Former IBF light-heavyweight title holder Clinton Woods is siding with the challenger this weekend as Carl Froch and George Groves near their huge British grudge match at Wembley Stadium.
The 42 year-old, who retired in 2009 following a six-year spell at the top of the sport, has been following the rivalry intently since the pair first shared the ring last November – and like most, believes the ending to the first fight was premature.
“The fight was stopped to early,” Woods told World Boxing News.
“Howard Foster is a great ref, but on that night he pulled Groves out to early. Personally I’d have like to have seen another couple of rounds. It’s part of the game to be put under pressure in spells during a fight, but it’s how you come through it and I thought Groves deserved the benefit.
“It happened to me several times in my career, but that’s boxing.”
Woods was part of an era that lacked the intensity of those great British nights as the Yorkshireman’s biggest events against the then best around, Roy Jones, Antonio Tarver and Tavoris Cloud all took place Stateside.
Road warrior Glen Johnson unsurprisingly had no problem travelling to Britain for a trilogy of clashes with Woods, whilst the Sheffield boxer’s defining world title night against Rico Hoye lit up the Magna Centre in Rotherham almost a decade ago.
There was some talk of super-middleweight king Joe Calzaghe moving up in weight for a massive UK fight in the past, but that never came to fruition and Woods is looking forward to the world spotlight being back on his homeland this Saturday night.
“This fight is a massive sell-out as the British public have been deprived of great domestic match-ups over the last few years,” pointed out Woods.
“We had the great era of Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank, but after they retired the fights the fans wanted were just never made. It’s a shame really because domestically we had some great fights out there that never happened.
“Now we have a young up and coming fighter in George Groves fighting one of the best in Carl Froch and he is putting in a lot of work trying to win the fight before they enter the ring like in the first fight.
“It’s been done before and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Personally I never entertained it, so I think Groves is edging that one and I’d have to side with him for this fight.
“I think Groves will win on points, but in this game anything can happen,” he added.
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Froch v Groves is live on HBO in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK this Saturday night from Wembley Stadium in London