Groves vs. Eubank: Carl Froch gives Eubank Jr. the edge against Groves
By Scott Gilfoid: Former super middleweight champion Carl Froch views Chris Eubank Jr. as the guy with the edge on Saturday night in his clash against WBA Super World super middleweight champion George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series tournament at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Froch, 40, is familiar with both fighters, as he fought – and beat Groves – twice, and he’s sparred with Eubank Jr. in the distant past. However, sparring and fighting are 2 different things and Froch’s sparring with Eubank Jr. happened many years ago, as did his fight with Groves.
Froch feels the work rate of the 28-year-old Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs) will give Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) will give him problems. The only thing Froch has some reservations about is the size and power that Groves has over Eubank Jr. Froch notes that Eubank Jr. is a small middleweight fighting a large super middleweight. There’s a big difference in size and power between the two fighters. However, Froch doubts that Groves can hurt Eubank Jr. with his shots.
“Chris Eubank Jr. has the work rate, the pace, the engine and the fitness to do the 12 rounds,” Froch said to Talk Sport. ”The only way you can beat Chris Eubank Jr. is by stopping him in his tracks. So you’ve got to hit him. You’ve got to hurt him. You’ve got to stop him from coming. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best jab in the business. I just don’t think that Eubank Jr. can be hurt by Groves,” Froch said.
The high work rate for Eubank Jr. has worked because he’s been fighting largely poor opposition since his loss to Billy Joe Saunders in 2014. It’s easy to throw a lot of punches when you’re fighting weak opposition like Eubank Jr. has fought. These are the fighters Eubank Jr. has fought since his defeat to Saunders:
• Nick Blackwell
• Tom Doran
• Dmitry Chudinov
• Tony Jeter
• Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan
• Renold Quinlan
• Arthur Abraham
• Avni Yildrim
Those are largely 2nd tier fighters. The 37-year-old Abraham is a 1st tier guy, but he was physically a shell of his former self by the time Eubank Jr. fought him. Abraham was mentally and physically a shot fighter when Eubank Jr. fought him last year.
Eubank Jr. was beaten by Billy Joe Saunders by a 12 round split decision in November 2014, so something went wrong. Froch doesn’t talk about Eubank Jr’s loss to Saunders, but he likely would have some remark that would sugar coat the loss. The fact of the matter is, Saunders schooled Eubank Jr. and took advantage of him wanting to pose after throwing punches all night long. Eubank Jr. would throw a punch and stop and pose. It was the strangest thing to see. He still does that, but not quite as much as he did in 2014.
“The only question marks I’ve got for Eubank Jr is it’s up at super-middleweight and Groves can punch respectively hard and with them little 10 ounce groves – it is different to sparring,” Froch said. ”There is a chance that Eubank could walk into a shot off Groves and get hurt and everyone’s like; ‘Oh what’s happening here, Eubank’s hurt. He’s wobbled.’ And Groves can finish him; the ref will jump in and stop it. I just don’t think Groves can hurt him.”
There’s little doubt that if Groves lands his big power shots to the head and body of Eubank Jr., he’s going to have him down taking a nap on the canvas on Saturday night. Eubank Jr. fights like he has no sense much of the time with the way he attacks without even thinking about what’s coming back at him. Eubank Jr. has been able to do that though against the dreadful opposition that he’s been matched against. We’re talking domestic level fighters pretty much. I mean, look at the guys Eubank Jr. has been padding his record against: Doran, Blackwell, Jeter, O’Sullivan, Chudinov, Quinlan, Yildirim and Abraham.
The only fighter out of that bunch that rates to be ranked in the top 15 is Abraham, and he was more of a bottom fringe level guy at 15 than a top 5 or 10 contenders by the time he fought Eubank Jr. If Eubank Jr. tries to fight Groves like he did against those guys, he’s going to get hurt.
What we don’t know is if Froch is leaning in Eubank Jr’s direction because of the bad blood he still has with Groves from their 2 fights together in the past. Groves gave Froch plenty of grief in the past by trash talking him and making him look bad in front of the fans and media. I don’t think Froch’s 2 knockouts of Groves made him feel any better about him been ridiculed by him in their many encounters during the press conferences. It’s got to still bother Froch the way that Groves was ribbing him during the build up to their 2 fights in 2013 and 2014.
Froch should have seen what Groves was doing and realized that he was trying to help him by making the fight bigger. It wasn’t personal with Groves. He just knew that he had to carry the weight of promoting their 2 fights with his trash talking, because Froch was most stone-faced during the interviews and press conferences. Froch had very little to say in marketing his fights. So, Groves took over and used his gift for gab to talk up their fights. I just think it still bothers Froch even today how Groves was making him look bad whenever the two fighters were in the same room. That’s why it’s kind of hard to listen to Froch’s analysis of the Groves vs. Eubank Jr. fight and believe what he’s saying, because there’s bad blood between him and Groves. Froch doesn’t have any issues with Eubank Jr., because he was his sparring partner. Eubank Jr. was helping Froch out. Groves was trying to hurt Froch inside the ring, but he was helping him with his trash talking to do the hard work of hyping their fights.