Whatever else happens on 31st May 2014 no one can ever say that Carl Froch ever ducked a challenge. Having been in that rare position of having his arse handed to him in a stoppage victory it looked for a while like Froch would do the sensible thing, take an easy fight for a change and let the history books simply record Carl Froch TKO9 George Groves. So good for him for taking the rematch and good for the rest of us because as Aerial Telly revealed in December the prices for George Groves are berserk, yo.
Let’s get this out of the way for starters: November 23 wasn’t just an off night for Carl Froch. Although his decision victory over Mikkel Kessler in May was a barnstormer it was clear that both fighters were showing signs of shop damage. Since beating Jean Pascal in 2008 for the vacant WBC belt Froch has fought one world-class opponent after another and this was always going to catch up with him. Against Kessler his accuracy was off, his reflexes dulled and his combinations sloppy. He’s not the fighter he was.
Against Kessler his accuracy was off, his reflexes dulled and his combinations sloppy. He’s not the fighter he was.
And even a prime Carl Froch would have trouble with George Groves. Froch likes to keep his left-hand low to deliver that disorienting up jab that can switch easily from the body to the head. It’s a key weapon in his arsenal and there’s no way he’s altering it now. And he had no answer for George Groves’ lethal right hands over the top of it. Time and time again Groves found him with leads, hooks and overhand rights and hurt him at will.
Froch has always struggled with speed and movement as his fight with Andre Dirrell showed. The truth is he lost that fight and was fortunate to walk away with the hometown decision. The difference in foot speed and hand speed in the Groves fight was shocking and this is one of several things that won’t change in the rematch. Groves will hurt Froch again and his career has shown that when he gets hurt he doesn’t tie up well. He moves backwards in a straight-line and is not a natural clincher. He’s always used his chin and power to get out of trouble.
Groves will hurt Froch again and his career has shown that when he gets hurt he doesn’t tie up well.
That spells big trouble in this fight. His punch resistance is declining and will have deteriorated further after the beating Groves put on him. A tentative Froch will get walked down; a brave one will get knocked down. He needs to gamble to have a chance and him marching forward offers ample opportunities for the lightning fast Groves to take advantage again.
I expect Froch to go out on his shield with crowd-pleasing sorties and eye-catching flurries but he and his camp know he’s in big trouble here. His chin isn’t improving, Groves isn’t getting any slower and his inability to win the battle of the jabs which set the tone of the first fight is going to give him nightmares again. He got rescued by a horrific stoppage from referee Howard Foster in a round where he himself had been badly hurt. Fighters rarely get that lucky twice.
His inability to win the battle of the jabs which set the tone of the first fight is going to give him nightmares again.
The odds for the fight are bizarre. Although the 2-1 Aerial Telly flagged in December is no longer available 6-4 is highly achievable on Betfair. Make hay my idiot friends¹. The future’s ginger.
¹ Drown in donkey dicks, industrial sludge. You are not Aerial Telly’s “friends”.