WHILE training Callum Smith for his World Boxing Super Series semi-final against Juergen Braehmer next year, Joe Gallagher is taking a keen interest in the other semi-final, the super-fight between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr in Manchester in February.
Gallagher broke down Groves-Eubank for Boxing News. “It’s a very good fight. It’s happened for both of them at the right time. I don’t think it’s a case of Eubank’s on a roll and Groves is coming off a sloppy performance and I don’t think it’s the other way round. I think George Groves has come back and he’s won the world title. He’s defended it well. Two wins, two knockouts and two exciting fights. Chris Eubank has moved up a weight division, beat Arthur Abraham and then he’s gone over and fought abroad and knocked out a good super-middleweight. Both are coming in on fire, both on point and it’s a fascinating fight. I think George Groves carries the heavier punch. I think he’s been in the big fights a lot more. Chris Eubank, I think he’s fearless. He’s not been around the big shows or the big time yet. There’s no fear there or hesitancy there,” he said.
“George Groves has been on the big stage numerous times with [Carl] Froch, Badou Jack, come back, beat [Fedor] Chudinov, beat [Jamie] Cox and now he’s into the big fight. He wants to beat [James] DeGale again, Eubank wants to progress through to the final. I think George Groves if he can rewind the clock and get them legs going, I think Shane [McGuigan, his trainer] is suited to him. He likes his boxers to fight on the backfoot, with that lead left hand poking, poking, countering with the right hand, thinking. He suits George Groves. If he can get George’s legs moving, like he did with James DeGale, then I think Chris Eubank, he isn’t going to be able to deal with that movement.
“On the other hand though, Chris Eubank Jr’s very hard to hit. He dips his shoulders, he goes left, he goes right, doesn’t really leave the target open that much and he has a good workrate, a good engine and I think he likes to punch in bursts. Whether Chris wants to take the gamble early on and go for George, that remains to be seen. Or he is going to try to take George past six, down the straight, go to work in nine and 10, stick to him and keep punching, punching and punching. It’s a fascinating fight. I think you’ve seen Billy Joe [Saunders] box and outbox Chris Eubank in the first six rounds, that’s a blueprint there for George Groves. But then if you see the second half of the fight, that’s Chris Eubank.
“Groves has got belief again in his power and the relationship with Shane is developing all the time. If George can show up like he did with the first Froch fight or DeGale he’s in with a great chance.”
If Gallagher had to pick a winner? “I say Groves only because of the experience and the punching power,” he said. “But I wouldn’t rule Eubank out.”