Carl Froch vs George Groves II - St George's Retribution
We are in fight week for the biggest boxing bout this side of the Atlantic since the Second World War. In London, Public houses have taken in more barrels than they have room, hotels and inns have scribbled down more names than they have beds and the merchandisers have piled 'em high in anticipation of the big fight. The final checks are underway in Wembley as the staff brace themselves for the 80,000 strong wave of boxing fans set to pack the stadium to the rafters come the 31st of May.
On that night, Carl Froch will be prepared to defend his titles in the rematch against his opponent George Groves. The first time both men stepped into the ring to do battle, the third man played the decisive move. A controversial TKO stoppage has given the fight the mandate required for the rematch to be ordered. The stage has been well and truly set, with only a few days to go until the first bell signals the start of the action and both fighters come out roaring to take the glory and belts at stake.
In boxing when a rematch is held, the outcome often resembles what took place in the first bout. The first time Froch met Groves in a prize fight he was met with a young force who seemed destined to hand him a shocking defeat. Groves was calm and relaxed as he moved around poised ready to strike, always beating Froch to the punch and driving his opponent to the ropes. It was a right hand that Groves said he would catch him with in the first, and it was a right hand that had Froch hit the canvas within 2 minutes of first round. The crowd roared in disbelief as their champion was dropped so convincingly by the confident boxer, cheering him up to the count of 8 as he grimaced forward to resume the fight.
Groves did not let up from the first round till the sixth. Rarely before had we seen the Cobra be so out boxed than he was that night. Groves was rampantly working the 36 year old champion for every second of every round, connecting with right hand after right hand and taking little punishment for his successes. In the sixth, the London fighter created more gaps in Froch's defence, which he exploited without remorse. In the breaks between rounds, the loud murmurs of the mesmerised crowd resonated throughout the stadium, the fight was looking like a whitewash for the challenger as the shock to reality started to take root.
The young challenger was pushing the fighting through the 7th and 8th rounds, punishing the champion for every mistake he made. The crowd had been well and truly won over by the young upstart and they were cheering him on with every blow he landed or missed. He was fighting smart, working Froch at will and careful not to get himself caught. As the bell rang the close of the 8th, it looked as if Froch was too far behind on the cards to take a decision. He could only win by stoppage.
Round 9 will be remembered for it's controversy. Groves was landing his jab and slotting his right hand in behind, but he got caught with a counter left hook in an exchange which wobbled his legs. Uncharacteristically Froch did not press the advantage and Groves was able to regain himself. A few moments later Froch barged Groves against the ropes unbalancing him, he fired a ferocious combo and several shots landed clean. George eager to remain in the fight as the referee drew closer charged forward, gloves pressed to his face but it was too late. The flurry of punches which caught him clean was enough for the third man to call an end to the proceedings. Carl Froch had salvaged a TKO victory.
The roller coaster was not over as the arena erupted in another roar as the fight was stopped. Cheers for the Nottingham champion were followed by echoing boos as the recently converted fans leaped to the support of their fighter. Groves was dismayed at the decision whilst Froch was visibly relieved. Both sides felt as if unfinished business was left in the ring and a rematch was well on the cards. We are now only a few days until the fighters tie their gloves and prepare to fight each other into submission.
What can we expect to see in the rematch? George Groves is the younger of the two with the upper hand in many departments. He has the faster feet, the faster hands. He is the better boxer of the pair and is arguably more intelligent. He out psyched his opponent before the last bout and has clearly gotten under his skin before the rematch. Froch is fighting not to lose, where as Groves is coming to assume his rightful place as world champion.
It's also important to mention that Groves has already knocked his man down whereas Froch has yet to do so. Groves will come in believing he can do it again yet Froch has yet to make what he has seen inside his mind a reality. He has said to reporters that the "judges may as well leave their pens at home" as the fight will not be going the distance.
Froch holds the respect of many fans world wide for his notoriously solid chin. His ability to brawl with thudding power has broken down many of his opponents. 23 of his 32 victories have ended before the final bell. He has the experience of going 12 rounds with many of the World's best in the super middleweight division including Kessler, Ward, Johnson, Pascal and Abraham to name a few. Those who have stepped in the ring with him have mentioned his rib cracking power and his constant fight, rarely wanting to take a backwards step.
That said, it will play into the hands of the challenger should he decide to come in steaming hot. Groves can defeat the fury of his opponent with his cool boxing ability, by slamming jabs and counter straights every time Froch charges forward he will stop the Cobra in his tracks. The less success Froch has the more his will be broken and the closer St GG will be to a stunning retributive victory.
Coming to the close of Froch's chapter in the annals of boxing history, a new name will be inked onto the page. Come the 31st of May George Groves will take what he believes should rightfully be his, St GG will be recognized in front of 80,000 raucous fans the new champion of the world. London will be singing his songs, drinking to his victory and celebrating the rise of a new champion. The dreams of one man and his followers is in reach, but a final hurdle still stands ever defiant across their path. There can only be on victor.
To adapt a quote, "In war, as in boxing, everything is uncertain and variable, intertwined with psychological forces and effects, and the product of a continuous interactions". We can analyse every minute of a fight, take in all the psychological angles and force a prediction out of what we believe are facts, but we can never be sure. The outcome of a fight is decided solely in the ring, a fighter's will can battle against the odds and a single punch can turn the tide. From what we have seen, Groves could well be declared the winner, but one thing is certain in boxing and that is to never count a man out until it's over.