George Groves vs Chris Eubank Jr

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George Groves vs Chris Eubank Jr
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Saturday, February 17, 2018
Manchester Arena (formerly M.E.N Arena), Manchester, UK
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Titles at Stake: 
WBA Junior Light Heavyweight World (Super) Title. World Boxing Super Series, Semi-Final


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Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 1).

I like this match up, it's an interesting one, there are two very different ways of looking at it.

I've always been a fan of George Groves, I remember predicting him to beat Carl Froch, when they were scheduled to fight in 2013, Groves was 19-0, 25 I believe, untested, rumoured to have serious weaknesses, he was a massive underdog, but he was, to say the least, a very good boxer, a dangerous puncher, a hungry, ambitious challenger, who means every shot he lands, that much was clear. Groves had one victory on his record which stood out, that was a razor tight, highly disputed, but legitimate, majority decision victory, defeating previously unbeaten long time bitter rival, 2008 Olympic gold medalist, James Degale, a fighter who has achieved a lot in boxing, since then, and was always highly regarded a very talented boxer. When the Froch fight came underway, Groves shocked many people, getting off to a great start, dropping the two title world champion heavily at the end of round 1, to then continue his early dominance. Through the next 6 rounds, Groves aggressively drew Froch onto many, many sharp, stinging jabs, and lethal right hands, making a wild, sluggish Froch miss, fall short with lazy looking punches, with Froch, landing the occasional shot, some glancing blows, showing grit, resilience, nicking a round or 2, but taking a beating. Froch's hopes of turning the fight around, seemed to raise, when a tiring Groves won the next couple of rounds more narrowly, and in round 9, having thrown a huge amount of punches, an exhausted Groves found himself in a spot of bother for the first time in the fight, taking a massive right hand, a brave, motiavted Froch, swinging for the fences, piling on the pressure, landing some big follow up punches, but not dropping, nor repeatedly, consecutively, dangerously punishing Groves, only for the referee to controversially stop the fight.

6 months later, at Wembley Arena, in front of 80,000 fans, it was 'Unfinished Business', as Froch and Groves battled it out in a rematch, with all sorts of questions surrounding the conclusion to the first fight, and the rematch, demanded, by many people. After 7 tentative, tactical, fascinating rounds, it was very close, Groves, prepared, fast, sharp, like the first time, Froch, a different fighter. In round 8, in a round he was losing, Froch landed possibly the best punch of his career, when he used his experience, set Groves up, and knocked him out cold, Groves, brave, trying to continue, but in no position to do so, obviously. With questioned trainer, Paddy Fitzpatrick, Groves returned to the ring very quickly after the Froch defeat, not 4 months later, Groves went back to Wembley, and won the European belt, defeating French warrior, Christopher Rebrasse, with a wide win, one sided, but entertaining for the fans, in what was a great fight, but not a great performance from Groves, he shipped some punches, and struggled for pace in the second half of the fight. Groves's next victory was certainly no more impressive, as he took on American, Denis Douglin, he began the fight, beaten to the punch, in a terrible opening round for Groves. Groves got the win, stopped Douglin in 7 rounds, but many questions were asked, it was suggested that maybe he was physically drained, and needed to rest.

