THE former trainer of both George Groves and Jamie Cox has warned the defending WBA champion he is fighting “the most dangerous super-middleweight on the planet”.
Groves makes the first defence of his title in both fighters’ first match-up of the World Boxing Super Series at Wembley Arena on Saturday night, having chosen to face Cox when as top seed he was given first pick at the competition’s draw.
There is also the further incentive of a semi-final with Chris Eubank Jnr early in 2018, but despite Groves’ status, Paddy Fitzpatrick believes he needs to be wary.
That he trained both fighters gives him perhaps a unique insight into their chances, and Fitzpatrick told Press Association Sport: “It’s a very dangerous fight: Jamie’s the most dangerous super-middleweight on the planet.
“After the first three rounds you’ll be able to tell who’s going to win. If George comes out settled: he’s got one of the most educated jabs in the world, will make you want to dip under it, and then when you dip he’ll drill you with the right hand. He’s definitely the favourite and deserves to be.
“But psychologically, George second-guesses himself now at round seven (and worries about fatigue): ‘Why is this dude still there?’
“I don’t think he’s picked Jamie because he’s the easiest opponent. It didn’t surprise me: George likes a challenge, wouldn’t want to face Eubank straight away, and except from Callum Smith, the other opponents aren’t English.
“I would have had him doing more work psychologically on Jamie. I wouldn’t have suggested he pick Jamie, but it’s not a bad pick. Jamie’s doing the right thing: he’s kept his mouth shut, which is unlike him. He’s done a good job of composing himself.
“George’s style can take advantage of Jamie’s emotional lack of composure; Jamie’s can take care of George’s physical weaknesses. George is the bigger, stronger man, but if he gets close to Jamie, that’s playing into what Jamie likes.
“George has a world-class right hand; I had Jamie, at 4-0, sparring big heavyweights, he never had a problem with them, he has a great chin. Where it could go wrong for Jamie is if George gets him on the end of that jab, and then Jamie thinks ‘Screw you’ and starts to bite down too soon.”
The defending champion on Friday weighed in at 167.1lbs, making him narrowly lighter than the 167.8lbs Cox, ahead of his first return to the venue at which his fight with Eduard Gutknecht left the German disabled.
“I’m not too concerned or nervous about going back,” said Groves, 29. “I’ve been there many times before. I can do my final week of camp in my own gym; will sleep in my own bed the night before.”
Cox, a 31-year-old southpaw, has never previously boxed at world level, but he said: “I don’t care about my trophies and what I have achieved so far, the past is irrelevant: I care about the future.”