Groves is going to get a rude awakening
WHEN Carl Froch defends his WBA and IBF super-middleweight crowns against George Groves in Manchester on Saturday, November 23, he does so against a challenger who has not been embroiled in years of high-profile wars.
Messrs Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham had all fought in numerous world title battles. So had Jermain Taylor, and Jean Pascal would go on to become champion at light-heavyweight.
Hammersmith’s Groves, however, has not mingled in those exclusive circles, but rather than sounding calm and reticently confident, he is pluckily emboldened by his shot and his self-confidence.
None of the words in his guest column indicate fear or even a great deal of respect for the battle-hardened warrior. “He’s just letting himself down,” Froch said of Groves’ reluctance to share any semblance of admiration in the build-up thus far. “You’ve got to earn respect, I’ve more than earned it. I deserve it. He’s just a disrespectful young kid.”
Groves, in his column, refers to Froch’s appearance on the TV dancing showing Stepping Out on ITV on Saturday night, but George, as Carl points out, has also been on mainstream television. “You’ve got a guy who jumps on the back of David Haye’s family to get on Family Fortunes for the exposure. Anyway, we will see who’s the real deal. He’s the young pretender, for sure, and he’s going to get a rude awakening. I respect every fighter who gets in the ring, but I have no respect for him as a person.”
On paper, Froch’s experience could see him walk the fight. The bookies significantly favour him. But there is something that really whets the appetite about an all-British showdown and Groves proved many wrong when he defeated his old amateur rival James DeGale a couple of years ago.
Ten years the champion’s junior, Groves attacking Froch’s legacy reminds me of how the Nottingham star repeatedly banged on the door of Joe Calzaghe and how the Welshman had called out Steve Collins.
Maybe those fights would have been too early for Calzaghe and Froch respectively, maybe this is too early for Groves. But maybe, just maybe, it isn’t.