Groves, 10 months inactive, travelled to Las Vegas, on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather Jr's last fight, he fought Sweden's Badou Jack, the WBC champion, who was considered at the time, the "weak link" in the division. Jack shocked Groves early with a right to the temple, dropping the challenger. Groves positively took the fight to the champion, landing plenty of leather, having the better of the following few rounds, but failing to discourage Jack. It seemed as if Groves was fading after 6-7 rounds, as the champion came on strong, Groves, trying his best, but having worked so hard, coming off second best in tough rounds, rounds 8-10, and being badly hurt to the body. Groves put up a spirited effort, threw his fair share of wacks at his opponent in the championship rounds, but for all his bravery, it wasn't enough. I was devastated for Groves, as were all his fans, some thought it might have been the end for the Londoner, but he split from his questioned trainer, soon after his third loss, and joined forces with also questioned, but also highly respected trainer, Shane McGuigan, son of an Irish boxing legend, and a trainer who Groves seemed to build a great working relationship with, as Groves, over the next 8 months, looked faster, sharper than he ever had, stopping two opponents inside 6 rounds, one of which, he finsihed with a jab to the body. In June 2016, Groves took on Martin Murray, a fighter in a similar position to him, a fighter who had also come so close to winning a world title on more than one occasion, the fight was considered 50/50 by most. Groves boxed out of his skin, doing the 12 rounds fantastically, and beating Murray by a landslide margin. Groves was promised a world title opportunity at this point, but first, took on German warrior, Eduard Gutknecht. Groves beat Gutknecht in similar form to how he beat Murray, but, tragically, the German battler collapsed after the fight, and was rushed to hospital, there was severe swelling on his brain, and he has since, not fully recovered. Groves dedicated his next performance to his former opponent, as he took on legitimately unbeaten Russian, Fedor Chudinov, in Sheffield. Groves looked to be struggling early, as Chudinov charged forward, throwing awkward hooks at angles, but Groves, firing back, withstanding the punches, and landing the cleaner punches. Groves seemed to be ahead after 5 rounds, and in round 6, he unleashed an offensive burst on his opponent, stopping him, becoming a world champion, finally. Groves won the first leg of the Super Series tournament a few months after becoming a world champion, defending his title, crushing unbeaten brawler, Jamie Cox, in 4 rounds, with a brutal body shot. After the Cox victory, Groves decided to respond to the taunts, the bullying from unpleasant, disrespectful rival, Chris Eubank Jr, and due to Eubank also coming through the first leg of the competition, the fight was all but confirmed before it was finalised.

Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 2)

Chris Eubank Jr is a controversial fighter, he isn't winning any popularity contests, he isn't a nice fellow, there is a certain cold, savage demena to him when he's in the ring, which isn't a criticism, and one thing is for sure, he has boxing talent in his blood. Eubank Jr has a big name, he's the son of a former British boxing legend, his dad was always a, to be positive, a unique fighter and sportsman, certainly had a recognisable name, so his son, with the same name, a bit of a showman himself, in a different way, there was always going to be hype surrounding him.

I get the impression that Sr never wanted Jr anywhere near a boxing ring, quite normal for any parent, boxer, or not, but I think because he had provided his children with a more privileged upbringing, he believed his son, as a kid, was going to be one of those juniors who walks into a boxing gym, and leaves without ever returning, what he didn't anticipate was that maybe his toughness wasn't ever down to the hard times in life the way he assumed, and if not, it was a kind of toughness, endurance, desire he could pass onto his son, and that is obviously how it turned out, as now, Chris Eubank Jr is a monster in the ring, he is questionable in many ways as a boxer at the top level, but one thing nobody can question, is his dedication, commitment to the sport. The first I saw of Eubank Jr, was on Boxnation, he stood centre ring, carrying a humiliated, patronised opponent, round after round, the other guy, trying to keep himself out of danger, and Eubank, eventually, beating the heck out of him, I saw this a few times from him after that, but some knockouts came early as well, and at one point, it was the first time I had ever heard him speak (Sr always being the voice of the team, in almlst every post fight interview), Eubank said, about unbeaten Commonwealth level boxer, Billy Joe Saunders, "if he does get the privilege of sharing a ring with me, he'll wish he never did", it was big talk, the fight was set up, after Saunders vocally retaliated, aggressively.

Although Eubank had been more convincing, looking invincible in mismatch after mismatch, and Saunders has really struggled in a couple of fights, the vast difference in their competition level paid dividends when the fight arrived, as Saunders confidently picked up the points, clearly won the first 4-5 rounds, Eubank, tense, biting, static, and learning a lesson. The fight became close through rounds 6-11, Eubank, finding the target more often against a tiring Saunders, landing his jab, Eubank, but not regularly enough in enough rounds to establish any dominance, however, his right uppercut did land frequently, a more hurtful and impactful punch than anything Saunders could land. Eubank battered Saunders in the last round, Saunders, battered, bloodied, not the best conditioned, but he took the punches, got through it, and won the fight clearly, beating Eubank via wrongly split decision which should have been unanimous.

