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Groves vs. Murray: Martin shouldn’t bank on me getting tired, says George


By Scott Gilfoid: #2 WBC, #4 WBA George Groves (23-3, 18 KOs) and #10 WBC Martin Murray (33-3-1, 16 KOs) will be fighting in a WBA super middleweight title eliminator this Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, UK. The winner of the Groves-Murray fight will be the mandatory challenger of WBA World super middleweight champion Giovanni De Carolis. That’s kind of a scary thought because neither of these guys has done much to deserve a title shot so quickly after they were beaten in failed world title shots.

Groves’ history of gassing out in his fights is quite evident. He’s a good six-round fighter, but after that point, he fades and implodes. Groves says he’s fixed his stamina issues with the help of trainer Shane McGuigan, and he feels that Murray shouldn’t count on him fading late in this fight.

“I’m looking to steal the show,” said Groves to Sky Sports about his fight against Murray on Saturday on the Joshua vs. Breazeale card. “Neither of us can afford to lose. I don’t plan on ever losing again. I’m looking forward to showing all the improvements I’ve made on June 25.”

“I’ve worked on endurance and stamina. I’m fully capable now of fighting at a high intensity for 12 full rounds,” Groves continued. “Everyone looks at me and thinks stamina issues, and that I’m dangerous early and they think to get me late. I wouldn’t bank on me getting tired. I think I’ve got the tools to beat Martin. I’ve got natural advantages – height, reach, size, power. He’s a clever boxer, but so am I. He’s going to have to find a solution to a lot of big problems I’m going to present him, and I don’t think he’s going to find any answers for them. Once the shots start landing, start piercing the guard, and me forcing myself on him, I don’t think he’s going to be able to cope.”

Murray, 33, has a good chance of winning the fight against Groves just by hanging around until the later rounds to go after him when he fades on cue. I don’t buy into the ‘I’ve improved my stamina’ bit coming from Groves, because he’s always had stamina issues since he was in his early 20s. I mean, if you stamina is horrible in your early 20s, and then it sure as heck isn’t going to be better now that you’re nearing 30. You either have good stamina or you don’t. You’re not going to get better in that department as you get older. It doesn’t work like that.

I think Groves is dreaming. It’s like a fighter with fragile chin. His chin likely isn’t going to get better as he gets older. The question about the Groves-Murray fight is whether Murray can come up with enough power to KO Groves late in the contest when he starts turning red in the face and gassing out like he always does. Murray’s career knockout percentage is a mere 43% compared to Groves’ 69%. Murray likely isn’t going to get a knockout of Groves going by past history, which is why it would be in Murray’s best interest to fight hard to try and win a decision. It would also help Murray to wear Groves down if he fights hard right off the bat, because he’s not going to be able to tire him out if he hides behind his clam-shell guard for the first six rounds. To get Groves to fade, you have to fight him. You can’t just be a punching bag hiding behind your clam-shell like Murray frequently does in his fights when facing better opposition. Murray lost his recent bout against WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham last year because he wouldn’t come out from hiding behind his high guard to throw some actual punches.

“If you look at the Golovkin fight, Golovkin obviously hits hard. I’ve sparred with him, and I know he’s got power. He found the target and he built from there. I know what I need to do. I’m looking forward to beating him,” said Groves.

Groves can hit hard, but I think Murray can handle his power if he needs to for the occasional shots that pierce his guard. Groves looked good recently in his fights against David Brophy and Andrea Di Luisa, but those were mismatches. Groves was able to knockout those two 2nd tier fighters in the early rounds before his stamina issues could start rearing their ugly heads. I’d like to think that Murray will be able to get to the second half of the contest so that the boxing fans can see a real fight and not just a bout with Groves hitting a punching bag for 12 rounds.

Murray has got to fight Groves like he did in his mismatches against Cedric Spera, Jose Miguel Torres, Mizet Bajretveric and Georgi Beroshvili. Murray actually came out from behind his protected clam-shell guard in those fights to throw some punches, and he looked good, I must admit. It looked to me like Murray was aping Gennady Golovkin with the way he fights, because he was really attacking these fighters.

Sadly, Murray went back to using his high guard and fighting passively in his loss to Abraham last November. I mean, Murray gave Abraham WAY too much respect by not attacking him the way he needed to. The 24-year-old talent Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez showed Murray how it’s done last April by him going after the 36-year-old German and clowning him for 12 rounds. Murray cannot afford to fight like he did against Abraham when he faces Groves on Saturday, because if he fights like that, he will surely lose.

“It’s a rebuilding job for George Groves,” said Froch to Sky Sports. “I think it’s going to be a difficult job to get over the mental losses of three world title challenges, but I am sure he’s young enough to come back and do well.”

Yeah, I don’t think Groves has quite gotten over his past losses to Carl Froch and Badou Jack. Those defeats have got to be haunting Groves because he gassed out in each of them and looked horrible at the end.

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