It gets no closer than this. In a fight billed as ‘The Grudge’, Groves edged his amateur rival DeGale by scores of 115-114 (twice) and 115-115 for a minor upset.
That an immediate rematch wasn’t made is understandable; the two rookies had surprised – and impressed – by risking their unbeaten records early in their careers. Also the bout had been intriguing rather than outright scintillating.
Yet the high-profile hostility between the pair, plus the fact that many thought DeGale – the aggressor for much of the fight – had done enough to nick a decision, seemed to make a sequel inevitable at some stage. It wasn’t to be. Talk of a follow-up would crop up almost every year until 2019, when the retirement of both finally put an end to it.