After their 1st ‘Fight of the Year’ contender, which perfectly encapsulated both the brutality and beauty of boxing, the viewing public will once again be treated to another clash of the titans when Carl Froch and George Groves renew their bitter rivalry on May 31st.
The controversial nature of the stoppage and the perception that the fight did not reach a ‘natural conclusion’ resulted in a fervour among fans which ensured a rematch had to materialise.
The promise of another punishing battle means the paying public will have no problems putting their hands in their pockets to see the rematch. Living across borders in Scotland, I will probably make the trip south from my native Glasgow to witness the action in the flesh as I don’t think the prospect of another all out war can be avoided. Stylistically, there really is no way but for the rematch to be another war of attrition. Only the second coming of Froch vs Groves will exceed even the glorious drama and action of their original hellacious battle.
Put simply, Carl Froch couldn’t perform any more poorly than he did in the openings stages of their 1st fight. At times, the Cobra trudged around the ring like he had been jabbed with a tranquilizer dart and his trance like state contrasted sharply with the demeanour of the young snake charmer Groves who was full of venom.
Froch, who showed such contempt for the young challengers’ credentials in the build-up to the fight, seemed totally surprised by Groves’ ability to box intelligently and bang away with abandon in equal measure. He will have to assert himself from the 1st bell in the rematch, and many think he will. Promoter Eddie Hearn stated live and exclusively on Ringside- Sky Sports flagship boxing programme- that, “The difference is in the first fight I don’t think he respected you (Groves) enough as a fighter. But now you’ve got his attention and you’ve got his respect. That will show in his motivation for the fight’’
Boxing historian, Bob Mee, echoed Hearns sentiments when he stated, ‘Carl Froch boxed badly that night, he underestimated (Groves), he made mistakes that he won’t make this time around’.
Froch cannot allow complacency to compromise his preparations this time around. The added motivation and acknowledgement that Groves definitely belongs in the same ring as him could be a pivotal factor in the next fight- it will definitely ensure a fundamentally different approach from Froch. But will it be enough?
Groves will also be better. No doubt about it. He is emboldened by the huge success he enjoyed against Carl Froch and confidence will ooze from his every pore even more profusely than it did in the build up their original brutal showdown. In the same interview with Eddie Hearn to announce the rematch, Groves, who was calmness personified, looked into the camera and confidently stated, “I went into the last fight believing that I could do the things I did against Carl Froch. This time I know it.”
“Carl Froch has nothing to deal with what I am bringing. He can’t beat me for hand speed, he can’t beat me for foot speed, I have a better defence than he does, and I know I can hurt him.”
You simply cannot argue with Groves’ convictions: he outclassed Carl Froch for the vast majority of the fight and looked superior in every department. But, lest we forget, there was a tangible change in the trajectory of fight from the 7th round onwards. Groves was showing signs that the accumulation of punishment was beginning to have a compelling effect on him. This coincided with the point at which the damage caused by the challengers’ punches was beginning to plateau.
This is slightly alarming from a Groves point of view with regards to the rematch. On one hand there is no doubt that Groves can hurt Carl Froch, on the other there are serious question marks over whether he can finish Froch. He must put a full stop on the action, and do what no other man has done before and knock Carl Froch out.
Groves proved conclusively that he is a far better boxer than Froch, but the facts of the matter are that Carl Froch led everyone to the ‘natural conclusion’ that he is a true fighter and was far too formidable for the young Londoner to take out completely.
Carl Froch’s capacity to absorb punishment is unrivalled in the sport of boxing, and he showed there is no other fighter who can balance the ability to sustain such murderous punishment with the capacity to inflict such horrendous pain on his opponent as well as the soon to be 37 year old.
Once again this could be the decisive factor in the next fight.
The end of the road is near for the Sheriff of Nottingham but can he still bring Saint George to justice and take him on a journey of pain?
Don’t be surprised if the fight unfolds in a similar manner and ends in the same way. Only the controversial stoppage will be replaced by a ‘natural conclusion’ in the closing stages of a fight that Groves dominates with class but Froch decides with killer instinct.
Thanks for Reading.
What do you think would have been a ‘natural conclusion’ in the 1st fight?
Who will win the Rematch, and how will the fight unfold?
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