In front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in London Saturday, Carl Froch left no doubt in the minds of those around the globe that he is the superior fighter in comparison to George Groves.
Much like the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley saga, Groves was apparently robbed last November after the fight was stopped in the ninth round. In that fight, Groves dropped Froch in the first round and bullied him with superior speed.
For all intents and purposes, Groves was the winner of the first fight and entered Saturday night with a chip on his shoulder. One violent response from Froch later saw to it that not one question can be raised about the end result, as captured by James Dart of The Guardian:
That sure is an emphatic way to prevent any questions about the result, but the implications may be bigger than most can imagine upon first consideration. Let's examine the lasting effects, outside of the obvious physical ramifications.
First, the winner.
Froch started out sluggish enough, but like any good champ, he needed just a minor opening to make his opposition pay. After his stunning victory, the WBA and IBF super middleweight champ was quick to assign the moment a slot on his career highlights, as captured by ESPN's Dan Rafael:
That, to me, would be hard to top," Froch said of knocking out Groves in front of such a massive crowd. "I'd love to box in Las Vegas. It ticks a really special box for me. It's the fight capital of the world. I will never top boxing at Wembley, the national stadium, in front of 80,000 people. To put boxing on this platform is special, I'm very proud. My children will look back and say: 'That was my daddy in there.'
The world awaits Froch's next defense, even if he did claim he is set to take the summer off.
While he has earned it, fans have to be salivating at the prospects of a Froch encounter with former middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., a bout that was on the table before the two dances with Groves.
Chavez Jr. made his stance on a fight known after Froch's victory, per FightNights.com:
Of course, a rather boring mandatory rematch against James DeGale may be in the cards, too. He won against American Brandon Gonzales on Saturday and is due for a shot at the strap.
Regardless, it's readily apparent that Froch remains one of the kings of the sport and has plenty left in the tank. Perhaps most important of all, the mental stress of allegedly not winning his first encounter with Groves is no more.
Carry on, champ.
For a man who routinely dominated the first fight and had the look of doing the same on Saturday before falling victim to unconsciousness from a wicked shot, Groves handled the defeat quite well:
Groves has every right to be proud of his performance, and he has to understand that his time as the top dog will come sooner rather than later, even with the ugly defeat.
He is just 26 years old, and while he didn't get his passing-of-the-torch moment against his rival on Saturday, he remains upbeat, per Rafael:
I will learn from this fight because I made mistakes. All the imperfections need to be corrected. We'll come back stronger. It's back to the drawing board. We've got no excuses. Tonight is all about Carl, it's his night now. I thought I was doing very well in the fight, but it is boxing. I have to hold my hands up and I'll come back bigger and better and stronger.
The main issue for Groves is that he will have a hard time shaking the narrative he could never defeat Froch. A third bout seems a distant possibility at this point with the flames of debate all but extinguished.
For his next few fights, Groves has to build his credibility back up and ensure he overcomes the mental side effects of losing the most important fight of his career after once again seemingly holding an advantage.
It's a tough mountain to climb, but if Groves is to truly sit atop the sport someday, he must take the challenge in stride.
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