By Jake Donovan
The last time they fought, Carl Froch was an overwhelming favorite to turn back the challenge of unbeaten contender George Groves. In terms of the final result, the odds proved correct.
What most people got wrong about the fight was everything leading up to that point.
Both fighters get their chance to rectify the past, when they collide in a rematch that has become the most highly anticipated bout of 2014 to date. The super middleweight title fight will take place Saturday in front of a crowd of 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in London.
The bout is scheduled to air live at roughly 9:45pm local time on Sky Sports and 4:45pm ET on HBO in the United States, with the latter network packaging the fight with a same-day tape delay of a featherweight title fight from Macau, between Simpiwe Vetyeka and Nonito Donaire.
Froch (32-2, 23KO) was riding high as the greatest threat to lineal super middleweight king Andre Ward, despite his own decisive loss in their Super Six Finals clash in Dec. ’11. That’s because the brash Brit went on a tear, including a huge knockout win over previously unbeaten Lucian Bute (May ’12) and a points win over Mikkel Kessler last May to avenge a loss three years prior.
Just as Froch began to gain considerable momentum in the divison, the 36-year old ran into a buzzsaw in the form of a younger, determined challenger. Groves (19-1, 15KO) came flying out the gate, dropping the defending champion in the opening round and building up a considerable lead through eight rounds.
Round nine of their unforgettable clash last November proved disastrous, but also controversial enough to create demand for Saturday’s rematch. Froch rallied, hurting Groves but only to the point of swinging momentum in his favor. Referee Howard Foster felt otherwise, jumping in to stop the contest to the dismay of the thousands in attendance and the millions of viewers watching.
Neither has fought since that night, instead working out plans for the rematch that is upon us this weekend.
Can Froch finish what he started towards the end of the fight, and prove to still be the 2nd best super middleweight in the world (and perhaps the most popular)? Will Groves learn from his brief shortcomings, and make enough adjustments to allow youth to be served and ring in a new era in the super middleweight division?
Read on to see how the staff at BoxingScene.com believes tonight’s super middleweight title fight goes down.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS – CARL FROCH–GEORGE GROVES II
“Froch edges it out.”
- Damien Acevedo (Froch split decision)
“I can see a very similar fight to their first encounter, this time hopefully without any controversy! Whilst I think Froch won't be as reckless in the first half of this fight I still believe Groves has more than enough to be clearly in front by six. I do have concerns though about Groves' 12-round engine against someone as relentless as Froch. As the fight goes on I believe Groves will fight fire with fire, let the red mist take over and throw too many power punches which will ultimately be his downfall with Froch overwhelming his rival late.”
- Shaun Brown (Froch TKO10)
“Both men will fit the deck in a FOTY candidate similar to the first fight but without all the controversy.”
- Ryan Burton (Froch TKO8)
“This fight will be a great war, but Froch will win again. Before the first bout was halted (quickly?), Froch seemed on his way to stopping Groves anyway. Froch is one of the most unappreciated fighters in the world, and will add another great victory to his excellent career with a TKO win before 80,000.”
- Michael Coppinger (Froch by TKO)
“The worst thing Froch can do is believe he can just pick up where he left off an expect Groves to roll over. That won't happen, at all. That said, Groves has to do a better job of pacing himself, which can lead to his giving away rounds. I expect a close fight, but a reversal of the first - Froch jumping out to a stronger start, Groves forced to play catch-up but ultimately running out of time.”
- Jake Donovan (Froch UD)
“The stoppage may have come early the time around, but chances are it was going to come. The bet here is that Froch doesn’t make it a must-have in the second installment.”
- Lyle Fitzsimmons (Froch UD)
“Froch adjusts well and I think this will be the case in their highly anticipated rematch. Froch simply has fought one of the best resumes of active boxers and his experience will shine. I expect some precarious moments but in the end Froch pulling out the win.”
- Ernest Gabion (Froch UD)
“I like Carl Froch to clear the air against George Groves. Even if you subscribe to the theory that their first encounter was stopped prematurely, that largely overlooks the reason why the fight was stopped at all: because Groves was hurt and Froch was coming on. While I definitely think Froch has slipped a level or two during the past few years, I believe he still has enough to beat Groves. In other words: Froch can be better than he was the last time. I'm not sure if Groves can.”
- Matt Richardson (Froch UD)
“While Groves had built a hell of a lead the first time, he seemed to be unraveling a bit and the judges were not doing him any favors. Froch will be better prepared, but the miles on him leave room for doubt. He's faced arguably the most consistently tough opposition in the world for almost six years. At 36, it has to catch up eventually and he'll still be slower and Groves is better technically. Still, in what has become the biggest (in terms of crowd and likely global audience, if not money) fight of 2014, Froch has a chance to solidify himself as a near folk hero among hardcore fans and the UK faithful. In a pick 'em fight, the more experienced man wins the coin toss.”
- Cliff Rold (Froch UD)
“Carl Froch along with Arthur Abraham were two least-skilled boxers in the Super Six Tournament. In the first fight, since Froch received the 1st round knockdown, he went into a defensive fight. Froch and Groves are two fighters who are far from having the skills of Andre Ward, and I think in this rematch, Groves will finish what he started in the first fight and the referee prevented him from finishing. Groves by UD after give Froch another beating.”
- Reynaldo Sanchez (Groves UD)
“That how it happens. You have suddenly started to feel your age. What coming next is a finishing touch of the Father Time. The fight reminds me of the second Roy Jones Jr. vs. Antonio Tarver clash. I expect something similar here: Froch won't get younger, and Groves will be more experienced for sure. He will be too fast and to resilient for Froch to be taken out. Meaning that one who will be stopped is Froch.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Groves TKO6)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox