Froch picks Groves to beat DeGale
By Scott Gilfoid: IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs) could be facing George Groves (25-3, 18 KOs) this year in a unification fight if Groves beats Fedor Chudinov to win the WBA strap, and if DeGale gets past both WBC champ Badou Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) and #1 WBC mandatory Callum Smith. Sky sports commentator Carl Froch is picking Groves to beat DeGale if they face each other.
Groves, 28, already beat DeGale by a questionable 12 round majority division six years ago in 2011, and he’s put together four straight wins over weak opposition since his latest loss to Badou Jack in 2015. These are the guys that Groves beat: Eduard Gutknecht, Martin Murray, David Brophy, and Andrea Di Luisa.
Froch said this to skysports.com about his thoughts on Groves beating DeGale:
“I think the skill set of James DeGale against the fitness and hard work, of late, of George Groves,” said Froch. “I don’t think the skill set would be enough, so I would probably tip George Groves to beat him in a tight decision.”
Since Froch has already twice beaten Groves, I kind of wonder whether he doesn’t want to see him get whipped by someone else like DeGale. I mean, if DeGale defeats Groves in an equal fashion, would that not make Froch’s wins over him seem less significant? I believe that would be the case, yes. As such, I don’t see Froch’s comments about Groves beating DeGale as being valid. In other words, I don’t believe Froch really thinks that Groves will beat DeGale. How can he? Groves fails each time he steps it up against better opposition. I don’t consider Groves’ last four fights as coming against quality fighters. Sorry, I don’t rate Murray, Di Luisa, Brophy and Gutknecht. I saw those as safe fights for Groves going in, and he made it through them. Groves didn’t look great against of them.
For me, DeGale beats Groves all day long, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I think DeGale is a better fighter than Groves, and he knows how to beat him now by putting pressure on him for 12 rounds.
Froch thinks Groves’ fitness has improved. I don’t agree. In Groves’ last couple of fights against Murray and Gutknecht, neither of those guys pushed a fast pace for 12 rounds. Gutknecht gave Groves a lot of problems by pressuring him in the first four rounds, but he stopped pressuring him completely after getting hit with some hard shots in the 4th. As for Murray, he never pressured Groves at all.
Murray fought like someone that was worried about gassing out. Like usual, Murray hid behind hid clam-shell guard for most of the fight, and looked like a sparring partner the way he just covered up. How can you say that Groves’ fitness level has improved when he’s fighting a guy that was just covering up behind his clam-shell and not applying any pressure? Believe me; if that had been Badou Jack in the ring with Groves in his last two fights, we would have seen him huffing and puffing and his face likely turning red from exhaustion. Badou was the last guy Groves fought that put any pressure on him. The other guys Groves fought recently didn’t have the talent or the fighting style to put him under any pressure.
Froch needs to wait for the smoke to clear from DeGale’s fights against Badou Jack and Callum Smith before he starts chirping about what Groves will do against DeGale. Likewise, Groves still needs to beat Fedor Chudinov before he’ll be free to fight DeGale again. I know Chudinov is a very, very vulnerable fighter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wears Groves down and knocks him out simply by forcing him to fight hard for 12 rounds.
Chudinov’s hand speed is glacially slow though, and that obviously is going to help Groves. I don’t know why the World Boxing Association is having Groves fight Chudinov. I think he should be fighting #6 WBA Anthony Dirrell or #7 David Benavidez. I rate both of those guys WAY above Chudinov in talent. The WBA is doing Groves a favor by letting him fight Chudinov for the WBA belt rather than Dirrell or Benavidez. I hate to say it, but I think Groves would be knocked out by Dirrell and Benavidez. Those are two major punchers. If Groves up the WBA belt, it will put him immediately in a position where he’s going to need to defend against the talents in the division. I can’t see Groves holding onto the WBA title for any length of time unless he can be steered around the talented fighters. However, he might just be able to do that because he’ll be the WBA ‘Super World’ super middleweight champion. That means the WBA ‘regular’ champion Tyron Zeuge will be the guy that has to face the dangerous guys like Dirrell and Benavidez. Zeuge’s time as the WBA champion could be over in lightning fashion once the World Boxing Association orders him to fight Dirrell or Benavidez. They’ll likely take the judges out of the equation by knocking Zeuge out.