George Groves has attempted to get under the skin of Carl Froch ahead of their WBA and IBF super middleweight title collision, insisting the champion cannot sell a fight and isn’t a box-office personality.
Relations have turned increasingly sour between the pair ahead of their widely anticipated Nov. 23 contest, but Groves insists the public only cares about Froch when he is fighting an interesting opponent. Buncey’s Boxing Podcast, via ESPN.co.uk, provides the quotes:
This fight has ended up being a huge fight and a pay-per-view event because he's fighting me, not because Carl Froch is a pay-per view-fighter in his own right. If he had boxed Thomas Oosthuizen, this wouldn't be on pay-per-view.
If he had boxed someone else in the top ten who no one had really heard of, it wouldn't be pay-per-view. He's not that much of a star as he believes …
He's only a big fighter when he's in big fights. And fighting me, in my opinion, is an interesting fight for the fans.
Froch first became a world champion five years ago, but he only truly spiked the consciousness of the general British public after his thrilling defeat to Mikkel Kessler two years later.
Even at that stage of his career, Gareth A Davies of the Telegraph reported that major TV channels still showed little attention to the Nottingham fighter.
Groves knows it is a raw nerve that can be poked ahead of their battle and, according to ESPN, he aimed a dig at Froch’s awkward personality, which often lacks conviction when he attempts to trash talk opponents:
He's [been] a terrible trash talker throughout his whole career. We've seen it at all levels and particularly it was the false trash talk, which isn't natural and isn't nice to hear, when he's sat there and he's trying to sell a fight with Andre Ward.
Who wins on Nov. 23?
Groves confessed to Sky Sports he is “in the middle of a dispute” with former trainer Adam Booth leading into the bout, which threatens to disrupt his own preparations for the biggest night of his life.
The aim for Groves must be that Nov. 23 proves his launch night, rather than the date that proves he will never be a world-class operator.
Right now the 25-year-old is talking a good game and is doing all he can to anger the champion. He and Froch clashed at a recent press conference and then exchanged sharp words on Sky Sports’ Ringside programme.
The pair are expected to put on a war in two weeks’ time, but the simmering fear is that Froch is on a different level to his compatriot.
Groves has never shared a ring with an Andre Ward and he has never beaten a Mikkel Kessler. Froch undoubtedly is a poor trash talker, but that will count for little if he has the final word in Manchester.