IN part four of Adam Booth’s Groves vs. Eubank Jr breakdown, the well-respected trainer discusses the ‘coachability’ of the pair and details how they have changed since the time they used to spar.
Question: What are George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr like in the changing room before a fight? Are they good at handling the pressure?
Adam Booth: “I don’t know what he’s like now, but George used to be very good on fight night and in the changing room.
“In the couple of fights I did with Junior I can’t say I saw anything that made me think he’s uncomfortable in that situation, either. He seemed at ease. I think they will both be fine on the big stage.”
Q: Eubank Jr seems to thrive amid chaos and disorder and is very much his own boss in camp. Does the unorthodox nature of this set-up become a problem now he’s facing a world-class super-middleweight capable of exposing the lack of leadership?
AB: “I think his ‘uncoachability’ could be his biggest strength. He’s just got that mental fortitude not to care or listen. He’s prepared to do it himself. He’s quite galvanised in that sense. His biggest weakness could be this: if what he’s doing isn’t working, how’s he going to get out of that?
“It’s the same with both of them. Their strength is also their weakness. George is very aware. He’s a thinker. And he’s coachable. But, by the same token, he’s less ignorant in his approach, and because he’s more aware he becomes a little more emotionally vulnerable.”
Q: To what extent have both improved over the years?
AB: “I think Groves looks stronger and more powerful now than he was when he fought Badou Jack. I think he seems to have his power back – the power I remember him having. I think he’s stronger and heavier-handed now but seems to have a lost a bit of speed and snap. He also hasn’t looked composed for a while.
“Groves kind of makes the same mistakes he used to make. He has the same postural problems. But he’s got big fight experience now and he’s lost and he’s been knocked out. He’s kind of experienced it all. That can help but it can also hinder. It all depends on what goes on in his mind during those hard rounds.
“In terms of how much they have improved since they used to spar, Eubank is the one who has improved considerably more. He has matured and evolved a lot because he needed to grow otherwise he wouldn’t have reached this level.
“Ultimately, Groves is more intelligent, more dangerous with his punching, and certainly more measured. Eubank, on the other hand, improvises more and is more ferocious with his intensity and intent.”
Part 5 of Adam Booth’s Groves vs. Eubank Jr breakdown will be published online tomorrow, and includes his official prediction, while the full interview can be read in this week’s magazine (digital: February 13, print: February 15).