Since the Saunders loss, Eubank has won 8 fights, 7 by knockout, he has impressed, he has made a massive leap up in competition in comparison to the opponents he was mashing 3-4 years ago, but that isn't saying a great deal, and the best opponent he beat, the only guy to go the distance, 37 years of age, Arthur Abraham, a good fighter, Eubank beating him, it was a good achievement, but not the same achievement, not a win over the same fighter as the man who lost to Carl Froch, Andre Ward, Gilberto Ramirez, and Blackwell, O'Sullivan, good fighters, not old guys either, but not world level opponents. Most recently, Eubank defeated previously unbeaten Turk, Avni Yildrim, stopping him in 3 rounds, Yildrim, a decent fighter, but not looking in great condition against Eubank, and having struggled against a far, far past prime Glen Johnson, still a good fighter though.

Eubank talks the talk, he looks the part, he acts the part, there is evidence to a certain degree, that he is as good as he and his dad say he is, but not clear, definitive evidence, he faces an ultimate test in his fight against George Groves, 29 years old, experienced, still young, and on a great winning streak, for sure, a win over this fighter, would be a massive statement from Eubank, a statement like he has never made before, it is a big ask, I consider Groves better than Saunders, Eubank will have to have improved more than some believe if he is to have the beating of George Groves, there is an actual world title at steak as well, this possible victory would put Eubank on the map, but can he beat George Groves?

Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 3),

My prediction is a Groves win, I'm 65/35 on the champion doing the business, keeping his belt, but it will not be an easy fight, Eubank is a threat, that is for sure, he is dangerous, and Groves can not take any unnecessary chances.

Groves is the more experienced of the 2 fighters, with the Froch, Jack fights behind him, having consistently defeated the much better opponents than Eubank, throughout his career, he's had a few more fights as well. Much more importantly, Groves is a proper, full blown, career, 168 lb contender at this level, Eubank Jr, is not, from late 2013, all the way to the end of 2016, all Eubank's fights were sanctioned at 160, this is a very important factor. Euabnk and Groves, height, reach wise, are the same size, Groves, maybe ever so slightly taller, Eubank, may have ever so slightly more reach, but height, reach, don't tell everything, and when a fighter has so much more familiarity with a weights category than his opponent, this is quite an advantage.

I think both these guys are top 5 in their division, in my opinion, neither of them have the beating of Callum Smith, or Gilberto Ramirez, and James Degale, the only fighter who I think would come up short against Groves, again, but would edge Eubank Jr. I don't think Eubank Jr is much of a threat to Callum Smith, I think he'd be completely outclassed by Gilberto Ramirez, but I can't see him being made to look bad by, given boxing lessons, from Degale or Groves, if I were him, I would really fancy my chances of doing a number on both of them.

There are a lot of questions we have to ask regarding this fight. How much has Chris Eubank improved since he lost to Billy Joe Saunders? Just how good is George Groves now? How much does Groves want this win?, he had the desire to have massive profile fights, well he's done that alright, 80,000 at Wembley, against Carl Froch, and we know he kept that desire to actually do what, many times, he failed to, win a world title, well he's done that as well, how much does he want to be a world champion, who defends his title in tough fights?, how badly does he want to be a long time world champion?, for those few years having never won a world title, did it become only really, seriously about that accomplishment alone?, or did he keep that desire to have the career, the glory, the reign in his division, that that brash, arrogant, spitfeul fighter clearly had when he goaded Carl Froch before their fight in 2013? Does George Groves want to win this fight as much as Chris Eubank Jr wants to win? Does Eubank Jr have a realistic attitide?, how good are Davis and Eubank Sr as coaches? Do they let Jr get complacent, carried away?, does Eubank Jr think his stamina will serve him as well as ever?, even though he is fighting a guy who can reliably make 168, but could never make 160? Does Eubank have a lot of back up plans? Does he understand his own limitations? Does Eubank hit with substantially less power at 168 as he landed with at 160?, how is Eubank's chin at 168? If he takes some bombs from the established 168 lb fighter, how will his chin hold up? Can Eubank do anything really to negate the jab of George Groves? How much of a boxing brain does Eubank have? If Eubank empties his gas tank, does he fade? How quickly does he find a second wind? How does he work around fatuige? How would Eubank deal with the toll of the bigger fighter pouring on the pressure, taking the fight to him?

