One of the biggest boxing matches in British history will take place Saturday in the epic rematch of George Groves and Carl Froch at Wembley Stadium.
Froch comes in as the IBF and WBA Super Middleweight Champion, a title he retained with a ninth-round knockout of Groves last November. Of course, it was far from a one-sided affair as the champion was knocked down early and was hurt pretty badly throughout the match.
This time around, both sides are ready for a battle that should be thrilling to watch from beginning to end. With the tens of thousands of fans in attendance at the stadium, it will be even more exciting.
While both fighters have a chance to come away a champion, the eventual winner will be the one who does a better job following these keys to victory.
George Groves: Must Pace Himself
There has been a lot of talk from both sides, but Groves was very specific in his plan against his opponent, as reported by The Guardian:
It’ll be the left hook that finishes Carl Froch on Saturday night. Anyone who has watched the media workouts will know we’ve been working on left hooks and the left hook will work. I’m going to go out and perform on Saturday night and become world champion and do it on the big stage looking very good doing it.
Not only is it a poor idea to tell your opponent what you plan to do, but the idea of going after him with a big hook is also not a good strategy.
In the last match, it was clear that Groves tired himself out attempting to finish his opponent early. By the end of the competition, Froch had more energy and was able to come away the winner.
This time around, Groves needs to avoid even trying to go for a knockout, as noted by Ian Darke of BT Sport:
Groves talk of knockout unrealistic. Froch never been stopped. All a smokescreen. He needs to use speed skills and box cool all 12 rounds— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) May 30, 2014
That could help him get a win instead of just an impressive loss.
Froch has one of the strongest chins in the sport and is rarely even in trouble in his fights. Even with Groves' pure power, it is unlikely that this match turns into a knockout (unless it is stopped too soon).
The 26-year-old fighter will not be able to sneak up on anyone in this bout. Groves has to use his speed and find a way to remain disciplined throughout all 12 rounds to keep instilling damage on his older opponent.
In reality, it should be the younger boxer who stays fresher than his opponent at the end of a long match, and that will be his chance to earn a win.
Carl Froch: Stay Focused
The first time out, Froch was simply not ready for the speed and strength of his opponent. He went down in the first round and needed a few more rounds just to recover.
He recently discussed the problem, saying, "I gave him the advantage in the first fight, allowed him to get comfortable and let his shots go. I took too many steps back but I won't be taking a backward step in this fight," according to the Associated Press (h/t USA Today).
The constant back-and-forth trash talk will attempt to bait Froch into a toe-to-toe fight. To make matters worse, the champion will be trying to prove to everyone that the first fight was not a fluke.
There are obviously quite a few who thought the bout was stopped too soon, including ESPN's Dan Rafael:
It would make sense for Froch to come out firing in an attempt dominate his opponent. He wants to prove doubters wrong and show that he is one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
However, this would not be a good decision for the veteran fighter. He needs to be smart and not get caught up in a street fight when he can use his experience to win the match in the judge's eyes.
Froch does not need to dance around the ring like Floyd Mayweather, but he has to avoid getting caught up in a place where Groves can land a square punch and knock him out. This requires focus to remain in the right position, as well as maturity to avoid letting his ego get the best of him.
This will be an outstanding fight between two great boxers, but Froch will be able to retain his titles if he uses his technique to his advantage.
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