GEORGE GROVES has hailed the impact trainer Shane McGuigan has had on his route to a fourth world title shot as he readies himself for Fedor Chudinov tomorrow night.
Groves and Chudinov fight for the vacant WBA super-middleweight title at Bramall Lane in Sheffield as chief-support to Kell Brook vs Errol Spence.
McGuigan, who led Carl Frampton to three world titles in two weight divisions, suffered a setback in March when an injured David Haye was stopped by underdog Tony Bellew, though Groves has lost no confidence in his coach.
“It’s a difficult call, difficult making a decision in the here and now,” he said of Shane’s decision to throw in the towel for Haye in the 11th round.
“I’m working with Shane McGuigan: I’ve had four fights [four wins] with him, I’ve got enough proof that he’s the right man for the job, he’s had I don’t know how many world title fights where he’s worked the corner. He had David Haye in a fight, with one leg, for five rounds, and there’d be some people saying ‘You’ve got to pull him out’.
“But he’s got to make a decision in the moment: there and then. And I remember thinking ‘I’d have left David in there‘ because he was doing alright. He’s at a stage of his career where if he bails out with an injury, that’s it, he’s out. He’s in with Bellew, who couldn’t knock him out, didn’t knock him out, he stopped him in the end because enough was enough, David wasn’t going to chin him and he wasn’t going to win on points. If he was in there with [Wladimir] Klitschko or Anthony Joshua, would you have let him do another round? Probably not, no. But it’s just hard to tell in the there and now, so you let time do its thing and then assess things.”
After splitting with original trainer Adam Booth, Groves teamed up with Paddy Fitzpatrick but George parted ways with him after his 2015 loss to Badou Jack. That is when he joined McGuigan, a man he says he has a much better relationship with.
Frampton suffered his first pro loss in January to Leo Santa Cruz – the three-weight world champion he defeated last year. Groves admits that he was momentarily concerned about how McGuigan would react to defeat, but now has every faith in him.
“I’ll be honest. I thought to myself; Do I really know about Shane yet?” he said.
“I’ve worked with other trainers who get pushed up on a pedestal – then fall, implode and recover from it; have a breakdown.
“I was thinking – I hope this chap doesn’t lose the plot. He hasn’t. He coped very well with the loss[es].
“More so with Frampton losing because that was a…Haye lost because he was injured. He would probably have won if he wasn’t injured.
“But Shane has the right people round him and he has good family support. He has been everything I have asked from him and more in the gym.”