How vulnerable is Groves's chin? We know he does not have a granite jaw, but is his chin such a hindrance to him that he can't afford to take any big shots really from Eubank?, can Groves use his knowledge of how to survive, prevent Eubank from capitalising if he does hurt him?, can Groves prepare himself for the power of Eubank, withstand the occasional big shot?, how is Groves's revovery? What long lasting damage if any did that devastating knockout loss to Carl Froch do to Groves?, what has his tough, gruelling, draining career taken out of him? How well has Groves adapted to world level boxing over the last few years?, how good is Groves at working around his issues in the ring, boxing to his strengths, showing tactical discipline and intelligence, anticipation? Can Groves make it so that Eubank is working harder, expending more, but not winning the fight, in the first half, the first 8, maybe?, how much damage can Groves inflict on Eubank Jr?, early?, and late?

I think Eubank Jr is a fantastic offensive fighter, blurring hand speed, very high punch output, devastating natural power, incredible engine, very strong, great variety, accuracy which has improved a lot as he has learned, stepped up in competition, but I see flaws when I watch Eubank fight, it is fair to say, that in boxing, you should play to your strengths, do not try to be something you are not, because that is always a bad idea, but at the same time, you have to, like in anything else, boxing or not, sport or not, improve on your weaknesses, specialise, prioritise strengths, take everything you can from the things you do particularly well, but try to have as few weaknesses as possible, don't seriously lack any attributes in boxing. Now, whilst Eubank trains like a machine, stronger, faster, more athletic than ever, and that's great, is he working on the issue he has with over reaching in fights?, holding his feet for too long?, loading up far too much?, over committing? His erratic pace?, because hand speed, strength, killer instinct, raw talent, great attributes, but they won't help him with these mistakes, flaws, and just because 37 year old fighters, Yildrims, Quinlans can't capitalise, shouldn't give him confidence Groves can't.

Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 4),

I think Groves will win this via UD, with the cards ranging between a narrow score or two, and a fairly wide margin or two, he'll defend his title, and hand Eubank his second defeat.

The main reasons why I think Groves will win, are first of all, the weight, I think late on, when natural size comes into play, Groves will overpower Eubank, Eubank will have to expend more energy to sustain a certain level of movement, than Groves will have to, to sustain the same level of offensive or defensive exertion or maybe just movement, but Eubank having more to work around, feeling the extra weight he's carrying, which will work against him, whilst Groves, more than used to going into the late rounds at this weight. Groves is 29, so he is in his prime, I think he might be better than he's ever been before, I think there are aspects of him as a fighter which have been ruined by the Froch knockouts, but I think his maturity, experience, knowledge overcomphensates, he looked great against Martin Murray, that was some performance, and against Fedor Chudinov, a very tough, underrated fighter who defeated Felix Sturm twice, Groves wasn't losing, and he pulled out a tremendous onslaught in round 6 to win the belt, I think Groves is at his peak, so timing wise, this shouldn't suit Eubank so much, in a few years time, Eubank's age could help him, but I don't think it really will in this fight, he may be the fresher fighter, granted, but I think Groves still has it in the tank, is still young enough that he can thrive in a tough fight like this, then again, Groves is the fighter with less time to waste, that might put some more pressure on him to win this fight.

