Paddy Fitzpatrick has suggested that the preparation for George Groves’ big European title fight has suffered no post-Wembley hangover and the technical tweaking in-play would have been applied even if his charge came away with the victory last May – where a momentary lapse cost him dear.
The Saint’s charismatic trainer, who was speaking at the Super middleweight’s gym in Hammersmith, revealed that he believes Groves had the lead in the much closer second fight, but took nothing away from Carl Froch as the events of that historic night digested and the duo look forward to this coming Saturday in more businesslike fashion;
”It’s not as if nothing happened, because it did happen.” The trainer said when asked if he was able to dismiss the result and put the defeat to bed.
”We’ve lost the last two fights and we have to win this one regardless of whether it’s for a European title or if it was an eight round fight. This is a must, must win.
”The preparation has been the same as it was for the last two (Froch fights) – complete preparation. I think the first one was an excellent fight. I think most people would agree. The second one was an excellent fight until that’s all she wrote in the eighth round.
”I had Carl winning the third round and the fifth round. I had George up five rounds to two. Some people might have it in other ways. The Sky pundits had it a bit different and I don’t know what they were smoking that night. He was ahead in both fights and Carl did what he had to do and I tip my hat to him on that.”
”We’ve prepared 100% as usual but this fight is a must win so it’s a different mood.”
Groves found himself under pressure against the ropes from ”The Cobra” in the eighth round and chose to fight his way out before that memorable right hand put paid to his second world title bid.
”We were never supposed to be near the ropes. We went near them in the fifth round and we went near them again in the eighth round.” Paddy recalled.
”He shot a hook when he was the wrong side of the line, opening up his shoulder – he made an opening so, we’ve been working on his positioning on the line in this fight. We address that because he actually did it in the seventh round and got away with it but nobody saw it because he got away with it. Regardless, if we won that last fight we’d still be addressing things that need polishing.”
Christopher Rebrasse poses a legitimate threat as it is unclear how ”The Saint” will fare after back to back defeats. Regardless, the Frenchman has a 22 – 2 – 3 record without being stopped in those two defeats and would supply a decent test for anyone;
”If this was an eight round fight against any man it would still be a must win fight. He’s got the title so he has the confidence of a champion.” Paddy said.
”He’s coming over here aware that George has lost his last two which I’m sure is giving him more confidence thinking George is damaged goods and not emotionally where he should be. These are things that would work in advance of the fight to give Rebrasse confidence, but it’s our job to take that confidence away as early as possible in this fight.”
Should Groves come through unscathed, he will have earned the right to contest for the WBC title.
Over in the USA, WBC champion Anthony Dirrell recently stoked up some potential needle by revealing to IFL TV that he felt Groves was undeserving of a shot after two successive defeats, and Paddy was typically diplomatic in his response when this was put to him;
”Every man can make comments can’t they, he can say what he wants to say. If you remember what Carl Froch said on Ringside on a Thursday night that he couldn’t get up for George therefore he wasn’t going to fight him and by Friday the fight was mandated and he had no choice but to fight him and that was only 24 hours later. Dirrell can say what he wants. If George gets into a mandatory position he can either fight George or give up the belt he’d just won.”
Lee Elford is covering Christopher Rebrasse v George Groves fight week for WBN. Follow Lee on Twitter @Tempas_Flair