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Carl Froch vs. George Groves: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

Briggs SeekinsFeatured Columnist IVJune 11, 2016

Carl Froch vs. George Groves: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Over 75,000 British boxing fans will pack Wembley Stadium this Saturday for one of the most hotly anticipated boxing rematches in years as Carl Froch defends the WBA and IBF super middleweight titles against George Groves.

    Groves suffered the first defeat of his career against Froch last November, but not before giving the tough veteran all he could handle for most of the fight.

    Froch has developed into the U.K.'s biggest boxing star in recent years, but the upstart Groves has the opportunity to take that status away from him.

Tale of the Tape

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images
    Per BoxRec     Carl Froch     George Groves
    Record:     32-2, 23 KOs     19-1, 15 KOs
    Height:     6'1"     5'11.5"
    Reach:     75"     72"
    Weight:     168 lbs     168 lbs
    Age:     36     26
    Stance:     Orthodox     Orthodox
    Hometown:     Nottingham, England     London, England
    Rounds:     240     104

    Carl Froch is a decade older than George Groves. Froch has a length advantage, but Groves did a good job of negating that for most of their fight last November.

    The fight will take place in London's Wembley Stadium. After the controversy surrounding Froch's stoppage win last time, this rematch will be the biggest all-England showdown in years.

Main Storylines

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    Froch won the first meeting between these two last November by Round 9 TKO. But the stoppage was heavily criticized for being premature, and Groves had been winning the fight up until it occurred. 

    Groves had entered that bout as an underdog, but he jumped all over the champion in the first round, knocking Froch down with a right to the head. Froch fought back courageously but was definitely still losing when he got the quick-stoppage win. 

    The circumstances under which the fight ended made a rematch essential. Interest in the return bout is so big in England that it has sold out Wembley Stadium. 

    It's a huge bout in England, but it's a fight with major significance around the world. Froch holds two world titles at super middleweight, the WBA and IBF. Aside from Andre Ward, who beat him easily in 2011, Froch is universally regarded as the top 168-pound fighter in the world. 

    So Groves' performance last time, even in defeat, gave him a major bump in the rankings. A win Saturday would make him a must-see opponent for Andre Ward.

Strengths

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Carl Froch is an extremely well-conditioned fighter. He is tough and durable and has the ability to ride out a storm and grind out a win through sheer determination. 

    He's an intelligent boxer who fights well off his back foot and makes good adjustments during a fight. He's been in the ring against the best of his era. 

    George Groves is an athletic, talented boxer. He has quick hands and very good timing, which allow him to counter well and also seize the initiative and get off first. He's got good defensive head movement.

    Groves' balance and footwork is solid and allows him to control range successfully. At 26, he is in his prime and seems to be improving with each fight.

Weaknesses

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Carl Froch has a bad habit of squaring up his stance in exchanges. It makes him a bigger target than he should be and minimizes the amount of power he's able to generate with his punches. 

    For a top-rated fighter, Froch's balance is shaky. 

    George Groves allows his inexperience to get the better of him at times, becoming overconfident and attacking with abandon when his opponent is still dangerous. When he opens up like that, it gives the other man the space to catch him in return.  

    That was what allowed Froch the opportunity to land the punches that won him the fight last time.

Carl Froch Will Win If...

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Froch made some good adjustments during his last fight with Groves. Even though the stoppage seemed premature and Froch was behind, The Cobra had slightly shifted the momentum back in his favor at the time of the stoppage. 

    But he had a very difficult time for much of the fight, and he's going to need to find a way to avoid that this time. Groves believes he had victory stolen from him, and if Froch lets him jump out to an early lead in the rematch, the challenger's confidence will soar. 

    Froch has to work on establishing his own jab and preventing Groves from getting off first and steadily driving him backward. He had much more success in the last fight when he could draw Groves into wild exchanges at middle range, then catch him between punches. 

    Froch got a gift last time. He's going to need to fight better this time if he wants to win again.

George Groves Will Win If...

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Make no mistake, Groves was robbed by a terrible stoppage in his last bout with Froch. He did not appear badly hurt when referee Howard John Foster jumped in to stop the fight. 

    Groves should be able to win the rematch if he fights the same way he fought last time, with some minor defensive adjustments. Groves should look to pressure Froch and back him up with his quick, snapping jab. He should use the punch, like last time, to set up the straight right. 

    Groves fought an emotional fight last time and is going to be drawn to a similar performance in the rematch. I think he needs to be careful to harness that emotion and keep it in check.

    When Froch tries to draw him into wild exchanges, Groves should stay within himself and look to counter intelligently. If he can fight the same fight as last time, without getting caught and giving the referee an excuse to stop it, he should be able to win.

Prediction

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    I think this is going to be a changing-of-the-guard fight. I believe only Howard John Foster's premature stoppage allowed Froch to win the last time these two fought. 

    George Groves used superior speed and athleticism to control the fight against Carl Froch last November, and I just don't see what Froch is going to be able to do to prevent that from happening again. 

    Froch is a durable, tough fighter who will give himself every opportunity hang around and win again. But Groves is coming into this as a determined and confident challenger. 

    At 26, he is gaining the experience to maximize his natural gifts. That is making him into an increasingly dangerous fighter. 

    This time, I think Groves will go the course and earn a unanimous decision. With two world titles around his waist, he should offer Andre Ward a new opponent worth fighting.

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