Groves thinks Callum Smith lacks the experience to beat him
By Jim Dower: WBA super middleweight champion George Groves is respectful of his opponent WBC Diamond champion Callum Smith for this Friday in the World Boxing Super Series final, but he feels that he’s taking a huge step up in facing him. Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) notes that Smith has struggled when facing different fighters like Nieky Holzken, and not dominated the way he should have against that type of opposition.
The one notable top level fighter that Smith, 28, destroyed was Rocky Fielding in his 1s round blowout in 2015, but he’s not looked as good in his fights against Holzken, Chrisopher Rebrasse and Erik Skoglund.
Groves will be facing Smith at the Kind Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“He’s fixated with the fight versus me to validate the hype around him. It’s also a safety net because I’m ranked No. 1 in the division so if he fails against me he can still come again,” Groves said to ESPN.com.
In the co-feature bout, former IBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr. (26-2, 20 KOs) faces J.J. McDonagh (16-4, 8 KOs) in a fight scheduled for 10 rounds. The 29-year-old Eubank Jr. will be looking to get back to winning ways after losing his previous fight in a unification fight against Groves on February 17 in the semifinal of the World Boxing Super Series. Eubank Jr. was outclassed by Groves. The 32-year-old McDonagh, who comes from Ireland, is being brought in as the B-side opponent for Eubank Jr. to get a confidence booster to raise his spirits after his loss to Groves. McDonagh lost his last fight to Roy Sheehan by a 3 round unanimous decision last March. You have to question whether McDonagh has the experience or the stamina to fight a fighter in Eubank Jr’s class though, as most of McDonagh’s fights have been 3 to 4 rounds. You don’t normally see nine-year pros still fighting 4-rounders like McDonagh has. He’s only had four fights that were scheduled for 10 rounds during his career.
“I feel I’ve got more experience than him, boxed all around the world and on big shows like against Badou Jack in Las Vegas on a Floyd Mayweather undercard,” Groves said.
It goes without saying that Groves has more experience than the 6’3” Smith. Groves has fought Eubank Jr., Carl Froch twice, Badou Jack, Martin Murray, Fedor Chudinov, Jamie Cox, Denis Dougin, Christopher Rebrasse, James DeGale, Kenny Anderson and Glen Johnson. Groves beat a prime DeGale. For his part, Smith’s toughest opponents have been Rocky Fielding, Holzken, Erik Skoglund, Luke Blackledge, Vladine Biosse and Nikola Sjekoca.
“It’s a massive step up for him — but for me it’s not my hardest fight on paper,” Groves said.
Smith clearly isn’t as good as Groves’ past opponents Badou Jack and Carl Froch. James DeGale in his prime was arguably better than Smith, and the same with Glen Johnson. Smith is a good fighter, but he looked really flawed in his fight against Holzken. That fight showed that Smith is going to have problems with Groves if he’s healthy and fully back from his shoulder surgery on his left shoulder. That’s the real question. Is Groves’ left shoulder healed enough to give him full range of motion so that his left arm is a weapon for him? If Groves only his right hand to fight Smith with on Friday, he’s going to have a lot of problems in this fight. Smith with two healthy arms might be a little too big and two strong for Groves fighting with just one arm. Groves wouldn’t have taken this fight if he wasn’t healthy. As long as Groves doesn’t suffer a setback with his left shoulder, he should win this fight.