I do think Eubank Jr will be physically stronger in the early rounds, he'll be the aggressor, he'll try to take the fight to Groves, and if Eubank can really make it a dogfight, early, Groves could be in trouble, because, early, Eubank might have more power too, maybe even more hand speed, he's certainly got resistance on his side, Groves, I think pure stamina wise, although I think Groves does not have stamina issues, hence his late success, and fantastic finish against Martin Murray, and late rally against Badou Jack, that is another attribute which Eubank has over Groves, but these physical attributes, one would think, may become less useful for Eubank down the stretch, due to the weight. Groves is much lighter on his feet than Eubank, but I think Groves might have more hand speed in this fight, for the majority of it, for the first 4 or 5 rounds, Eubank may have the upper hand in speed, but the Groves jab, now that is something Eubank could struggle to deal with, if Groves could let Eubank swing for the fences, work himself ragged, early, as he catapults that jabĀ  smack into his face, move back the head, he could win the fight very comfortably, the jab to the body as well, that shot knocked out Groves's opponent in his return fight in early 2016, his jab caused Froch so many problems, Badou Jack said it was a weapon he impressed him with, Groves, with his reflexes, feints, throughout, nonstop focus, using the jab, can be the ultimate nightmare opponent. Groves, since training with Shane McGuigan, has become a much more negative fighter, he does what he has to, to win rounds, he doesn't let his anger, emotions control him anymore, throw too many, wild, predictable, energy sapping punches, he used to do that, threw away what could have been a victory against a Froch the first time I think, no Groves is so good at picking his shots, his punches are so much more natural now, rather than tense, hyper right hands which take it out of you, and don't carry the force you think you are hitting your opponent with, Groves, throws his right hand the right way, steps in with it, kind of falls forward behind it, rotates the way, sets himself the right way, uses his feet the right way, and uses all the power he can, in the most measured way possible, if he could do this against Eubank everytime Eubank is cutting down the range, if he could counter him with single shots, keep it negative, without being forced to work too hard, he could put a lot of early rounds in the bank.

I think if Groves is on the ropes, that will suit Eubank, certainly in rounds 3-6, he may be able to to afford to plant his feet, tee off on Groves without paying the price, he's the much better combination puncher as well Eubank, throws in bursts, and if he can draw Groves onto one big shot, if Groves finds himself moving into a shot, he could go, so Groves, can not afford a single big mistake, I think Eubank can, for the Groves fans, that should be worrying. If Groves can punch his way off the ropes, land to body as he's moving off, bring Eubank onto the shot, he could do some damage himself, body shots are something Groves would be wise to use early, weaken Eubank for the late rounds. Groves would be an idiot to stand and trade with Eubank, but if he could make it messy, make it a bit of a wrestling match at times, if he can get away with it, he could push, shove Eubank, be nasty, aggressive, try to establish himself as the bigger boxer, that could be a smart tactic, as long as he doesn't let himself onto the end of a short, lethal counter shot as Eubank is capable of landing, but I think in a dirty fight, Hopkins, Ward style, the more experienced fighter, Groves will benefit, and at long range, that will also suit him, but in a clean, inside fight, which is about output, resilience, aggression, that's Eubank's territory. I see Groves chin and issue with facial injuries, as a bit of a prime target for Eubank. This is such an interesting match up.

Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 5),

I think Eubank will start well, he'll overwhelm, outwork Groves with relentless pressure, land a couple of good shots in the first round. Groves will begin to land accurate counter punches off the ropes as early as round 2, and by round 4, he will be timing Eubank, landing that railroad jab, getting the odd clean right hand home, making Eubank miss badly with some wasteful punches. I think at some point in the early-mid rounds, we will see Eubank land clean with something, he'll hurt Groves, but I think Groves, over the years, has become so good at knowing what to do when he is hurt, and Eubank will be unable to really capitalise. I think Eubank will be struggling for pace in rounds 7 and 8, as a wiser, more conservative Groves makes him pay, piling on the pressure, landing precise, impactful power shots, making every one of the shots count, Eubank, in a fight, and coming second best.

At some point, at least once, in rounds 7-10, I think Eubank will land clean with a counter which Groves is moving in the wrong direction to take, and he may well hurt Groves, feel himself taking a toll with the shot, but like earlier on, I don't think he will be able to capitalise, as Groves clinches, overpowers Eubank, and if he can't do that, he'll use movement, blocking abilities, and the burst will take a lot out of Eubank, therefore, Groves will reapply the pressure, and give Eubank a beating. I think the raised pace will be taking a lot out of Groves, as he works hard, round after round, and Eubank will take a lot of draining, energy sapping punches, they'll both be spent after 10 rounds. I think round 11 will be a slowed down round, both looking for much needed respite, Eubank, drained, Groves, needing to take his foot off the pedal, at times, looking the more tired of the two, allowing Eubank to pressure him, out work him for the duration of the round, but looking like he has more in the tank, as he has a good finish to the round, landing the best shots of the round. I think Eubank will land a shock uppercut at the start of the last round, behind, needing the finish, he'll jump to his opportunity, Groves, in massive trouble, holding, trying to weather the storm, as Eubank loads up, misses wildly, but lands a few follow up punches, but Groves, pushing him, making it awkward, making him miss. I think Eubank will blow a gasket before the midway point of the last round, and Groves will seem to have recovered, but it will be Eubank who is on the offensive, the aggressor, bullying Groves, who seems to want to coast to the end, but Eubank, swinging, and unable to find another clean, hurtful shot.

