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George Groves – Martin Murray tangle on June 25


By Scott Gilfoid: Martin Murray (33-3-1, 16 KOs) wants to take #2 WBC 168 contender George Groves (23-3, 18 KOs) into the deeper waters and drown him in their fight this month on June 25 at the O2 Arena in London, UK. Groves has the superior punching power, and is at his most dangerous early in his fights.

#10 WBC Murray is mindful of Groves’ power early on, which is why he’ll surely be looking to take him into the later rounds so that he can tire him out and score a knockout. Groves was stopped twice by Carl Froch in the past after he took him past the seventh round. Groves also looked faded in his fight last year against Badou Jack when he took him into the later rounds.

Groves was fine during the first six rounds, and even appeared to be in control of the fight. However, after the sixth, Groves’ face turned red and he gassed out badly in the last six rounds. Badou was then able to take control over the fight and cruise to a narrow 12 round split decision victory. Badou was hardly spectacular in that fight. He was just able to stay on the same level for the full fight. Groves peaked after six rounds and BADLY faded down the stretch.

“I train for fights to go all the way and take my opponents into deep waters,” said Murray via Matchroom Sport. “I’ve shown that I have got a good engine and can sustain a good work rate over 12 rounds. George has stamina issues, that’s well known, the fight favors me late on with him fading and my high work rate over 12 rounds, but it favors him early with his power and I know that, and it makes for an exciting fight.”

Murray won his last fight against little known Cedric Spera last month in a 2nd round knockout on May 7. That was a mismatch from the word go and hardly a sporting fight. Before that, Murray lost to former WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham by a 12 round split decision last November. The fight was up for grabs in the last three rounds, but Murray was unable to throw enough punches to win those important rounds. He seemed to play it safe rather than take the chances that he needed to for him to win.

I’m giving Murray a decent chance of winning this fight. He’s got a reasonably good chin, and excellent stamina. Murray doesn’t wear down in his fights. He’s able to fight hard for 12 rounds. Where Murray went wrong in his loss to Abraham last year was his unwillingness to get in the trenches with him when he needed to. Murray showed too much respect for Abraham.

Murray cannot afford to make the same mistake against Groves because he’ll surely lose. The best way to beat Groves is to make him fight hard for three minutes of every round for a sustained period of time. If you let Groves fight at a slow pace, he can go 12 rounds easily. Murray has to force a fast pace if he wants to destroy Groves like Froch did.

“I have one of the best defences in world boxing, I’ve been in with better fighters than George who have not been able to get rid of me and I am that confident in this fight that the only way he can beat me is if I lose concentration and get caught with something stupid early,” said Murray.

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Murray has underrated punching power. He can definitely punch when he sits down on his shots. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s able to hurt Groves frequently on June 25, and make him gun-shy. Groves looked timid even in his fight against Andrea Di Luisa last January. Groves didn’t get brave in that fight until he realized that Di Luisa wasn’t sitting down on his shots and was fighting timidly. That’s when Groves started to go after him.

Murray has to throw some power shots and come after Groves early so that he can gain his respect. He cannot wait until the later rounds, hoping that Groves will be worn out by that point.

If Murray waits, he’ll get knocked out or fall hopelessly behind in the fight to the point where he’ll need a KO to win. Murray can’t hide behind his clam-shell guard for 12 rounds like he did in his loss to former WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and hope that he’ll get a decision win. It doesn’t work like that. Murray can’t go into the sparring partner mode like he did against Martinez if he wants to beat Groves.

“He was clinically beaten by Carl Froch and those defeats took a lot out of him,” said Murray. “He hasn’t had a fight that hard since and on June 25 he’s going to be in a real fight. When it gets hard for him, psychologically it’s going to be tough. I will break him and he will crumble.”

Murray is right about Groves not having to fight hard since his losses to Froch. Badou fought at a close pace like he did recently against Lucian Bute, which kept Groves from gassing as badly as he did in the Froch fights. The thing is, I’m not sure if Murray is capable of fighting at a fast enough pace to make Groves tired. Murray tends to fight in a slow style that leaves a lot of lulls in between exchanges. After Murray’s knockout loss to Gennady Golovkin in 2015, Murray adopted the Golovkin high pressure fighting style for his next three fights and looked good in scoring knockouts in all three of the fights. However, Murray did that against weak opposition. When he fought Abraham, Murray went back to his usual slow style of fighting and he lost the match. For Murray to beat Groves, he’ll need to go back to the Golovkin style he was using last year and force Groves into exchanges for the full three minutes of every round. I don’t know if Murray will do this though. He might revert to form and go back to hiding behind his clam-shell guard in every round and wind up getting outworked by Groves.

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