Skip to main content

Why Carl Froch vs. George Groves was a Modern Classic

It was the fight that was going to hand Carl Froch the glue that would seal his boxing legacy.  A domestic fight against a man eleven years his junior.  George Groves had never fought for a world title, while this was Froch's eleventh consecutive world title fight.  Froch: lightening-fast, hard as nails, granite-chinned with bombs in both hands.  Our best pound-for-pound fighter who can count himself among only a handful of British boxers who went to America and won.  And George Groves.  Who'd lost Adam Booth, his trainer, a few weeks earlier because he was more interested in training David Haye, his now-retired stablemate.  Groves.  Unbeaten, but only so up to commonwealth level.  A chin largely untested.  Mortal enemy of James Degale, who thinks he's ugly, but whom Groves had beaten as an amateur and as a professional.  But Degale is no Froch.  Froch came second in a super middleweight contest to end all others: The Super Six World Boxing Classic, arguably the toughest boxing tournament in recent memory.  


Froch vs. Groves.  This was not so much a fight as a stepping stone for Froch.  Or so Froch thought.

What could go wrong?      

Well, (and to quote a Green Day lyric): everything and nothing all at once.

Everyone knew that Groves was a quality fighter, but no one thought he was capable of the display he put on at the MEN Arena.  While 10.2 million viewers went Doctor Who crazy for the 50th anniversary episode, Manchester was hosting what would prove to be the best domestic - and most controversial fight - since the Benn-Eubank era.

Who could have predicted that Froch would have walked into a thunderous right hook towards the end of the first round?  It led to only his second knockdown in his career.  It was reminiscent of Calzaghe's clash with Chris Eubank.  The young upstart floors the seasoned professional in the first.  Eddie Hearn, who promotes both fighters,  believes that Froch was unconscious when he hit the floor.  Like Eubank did with Calzaghe, Froch smiled at Groves.  Froch was able to beat the count and recover to get through the opening round.  

When Groves laid out a round-by-round strategy at the pre-fight press conference, many believed it was a sign of overconfidence.  But true to his word, Groves met Froch in the middle of the ring.  Not only that, but he landed the cleaner shots and made "The Cobra" look two-dimensional and every one of his 36 years.  Froch snatched a round or two along the way, but by the ninth, Groves was comfortably ahead on all the judges' scorecards.  

To describe what came next, it's worth noting the turning tide of allegiance of the arena's fickle boxing supporters: Groves was booed when he entered the ring, but he was cheered when he left.  The opposite was the case for Froch.  But Froch had won.

Froch caught Groves with a flurry of punches and that was that: Howard Foster, the referee, decided that Groves was unfit to continue.  Groves didn't seem hurt in the same way that Froch looked hurt in previous rounds, but the referee has the best view in the house, and the fight was stopped.  But like all controversial stoppages, the debate as to whether Groves was stopped too soon will rage on.  The name Howard Foster quickly became synonymous with bad decision-making.  

If the fight hadn't been stopped, what would have happened?  That's the big question.  You only have to look at Carl Froch's fights with Jermaine Taylor, Glen Johnson and in particular Andre Dirrell to see that he comes into his own in the final championship rounds.  Perhaps his vast experience would have given him the upper hand.

What remains to be seen is whether Carl Froch will agree to a rematch.  The British public fell in love with George Groves on Saturday night.  They saw his boxing heart and will demand it.  The money will be there, but Froch has everything to lose.  If he agrees to a rematch, be it before or after a rematch with Andre Ward, what will it achieve?  If he wins, he won't really prove anything.  But if he loses, it will confirm that in the winter of his boxing career, he's not even the best British super middleweight.    

The full fight can be viewed here, but if you want to see the boxing spirit of George Groves, watch the video below.  He is interviewed with bruised, puffy eyes shortly after the fight.  It perfectly represents the passion that goes into boxing and is one of the most emotionally-charged interviews I've seen of a boxer.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

An Expert Analysis of Michael Fassbender's Running Style From the Film 'Shame'

Tom Wiggins: What are your first impressions of Michael Fassbender/Brandon's running style? Paul Whittaker: He's running nice, smooth and relaxed. He seems like he has a good amount of fitness and he is running well within himself in terms of pace.   TW: What improvements could he make to his running style? PW: The main improvement I'd make is his foot plant.  He lands heel first and this causes a 'breaking' effect when travelling forwards.  If he landed on his mid-foot/forefoot, this would be a much better for impact stress and propulsion going forward into the next running stride. TW: Regarding his speed, how many minutes per mile is he running? PW: I would say he is running approx 7-7.30 minutes per mile. TW:  What do you make of his stride lengths?  Is he overstriding/understriding? PW: The actor is definitely overstriding in this clip.  It would help if his feet landed underneath and below his centre of gravity. TW: What's his posture like? PW: A slight forward le…

The Diary of an Apprentice Letter Carver

I qualified as a stonemason last July and completed an incredibly enjoyable and memorable stonemasonry apprenticeship with The Prince's Foundation for Building Community in which I made so many friends and worked on so many historic buildings.  During that time, I had a two-week letter carving placement with Bernard Johnson, a very talented and friendly letter carver based in Oxfordshire.  It was with him that I picked up the bug for letter carving and realised that I didn't want to do anything else.  He didn't have an apprentice opportunities at that time, but pointed me in the direction of Fergus Wessel, another letter carver in Oxfordshire.  I went to visit  Fergus at his Stonecutters workshop and after a week's trial, he was able to offer me a four-year apprenticeship.  I am both incredibly lucky to have been given the chance of being his new apprentice, not least because he himself was trained at the prestigious Kindersley Studio.  A diary of my experience as an a…

The Babalú Coffee House & Graffiti in Central Reykjavik

A month or two after getting back from last year's trip to Iceland, I noticed on my analytics page that my blog had attracted a massive seven visitors who were based in Iceland. 'That's strange.' I thought. 'I haven't even mentioned, let alone blogged about Iceland yet. Why am I attracting visitors?' It was at this point that I recalled scrawling my blog address on the wall of a Reykjavik coffee shop. Don't worry, readers: it was perfectly legal.

Any UK-based coffee house would have shown me the door as I graffitied this here url across their wall, but this was the Babalú Coffee House.  And you soon realise upon arriving in Iceland that it has the highest concentration of cool, calm and creative types than just about anywhere else in the world.  Iceland is like the coolest place you've ever visited...just better.  It's so hip that it could bring that very word back into fashion.  
Situated on the Skólavördustigur road and roughly between Ha…