Carl Froch ruthlessly eradicated doubt over any boxing and mental frailties by out-smarting and knocking out the master of the mind games George Groves in a Wembley pressure cooker on Saturday.
The thirty-six year old, who soon turns thirty-seven, was widely premised to come up short against his seemingly quicker, sharper and technically advanced foe.
With an accompanying noise of erratic spotlights and high – octane rock and roll which ushered the fighters into that tiny squared circle came the misconception that ‘The Cobra’ may well crumble under such elite levels of attention such was the psychological assessment and logic from Groves who challenged anyone not to listen to him – particularly after his mental fanfare prompted Froch to seek a wrongly perceived defeatist route with psychological assistance in the twilight of his career.
On the contrary, the IBF and WBA champion was telling anyone who wished to listen that he indeed still has what it takes in the biggest night of his long, title laden and glossy career, logically pointing out that he can box when needed, as his world amateur bronze and several ABA titles lay testament.
‘The Saint’ had pointed the finger in numerous mock – video’s via youtube and interviews that the anvil chinned champion was a walking contradiction – but it was ironic that, on the greatest stage the noble art had seen in decades, Groves ultimately contradicted himself as he failed to live up to his pre – fight talk of having his way whenever he chose after the first bell finally rang.
Groves began cagey, not foolish enough to underestimate the possibility of any drastic changes Froch had made in camp after the thunderous shots he took in their first meeting. On this occasion his right hand was being successfully negated and the jab which arrowed home so easily back in November was second best here as the tentative pawing of the champions jab gave way to a sharp, stabbing weapon of choice.
But, this is Carl Froch after all and a tight defense has never been his priority. Groves landed several right hands as the pair began to open up and his jab would find its target too. The left – hook he had predicted would see off his rival was employed in the seventh – landing beautifully on the chin which saw Froch stagger and compose himself almost immediately – clear evidence his renowned powers of recovery remained steadfast.
Groves would have to negate several Froch onslaughts and perhaps spent too much time in their path without ever getting seriously tagged, but point scoring thumps to the body would make their mark. As this nip and tuck tempo continued into round eight, where two judges had Froch a round up and the other, Groves, The Cobra produced his greatest punch of his career as Groves’ chin was left unguarded while against the ascendancy, and the ropes.
The ”rhythm and flow” The Saint’s trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick had been promising was sorely missing from his charge, so was the confidence and freedom to fight his natural fight. As the pair prepared diligently in their quest for perfection, they perhaps cancelled out an essential ingredient.
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