Groves says Korobov has FAR more ability than Chris Eubank
By Charles Brun: George Groves says he doesn’t understand the reason behind Chris Eubank Jr. choosing to face the highly talented southpaw Matt Korobov in his next fight on December 7. Former super middleweight champion Groves thinks it’s a bad move on Eubank’s part in taking on the 2008 Russian Olympian Korobov (28-2-1, 14 KOs) because there’s nothing to gain from the fight and everything to lose. Korobov is up there in age at 36, and still an exceptional fighter.
Matt Korobov is fighting a high level
Korobov has been on the receiving end of two highly controversial decisions in his last two fights against Immanuwel Aleem and Jermall Charlo. He easily could have won both contests. Korobov’s fight against Aleem was initially scored as a victory last May, but then judges overturned it and ruled it as a draw. Boxing News 24 had Korobov winning 8 rounds to 2.
Aleem fought well enough to barely edge rounds 9 and 10. Korobov has had really bad luck in his last two fights against Premier Boxing Champion fighters. The scoring has been woefully bad. It’ll be interesting to see if the scoring continues to go against Korobov. A lot of boxing fans feel sorry for Korobov, as he clearly won his last two fights, but found himself on the receiving end of hometown decisions in the eyes of many.
Eubank Jr. (28-2, 21 KOs) will be facing Korobov LIVE on Showtime on December 7 on the undercard of Jermall Charlo vs. Dennis Hogan at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Billy Joe Saunders is ideal opponent for Eubank Jr.
Groves thinks Eubank Jr. should take on WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders in a rematch. Eubank Jr. lost a close 12 round split decision to Saunders in November 2014. Groves thinks Eubank Jr. could have nicked it, but two of the judges saw it for Saunders. Since that fight, Eubank Jr. hasn’t shown much interest in facing Saunders in a rematch.
Eubank Jr is moving back down in weight to middleweight, and he’s going in the opposite direction of Saunders.
Korobov has far more ability than Eubank Jr. says Groves
“It’s really a strange move,” said Groves about Eubank Jr. choosing to fight Korobov. “Even if he’s well passed his sell by date Korobov, he was an absolute standout amateur back in the day. He has tremendous ability. He has far more ability than Chris Eubank has ever had. It doesn’t seem like a logical fight,” said Groves.
Korobov is quite talented. Eubank will need to try and win this fight based on his volume punching, because he’s probably not going to score a quick knockout of Korobov. Southpaw Andy Lee stopped Korobov in the 6th round in December 2014, but he was getting worked over by him in the first five rounds.
The fight looked like a mismatch in favor of Korobov up until the time Lee hurt him with a right hook in the 6th. Had Lee not scored the stoppage, it’s likely that Korobov would have knocked him out. Lee couldn’t take too much more punishment from Korobov at that point in the fight.
Korobov was moved too slowly
The management for Korobov moved him too slowly after he turned professional in 2008. It wasn’t until his sixth year as a pro that he finally was matched against a quality opponent in Jose Uzcategui. Given Korobov’s tremendous amateur career, he should have been moved much faster. It was confusing to try and understand why his promoter moved him at such a glacial pace, as if he was project rather than an Olympian.
Eubank has shown no interest in Saunders rematch
“He’s so commercially valuable, Eubank, that he can certainly jump the queue on many fighters and get a world title fight,” said Groves. “I don’t know why he [Eubank] doesn’t fancy a Billy Joe Saunders fight. That fight was nothing in it. He lost a split decision. There was nothing in that fight.
“I thought he could have nicked it. In fact, I thought he won. I think it’s the easiest fight out there for him. I don’t know why he hasn’t shown anymore interest in it, but he hasn’t. He’s gone his own route,” said Groves.
If Eubank Jr. were to fight Saunders, he would have to deal with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn. Would Eubank to negotiate with Hearn after what happened to him in 2016 when he was trying to get a fight with Gennadiy Golovkin. Hearn gave up on the negotiations, and gave the GGG fight to Kell Brook. Eubank Jr. wasn’t happy about that, as you would expect. So if Eubank were to fight Saunders, he would have to deal with Hearn. Would Eubank Jr. be willing to do that?
Groves isn’t saying it but Saunders is considered a paper champion in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. In other words, Saunders isn’t seen as the best fighter at 168, and he would likely lose to Callum Smith and David Benavidez. As such, Eubank wouldn’t get any credit for fighting Saunders because he’s a belt holder.
Groves says Korobov is a meaningless fight for Eubank Jr.
“He’s been really quiet since James DeGale, which I think was February,” said Groves about Eubank Jr. “So eight months, and now he’s announced a tough, meaningless fight. He’s going to get lost, isn’t he? Saunders is a middleweight, really. He’s fighting at super middleweight now, but he could probably make middleweight if he wanted to.
“If the Canelo fight came up at middleweight, I’m sure he would. Chris Eubank Jr. isn’t the biggest super middleweight. He might be looking at middleweight opponents or opponents that have spent a portion of their career at middleweight. I think Eubank’s career should be at middleweight,” said Groves.
Groves is wrong about Korobov being a meaningless fight for Eubank Jr. As far as American boxing fans are concerned, Eubank Jr. would get attention if he beats Korobov. It would have to be WITHOUT controversy, and not the type of decisions we’ve seen recently with Aleem getting a draw and Jermall a win over Korobov.
Those were horrendous decisions, and it shows you what Korobov has been up against lately. Eubank Jr cannot afford to beat Korobov the way Jermall did, and he definitely given a questionable draw that is ridiculed like the Aleem fight. Eubank Jr. has got to beat Korobov in the real sense and not be viewed being gifted a decision the way Charlo and Aleem were.