32-3-1, 15 KOs).
Groves, 27, has a fight coming up next month against Italian 2nd tier fighter Andrea Di Luisa (18-3, 14 KOs) on January 30th in a scheduled 12 round fight at the Copper Box Arena, in London, UK. This will be Groves’ first fight since losing to Badou Jack by a 12 round split decision on September 12th of this year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Di Luisa recently was knocked out in the 4th round by 35-year-old former IBF 168lb champion Lucian Bute last August. Bute has since been beaten by DeGale by a 12 round unanimous decision last November in Canada in a fight that was a heck of a lot closer than the scores handed down from the three judges that worked the fight. I had the fight scored a draw, yet the three judges scored it 117-111, 117-111, and 116-112.
“To make that fight [DeGale vs. Groves] that it should be, I need DeGale in the UK market,” Hearn said to IFL TV. “They’ve got to be near each other. It’ll be really interesting to see how George Groves gets on January 30th. He’s got a new trainer…You’ve got Callum Smith fight for him maybe. He’s stressed that he wants that fight. We’d love that fight. You’ve got the James DeGale fight for him maybe. You’ve got the Martin Murray fight. I think Groves vs. Martin Murray is really a good fight as well,” Hearn said.
Groves beat DeGale four years ago in 2011 in defeating him by a 12 round majority decision that could have easily gone the other way. I had DeGale winning that fight. Groves was seemingly in his prime of his career at that point. Since then, Groves’ record is 8-3, with defeats to Froch and Badou Jack.
You can make a strong argument that Groves is on the downside of his career at this point, as he doesn’t seem able to take hard shots to the head without getting hurt. Badou had Groves down on the canvas in the opening round of their fight, and Froch twice knocked Groves out. Christopher Rebrasse had Groves hurt in their fight in 2014, and even Denis Douglin appeared to stun Groves on one occasion. I’m not sure if Groves needs a long vacation or what, but he definitely doesn’t look like the same fighter that beat DeGale four years ago.
Martin Murray, 33, lost his last fight to WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham by a 12 round split decision last November in Hannover, Germany. Murray had been flapping his gums about possibly retiring if he lost that fight, but he’s been quiet ever since the fight ended. My guess is Murray isn’t retiring, and would leap at the chance of fighting Groves for a nice little payday if it were offered to him.
Murray is still ranked in the top 10 by the WBO at #8, so it’s a fight that would make sense for Groves to take if he doesn’t get knocked out or outpointed by Di Luisa next month. Murray doesn’t have much in the way of punching power, so it would be a winnable fight for Groves unless he gets nailed by one of Murray’s body shots. Murray does seem to punch well to the body. That’s the only way I could see Groves getting stopped by him.
Callum Smith would probably be a bad fight for Groves, because Smith can crack a little bit. Smith is more of a body puncher though, and very, very vulnerable to head shots. This would be a winnable fight for Groves as well as long as he could handle the body punching from Smith. It would be the fastest way for Groves to get back to the No.1 spot with the World Boxing Council to get a rematch with Badou, as Smith is ranked #1 by the WBC.
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