Groves rumored to be replaced by Eubank Jr. in WBSS finals
By Tim Royner: There are rumors that George Groves will be replaced by Chris Eubank Jr. for the finals of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament against Callum Smith. This rumor hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it’s possible that Wednesday’s announcement for the WBSS could include the replacement of WBA Super World 168 lb. champion Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) with Eubank Jr. (26-2, 20 KOs) for the WBSS finals match against the unbeaten Callum Smith (24-0, 17 KOs).
Groves, 30, suffered a dislocated left shoulder in his 12 round unanimous decision victory over Eubank Jr. three months ago in their semifinals match in the World Boxing Super Series on February 17 in Manchester, England.
The injury occurred at the start of the 12th, and rather than stopping the fight on the spot, Groves continued to fight for the full three minutes of the round. In hindsight, that was probably wasn’t the smartest move, because he could have done a lot of damage to the shoulder.
In videos since then of Groves working out, his left shoulder has not looked strong. Groves has always been known for having a good left jab, but it doesn’t look like his left is fully back.
Replacing Groves with Eubank Jr. will invite a lot of fan criticism. Eubank Jr. was trounced by Groves. For Eubank Jr. to be given a second chance doesn’t seem right in the view of a lot of fans. Super middleweight contender Jose Uzcategui (27-2, 23 KOs) is reportedly interested in stepping in to replace Groves if he needs to be replaced.
It would be far preferable to have the 27-year-old Uzcategui take the place of Groves for the fight against Callum Smith than it would be for the recently beaten Eubank Jr. to be given a second chance.
There’s nothing wrong with giving fighters more chances, but in this case it’s too soon and it makes a mockery of the tournament. The WBSS tournament already took a big hit when Juergen Braehmer dropped out of his semifinals match against Smith and was replaced by little known former kick boxer Nieky Holzken last February. Uzcategui would be a real problem for Callum Smith. With the movement, size and power of Uzcategui, he might be a step too far for Smith.
If Eubank Jr. replaces Groves, then he’ll have a chance of picking up his old IBO super middleweight title. The IBO 168 lb. title will reportedly be on the line after Groves is said to have chosen not to pay the sanctioning fee to keep.
Eubank Jr. can be reunited with his beloved IBO strap if he beats Smith. Eubank Jr. looked horrible though in losing to Groves last February. If Smith is even at 75% of his normal game, he’s going to beat Eubank Jr. with ease. Groves beat with just his jab for the most part.
It’s too bad the WBSS can’t delay the tournament until 2019 or 2020 for Groves to finally heal up enough to fight.
Groves would be really pushing it if he got back into the ring so soon after dislocating his left shoulder. It’s not worth it for Groves to rush back just so he can fight Smith. Groves has all the time in the world to fight Smith in the future when he’s 100 percent healthy.