James DeGale has hinted rival George Groves has too many miles on the clock to win World Boxing Super Series.
The IBF super-middleweight champion was ruled out of the multi-million-pound tournament by a shoulder injury that needed surgery but says he wants the winner – and he hopes it’s Groves.
Groves, a narrow points winner over DeGale six years ago, meets Jamie Cox in the quarter-finals at the SSE Arena on Saturday night and victory will lead to a semi-final clash against Chris Eubank Jr.
De Gale said: “Groves is the big one I want.
“If he wins this, there would be two world titles on the line and we could settle things maybe at the Emirates or Wembley Stadium, once and for all.
“I definitely want to fight him again. We genuinely don’t like each other.
“There’s history between us that goes back to when we were 15. We were always competing against each other.
“George matured early. He was like a 20-year-old when he was 15 – and I think he’s getting old early as well. He’s had a hard, draining career and the whole Carl Froch saga that was mentally draining, so I’m not sure he’s going to win World Boxing Super Series.”
Groves has two wins over DeGale. He won a split verdict in the amateurs and a majority vote for the British and Commonwealth belts in May 2011.
“100 percent, I believe I beat him in the pros,” said DeGale, “and so do lots of other people who were at the fight.
“He stole the fight by running away on the back foot, but I blame myself for making it closer than it should have been and the way I behaved before the fight didn’t help me, but I was young, immature and didn’t deal with the fame I was getting very well.
“But you live and learn. I still got my world title before he did and I haven’t had the hard fights he’s had.”