George Groves vs. Martin Murray on June 25
By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn will be adding former world title challenger George Groves (23-3, 18 KOs) and Martin Murray (32-3-1, 15 KOs) to the undercard of IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s next fight on June 25 at the O2 Arena in London, UK. With Joshua’s fight likely to be on Sky Box Office PPV, it makes it imperative that Hearn find a good solid match-up for the undercard in the co-feature bout.
However, Groves vs. Murray isn’t official yet, but it’s definitely one that has a good chance of ending up on the undercard on June 25. Murray plans on fighting next month on May 7 on the Anthony Crolla vs. Ismael Barroso card at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK. This would be a tune-up fight for the 33-year-old Murray. He lost his last fight to former WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham by a 12 round split decision last November.
This was the fourth time that Murray has fought for a world title and the fourth time that he’s failed to win a world title. What was especially incredible was that Murray got two chances to fight for world titles in 2015.
First, he lost to WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin by an 11th round knockout in February 2015. Then nine months later, Murray fought Abraham for his WBO title. Murray has just been given boatloads of opportunities for world title shots. It’s too bad that other fighters in the sport aren’t given chances like this because there are a lot of fighters that never get opportunities to fight for world titles.
Then you see a guy like Murray getting world title shot after world title shot, and it just makes shake your head and realize that the sport of boxing has a long way to go before it’s managed like the NFL and the NBA. In those sports, you have to win and work your way to get to the championship finals. In boxing, it seems that it’s more of a popularity contest in many cases. It also helps being with a powerful promoter.
“It’s looking like a goer and it’s going to be chief support on the Anthony Joshua card,” said Murray to skysports.com. “It’s a tough fight for us both and the winner goes on to bigger and better things. The loser has to earn the chance if it ever comes again. I think he’s [Groves] got stamina issues. Whether he’s worked that out and he’s not got them anymore, I don’t know. It might be that he’s not discovered how to do it or that he’s got an issue and there’s nothing he can do.”
Groves is ranked #2 by the WBC, but you can argue that he really should be ranked near the bottom of the WBC’s rankings due to all his recent defeats. Groves has three losses in his last seven fights. He failed in world title shots against Carl Froch twice and against Badou Jack. The only wins that Groves has compiled were against weaker fighters like David Brophy, Denis Douglin, Christopher Rebrasse and Andrea Di Luisa.
Groves can certainly beat the weaker guys, but every time he steps up, he gets smacked down and literally put in his place. It may be that Groves will never have the talent to become a world champion. Then again, with Sauerland backing him, Groves could eventually win a world title and become a paper champion. If Groves is given enough chances to win a world title, like we’ve seen with Murray, it’s quite possible that he’ll eventually win a world title.
When/if that happens, Groves might have a nice little run if Sauerland can match him carefully against the right type of opponents, and if the sanctioning body ranks less than dangerous guys at the top of their rankings repeatedly like we’ve seen with the IBF with their rankings of Kevin Bizier and Jo Jo Dan at number 1 at 147. IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook has found it so incredibly easy to hold onto his IBF title due to the IBF’s rankings that he literally could hold onto the title for years and years if the IBF continues to rank guys like that.
Groves definitely has stamina issues that probably aren’t going to go away any time soon. You’ve got to figure that if Groves is dealing with stamina issues while he’s still young at 27, then those problems probably aren’t going to get any better as he heads into his 30s in the next few years. I mean, it’s pretty clear that Groves is going to likely have stamina issues his entire career. But for Murray to take advantage of this, he’s going to need to put some actual pressure on him to tire him out.
Groves won’t get tired if Murray just hides behind his clam-shell high guard all night long waiting to throw an occasional one-two combination. Murray will need to forget about the clam-shell guard and go after Groves to make him expend energy like a battery, because that’s the only way that Groves will fade. When Groves is fighting punching bags, he doesn’t get tired. Groves can literally pound a clam-shell type fighter all night long without fading. We saw how Groves gave Glen Johnson a bad beating in the past when Johnson just covered up. Murray will get the stuffing beaten out of him if he just covers up all night long like we’ve seen from him in the past against the likes of Sergio Martinez, Golovkin and to a certain extend Abraham.
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