By Jeff Aranow: George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) wants to leave no doubt on Saturday night in his fight against unbeaten Jamie Cox (24-0, 13 KOs) in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament [WBSS] at Wembley Arena in London, UK. Groves, 29, has to win and win impressively to prove to the world that he deserves to be viewed as the No.1 fighter in the WBSS.
(Photo credit: World Boxing Super Series)
Groves will be defending his WBA Super World super middleweight title against Cox, who will be getting a once in a lifetime world title shot in this fight. This is Cox’s ‘Rocky’ moment in being picked out to fight Groves for his title despite being totally undeserving of the title fight. It’s up to Cox to prove that he can upset the odds and pull off a monstrous upset. Even a draw would be a huge shock to the boxing world, as Cox is more domestic level than world class in terms of talent.
Groves will need an emphatic victory on Saturday over the 31-year-old Cox to show that he belongs with IBO 168 lb. champion Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs) in the semifinals in January 2018. Eubank Jr. did his part in dispatching Avni Yildirim in 3 rounds last Saturday night in his quarterfinals match in Germany. Eubank Jr. looked really good in that fight. He didn’t waste any time in scoring a highlight reel stoppage in front of a large crowd of Yildirim’s boxing fans.
For Groves to match what Eubank Jr. did, he’s going to need to obliterate Cox almost immediately. It’s going to be tough for Groves to try and do that, as Cox has strong amateur background in boxing. He’s not like Avni, who looked like he hadn’t been fighting that long. Cox knows how to survive. He might not have the goods to beat Groves, but he can spoil and make him look bad.
“I am fired up, I mean business,” said Groves to skysports.com.“This is my chance to shine. It’s the first part of a three-part series and this is where it begins. There is no room for mistakes, there’s no ‘I’ll come again’, it’s all nothing now. But I’ll be damned if I have anything other than a clear victory, or a knockout victory.”
Groves defeated the hard hitting former WBA Super World super middleweight champion Fedor Chudinov in stopping him in the 6th round in his last fight on May 27. Groves put his big power shots together one after another until the fight was halted in the 6th. However, Chudinov had his moments in the fight in landing some hard shots in rounds 1 and 2. Groves ended up with a jaw injury for his troubles.
Chudinov’s slow hand speed made it look like he wasn’t throwing with a lot of power, but clearly he was based on the injury that Groves sustained. He knew he’d been hit in that fight. Cox doesn’t have the same kind of power that Chudinov possesses.
Cox is nothing like Chudinov. Cox is a small super middleweight, who started out his career in the 154 lb. division, and he’s totally unproven on the world scene. Cox could still give Groves problems by boxing him, and looking to take away his chances of landing his power shots by using movement, holding and inside fighting. Cox is good at making fights really messy.
What’s interesting is that Cox started his career looking like amazing technical fighter, but over the years he’s become cruder in his fights, willing to rough up his opponents and maul for 12 rounds instead of using the boxing skills that he learned early on.
Cox might try a little of everything on Saturday night against Groves. He’ll likely start out boxing, and if that doesn’t work he’ll take the fight to the inside to keep Groves from being able to get leverage on his shots. Groves isn’t a great inside fighter. He does his best work at medium distance.
Groves is the No.1 seed in the World Boxing Super Series tournament, which is something that Eubank Jr., the No.3 seed, doesn’t agree with. With being the perceived No.1 guy, it puts a lot of pressure on Groves to prove that he’s the best on Saturday against Cox. What makes Groves’ job harder is his opponent Cox is so unproven at the world class level. Despite having an unbeaten record over his 10-year pro career, this is really the first time that Cox has fought a top level fighter.
Cox has been fighting 2nd tier opposition in record-padding fights since he turned pro in 2007, which you can argue is the sole reason why he’s unbeaten. Cox clearly doesn’t deserve a world title shot against Groves, and his No.9 ranking with the WBA would testify to that. Cox would very likely lose to Groves’ last opponent Chudinov if he had the misfortune of fighting him.
“I picked Jamie Cox to make sure it would be in the UK,” said Groves to IFL TV. “He’s a good, strong puncher, a southpaw, quick hands, and quick feet. I certainly will [be bigger than Cox on Saturday]. The guys that I’m naturally bigger than them, I always do well against. If you look at the Carl Froch fight, in many ways to his credit, Froch is an exception to the rule, a fantastic chin, granite chin, good punching power, and physically strong. I hope Jamie Cox is bigger. He’s not big. So if he comes in heavy, he’s going to be slow. The dude could fight at middleweight. He could probably make super welterweight if he needed to. He has to bulk up to get to the super middleweight division. I have to have a full camp to make super middleweight, so size will be important, very important. Even if he was a bigger dude, I feel like I would have more than enough to beat him,” said Groves.
Cox was hand-picked for the World Boxing Super Series tournament. He’s not done anything to rate being in the fight other than having an unbeaten record. As Groves points out, he selected Cox to make sure the fight was in the UK. Cox hasn’t beaten any world class fighters to rate a world title shot at this point. The fact that Cox is getting a title shot is a miracle. Cox will need to rise up above his level for him to be able to even compete with Groves on Saturday night. What will keep Cox from doing that, besides his limited talent, is his lack of true size for the 168 lb. division.
Cox should be fighting at 160 in the middleweight division. He clearly feels like the super middleweight division has more opportunities for him due to it being an arguably weaker division than the 160 lb. weight class. The problem that Cox has is he doesn’t have the size to beat the top fighters like Groves at super middleweight. In theory, it’s a smart move on Cox’s part to move up to the weaker division at super middleweight to try and find a spot, but he doesn’t have the size for the division.
Cox is more of a pumped up 154 lb. class fighter than a true 168 lb. guy. In Groves’ case, he’s a light heavyweight, who boils down to 168 to compete in the super middleweight division. That’s why Groves is always bigger than his opposition at super middleweight.
”I’ve fought better fighters than Jamie Cox, said Groves. “It’s not something I’m relying on,” said Groves about his size. ”I believe I’ll end the fight before the distance. I’m fit enough to go 12 rounds. I feel like I’m going to land a lot cleaner on Jamie.” said Groves.
Groves has clearly beaten better fighters than Cox in the past.
These are some of the fighters that Groves has defeated during his career that are or were arguably better than Cox:
• Martin Murray
• Fedor Chudinov
• Eduard Gutknecht
• Chrisopher Rebrasse
• Denis Douglin
• Noe Gonzalez Alcoba
• Glen Johnson
• Paul Smith
• Kenny Anderson
• James DeGale
“I’ve always seen him as a threat, but only if I’m not on point,” said Groves about Eubank Jr. “I’ve got to win on Saturday first, and I will.”
Groves notes that Eubank Jr’s opponent last Saturday night Yildirim was getting hit with uppercuts in the 1st round, despite being well known that Eubank Jr. likes to throw uppercuts. Yildirim looked unprepared for the fight, as he shouldn’t have been getting hit with uppercuts so early. Groves feels that if he’s well-prepared for Eubank Jr., he’ll be able to get past him. But for now, he’s not thinking about Eubank Jr. Groves’ full focus is on Cox for their fight on Saturday night in the World Boxing Super Series in London.