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Groves vs. Murray: George extremely confident about June 25 fight


By Scott Gilfoid: George Groves and Martin Murray will be stepping into the last chance saloon on June 25, when the two of them battle it out in a WBA super middleweight title eliminator at O2 Arena in London, England. The fact that the promoters for these two fighters were lucky enough to have the World Boxing Association make this a 168lb title eliminator doesn’t erase the fact that these are two BADLY struggling fighters right now.

Even the winner of the Groves-Murray fight is going to have a tough time keeping their careers afloat for long as viable contenders. However, it was smart of #2 WBC, #3 WBO, #4 WBA, #10 IBF Groves and #10 WBC Murray to target the two WBA titles at 168, because those are were the easy marks are at in terms of the champions.

Giovanni De Carolis (24-6, 12 KOs) holds down the WBA World super middleweight title right now, and the 37-year-old Felix Sturm (40-5-3, 18 KOs) is the WBA Super World super middleweight champion. Sturm appeared to lose his last fight to Fedor Chudinov last February, but he was given a controversial 12 round majority decision victory. I thought Chudinov won the fight by four rounds. Never the less, Groves and Murray would likely have an easy time beating Sturm or De Carolis. As such, you’ve got to admit the winner of the Groves-Murray fight has a GREAT chance of becoming a world champion despite their limited talent and the many times they’ve both failed at winning world titles in the past when stepping up to the plate.

Murray is a four-time world title failure, and Groves a three-time failure. I imagine they both would continue to fail if they took on the good champions right now in Badou Jack (WBC), James DeGale (IBF) and Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (WBO). They’re obviously not going that route, as the WBA is letting the Groves vs. Murray fight be a 168lb WBA eliminator.

Groves is the younger guy at 28 compared to the 33-year-old Murray. However, inside the ring, Murray appears to be the younger fighter due to his vastly superior stamina.

“The truth is, you have to say: ‘Where does the guy who loses go from here?’,” said Groves to “Every loss as a pro is a difficult rebuilding [job], you go back into that rebuilding stage and I am certainly not prepared to do it again and I am certainly not prepared to lose to Martin Murray. I think I am better than him so it is down to me not to let myself down and beat him,” said Groves.

I see that Groves is still blabbing about him being better than Murray. I don’t agree with that. I think Murray has the better overall talent than Groves. Murray has better defensive skills, and his chin is a heck of a lot better. I think Murray is a better body puncher than Groves, and he’s got far better stamina. Groves is basically just a six-round fighter.

Yeah, Groves can fight hard in a 12 round fight if the pace is slow enough for him to get plenty of breathers. But if Murray pushes a fast pace for the first six rounds, I see Groves turning red in the face and gassing out completely in the second half of the contest. The thing with Groves is once he gasses out, he stays gassed out for the remainder of the fight. Groves doesn’t get his second wind and start coming on after resting up for a round.

I’m not sure if it’s the end for the loser of the Groves-Murray fight. Let’s be serious; these guys are promoted by huge promotional companies in Sauerland for Groves and Matchroom Sport for Murray. They’re going to keep getting opportunities to rebuild their careers regardless of what happens on June 25. What will hurt the loser of the Groves-Murray fight is if they keep on losing future fights. If that happens, then I see them being cut loose by their promoters. But the Groves-Murray loser is not going to get dumped after their June 25 fight.

“It won’t be an easy fight but it’s a fight I am supremely confident of and I know I will go out and do the job,” said Groves.

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Groves is a talented six-round fighter, yeah. I think he’s better than Murray in the first three rounds, but after round three, Groves’ face starts turning red, and his game goes downhill. Groves kind of reminds me of a larger version of Amir Khan. If you look at the 29-yar-old Khan’s fights nowadays, he’s a very good fighter for six rounds, but after he gets to the 7th, he starts getting hit more and more as he fades. Groves is the same type of guy. He’ll look good for three to six rounds, and then get tired and fall apart in the second half of his fights when facing quality opposition.

The thing is, Groves has only fought three good fighters in his career, and has arguably lost to all three in Carl Froch, Badou Jack and James DeGale. Groves beat DeGale by a controversial 12 round decision in 2011, but many boxing fans believe DeGale deserved the win. In that fight, Groves fought well for the first five rounds, and then gassed out in the last seven rounds.

I don’t know how the judges could give Groves the victory, because I thought DeGale won rounds six through twelve with his pressure and cleaner landing shots. My point is that Groves was gassing out even back in 2011, when he was a younger fighter than he is today. Groves’ stamina problems are still with him in 2016, and I suspect they’ll rear their ugly head on June 25.

Groves vs. Murray is the co-feature bout on the Anthony Joshua vs. Dominic Breazeale card at the O2 Arena in London, England. Let’s face it; it’s not a great co-feature bout, is it? I think it would have been better if Murray’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport put middleweight Chris Eubank Jr. as the co-feature bout, but only if he agreed to fight someone talented from the top 15 in the division. Unfortunately, Eubank Jr. is fighting domestic level fighter Tom Doran (17-0, 7 KOs) in a defense of his British middleweight title. The fight figures to be an ugly mismatch.

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