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Froch: Can Eubank Jr. take Groves’ right hand shots?

Carl Froch Chris Eubank Jr George Groves

By Scott Gilfoid: Carl Froch is predicting a victory for IBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr. in his unification fight against WBA Super World 168 lb. champion George Groves this Saturday night.

(Photo credit: World Boxing Super Series)

Froch does wonder though whether Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs) will be able to take the right hand blasts from the much bigger, stronger and more experienced Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) on Saturday night in their fight in the World Boxing Super Series tournament at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. Former super middleweight champion Froch, 40, was impressed with Eubank Jr. from his sparring session with him many years ago.

Froch says he hit Eubank Jr. with his best shots during the sparring sessions and he couldn’t hurt him. As such, Froch feels that because he couldn’t hurt Eubank Jr. during the sparring sessions, it means that Groves, 29, won’t be able to hurt him either. The difference between Froch’s sparring sessions with Eubank Jr. and Saturday’s fight is the glove size and the absence of head gear. Froch wore 16oz gloves for his sparring session with Eubank Jr. Groves and Eubank Jr. will be using 10oz gloves. There also won’t be head gear worn by either fighter. In other words, it matters little that Froch couldn’t hurt Eubank Jr. because the glove size and the head gear that protected him. Eubank Jr. won’t be wearing head gear to protect him on Saturday, and Groves be wearing huge 16oz gloves.

“We will have to wait and see if Eubank Jr. can take that right hand,” Froch said in his column ”Will Eubank Jr. be able to cope? I actually believe he will. Chris Eubank Jr. is the favorite and I have already said I think he will win, but have I overlooked the fact that George Groves is actually a bit of a banger?”

The size difference between Groves and the 28-year-old Eubank Jr. is significant. Eubank Jr. is a small middleweight fighting Groves, a fighter that is arguably a light heavyweight that boils down to fight at super middleweight. Groves could literally fight in the 175 lb. division and be right at home with the fighters in terms of size. I’m not saying that Groves would be able to handle the likes of Artur Beterbiev, Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson and Dmitry Bivolv. That would be a tough ask on Groves’ part to deal with the power of those fighters. But size-wise, Groves is a light heavyweight.

What Eubank Jr. is up against on Saturday is pretty much the same thing Guillermo Rigondeaux had to deal with in moving up 2 weight classes to fight WBO super featherweight Vasyl Lomachenko last December. Rigondeaux made the move up in weight, but he was too small to have a chance of winning the fight. Eubank Jr. could be in the same boat against Groves. The things that Eubank Jr. has been able to do in bum rushing weaker opposition like Tom Doran, Nick Blackwell, Avni Yildirim, Renold Quinlan and Arthur Abraham, he probably won’t be able to do against Groves. That’s the problem. Eubank Jr. is so used to fighting poor opposition, he’s going to be in for a big shock when he gets inside the ring with Groves and realizes that he’s bit off more than he can chew.

”He (Groves) can punch and even against a proper super-middleweight, he is big,” Froch said about Groves. ”He will also bring a lot of experience and confidence now he is a world champion, but I think we are all aware of that.”

Just the advantage in experience alone will be a tremendous advantage for Groves on the night. We’re talking about a fighter who has battled the likes of Froch, Badou Jack, Martin Murray and Fedor Chudinov. In contrast, Eubank Jr’s toughest foes have been Billy Joe Saunders, who he lost to, Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan, Avni Yildirim, Arthur Abraham and Renold Quinlan. Abraham, 37, was well past it by the time Eubank Jr. fought him in July of last year. Eubank Jr. is just starting out his career as far as facing world class opposition. He’s just now cutting his teeth for the first time.

The power difference is where Eubank Jr. could find himself in a lot of hot water on Saturday night. Eubank Jr. has not been facing guys with power or the size the deliver their shots. To be fair, Abraham, O’Sullivan and Yildirim are all big punchers. They’re not in the same league as Groves in the power department. O’Sullivan and Abraham are or were middleweights. Abraham, 5’9”, spent most of his career in the 160 lb. division. When Abraham did finally move up to 168, he was strategically matched his German promoters in being put in with guys that weren’t much of a threat to beating him.

When Abraham did fight good super middleweights, he invariably lost. Eubank Jr. beating an old a badly faded Abraham doesn’t mean he’s going to beat Groves. It’s too bad that Eubank Jr. hasn’t been tested against any of the good super middleweights to see how he would do against fighters that have some talent, power and size going for them. The fighters that Eubank Jr. has been padding his record with are too poor to tell us anything about how he’ll do against Groves on Saturday night.

I would have preferred that Eubank Jr. had fought at least 3 of the fighters from this list below before his fight with Groves:

• David Benavidez

• Juergen Braehmer

• Callum Smith

• Andre Dirrell

• James DeGale (before he fought Badou Jack)

• Badou Jack – before he moved up to 175

• Tyron Zeuge

• Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez

• Jesse Hart

• Anthony Dirrell – before he started looking old

I hate to say it but I think Froch is the wrong guy to be making a prediction on the Groves vs. Eubank Jr. fight. Froch has a past history with Groves from having fought him on 2 occasions, and I think there’s still much mental baggage that he’s carrying with him. It’s not the fights with Groves that I think bothers Froch in my opinion, because he won both of those by knockouts. I believe it’s the way that Groves made Froch look so bad by talking circles around him. Groves is a very good talker, and he tends to be very good at winning arguments. Groves seemed to rattle Froch with his gift for gab each time the two fighters were in the same room. It wasn’t even a fair fight. Groves was getting the better of Froch verbally each time they met. Yeah, Froch was the better fighter of the two, but Groves pummeled him verbally outside of the ring. It’s hard to forget how bad Groves made Froch look during the press conferences and the interviews where the two were talking back and forth. I think Froch never really got over that. That’s why I find it hard to take seriously what Froch says about the Groves vs. Eubank Jr. fight. If Froch was predicting a win for Groves, then I would say that he’s non-biased and not making the prediction based on personal reasons. I don’t see that in this case with Froch leaning in Eubank Jr’s direction in predicting a win for him over Groves. I get the drift that Froch is still boiling underneath the service, remembering how Groves was clowning him each time they would get together for a press conference. I just think Froch can’t let go of his past hurt to give an accurate prediction on the Groves vs. Eubank Jr. fight.

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