If the Carl "The Cobra" Froch vs. George Groves rematch features as many real punches as virtual jabs during the lead-up to the bout, it should be a slugfest.
In the brawl that seems certain to break out in the ring at the legendary Wembley Stadium, the Cobra's strike will prove the most deadly—in the sporting sense of the term.
After their first bout ended controversially, WBA and IBF super middleweight champion Froch wants to prove he is the better boxer without question.
Many believe Froch received a break when his bout with Groves was stopped in the ninth round back in Nov. 2013.
Froch had hurt Groves, but the challenger hardly looked out on his feet when Howard Foster called an end to the fight.
Groves had dropped Froch in the first round and was ahead on points on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Almost immediately after the bout, Groves began demanding a rematch.
To put it mildly, Groves has been confident that he'll not only beat Froch but stop him.
On Thursday at a pre-fight press conference, Groves likened Froch to a man on death row, per Gareth A Davies of the Telegraph:
[...] I don't need to antagonise Carl Froch. I want him to be at peace because it is dawning on him that his day of reckoning is fast approaching. He is going to have to face the inevitable.
He is like a man on death row and I can't imagine that would be very nice.
Kevin Mitchell of the Guardian didn't care for Groves' choice of words. He wrote:
Boxing is not a landscape with many boundaries. So, when George Groves stepped across one of them into a very ugly place by telling Carl Froch he was “a man on death row” in the final hours before their world title fight at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night, the opprobrium that flew his way was considerable and justified – and there is a chance the clever young Londoner has thrown one barb too many.
Indeed, Groves' chatter is pretty tough talk. But I think we all know he didn't mean that in the literal sense. There's no more reality in his metaphorical reference than there is in the relation between Froch and a real cobra.
It's all boxing talk and that should be kept in the proper perspective.
Groves certainly earned the right to speak so confidently. In all honesty, he may very well have won the first fight if he survived the ninth round.
That said, there's little doubt Groves began to tire late in the fight. He had rocked and surprised Froch with his speed and power early on. However, Froch is tough as nails.
He took the shot, got up and didn't seem to be in danger of being stopped the rest of the way, though he was losing the fight.
Around the seventh round, the momentum began to shift.
Groves' stamina seemed to wane and Froch took advantage in the ninth round. Often times, a fighter can surprise an opponent, jump on them early and win. But when the fighter in the advantageous position fails to finish, he runs the risk of having his opponent adjust and change the momentum.
It happened to Manny Pacquiao in his first fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, and it could be argued that it was about to happen to Groves in his first fight with Froch.
This will be the grandest stage either has competed on, but with years of world championship experience under his belt, Froch should have an edge.
He also can draw confidence off the fact that he had his man in trouble before the referee stopped the bout. It's true, Groves' trash talk has gotten under Froch's skin.
The champion hired a mind coach to help him deal with Groves' head games.
Developments such as this make it easy to lean toward Groves as the winner in this bitter contest. But conventional wisdom says the veteran pulls it together and takes the young challenger into deep water late in the fight.
A late-round stoppage will silence Groves—at least as it pertains to this rivalry—once and for all.
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