Groves wins via UD, 115-113/116-112.

Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 6),

I think both Groves and Eubank need this win.

Eubank is not being talked about in boxing as much as he was at one point, he is yet to beat a great fighter, he has a lot to prove, after all the talk, all the hard work he has put in, in the gym, if he loses to George Groves, it will be devastating for him, a massive blow, hard to come back from, he would be avoided, and when you are outspoken, arrogant, you haven't beaten any really good fighters, you have to be winning, he could bounce back, but it would be very tough, and in all honesty, George Groves is a great fighter, but he is not a top level fighter, he's no Golovkin, no Ward, Ramirez, of Eubank is as great a fighter as he keeps saying he is, he should be able to blast Groves out when they fight, but if he loses to Groves, I'd write him off against any fighter of the calibre of Golovkin.

Groves has had quite a career, he has one great victory on his record, but victory over James Degale, he achieved that when they were both around 10-0, and at Commonwealth level, but apart from that, there aren't really any great wins on his record, his defeats, are a close decision, a premature stoppage, at which time, he was way ahead, and a one punch knockout in what was a very close fight up until that point, he gave Carl Froch allkinds of problems, dropped him, was involved in such a high profile fight in the rematch, he really made a name for himself. Groves has beaten many solid opponents, really good fighters, Martin Murray, Fedor Chudinov, but he hasn't actually ever beaten a fighter who is considered a great fighter, apart from Degale, and if Groves was to lose to Eubank Jr, then that wouldn't change, he would still be, really remembered for his losses, much more thanĀ  any of his wins, not too bad for his reputation under the circumstances, but that would still the case.

If Groves wins, it will be the cherry on top for his career, it will be a stand out victory, a fight many think he will lose, on paper, his chances of winning, do look quite slim, so if he was to pull out the win, that would be impressive, he would prove himself, to not only be good enough to push the Carl Froch's of the boxing world, to the limit, win a world title, against a very good opponent, but also defend that title, beat an opponent of the talent, power, weaponry of Chris Eubank Jr, answer the questins about just how well he came back from those losses, just how much of a refined boxer is he? It would be devastating for Groves should he lose this fight, if it happens, then I think Groves should retire, I think retirement is 1-2 fights away now for Groves, he has had a great career, but in boxing, 30 can be old, Groves has taken some beatings, he's also been on the end of what I think, in all reality, was a long term damaging shot, in terms of Groves as a boxer, not as a person, but I am talking about him as a boxer, and I think because of the career he has had, the punishment, wear and tear he will put himself through in the future should he fight into his thirties, and with this, the losses he will take, because I don't think he would beat any of the absolute top fighters. I think Groves beating many more fighters like Jamie Cox, David Brophy, in the long run, is just him doing what he has already done, and building himself up for nothing really, because I wouldn't like to see him in many more big fights at all. If Groves beats Eubank Jr, he's going to stick around for the final, probably against Callum Smith, I don't think he wins that fight, I think Smith is too durable, strong, powerful, and he'd stop Groves, but assuming this is what happens, and Groves doesn't take too much damage in a fight against Smith, then maybe he could rebuild, if he decides he has the desire, is in the right place mentally, and his body is up to it, he could work towards (maybe just training, maybe a warm up bout or even two) a rematch against James Degale, that fight makes a lot of sense for George Groves, I think, now, he'd win that fight, it would be a world title victory, I think Degale wants that fight, he'd be the favourite, and I think in a couple of years, Degale might have the beating of his nemesis. I think the best option for Groves is to retire after 1-2 more fights.

There is a massive amount at steak here, could be the best victory of one of their careers, I think definitely the best so far, but defeat, either way, would be devastating, I really hope Groves wins this one!