By Jake Donovan
A rematch with Kenny Anderson was supposed to have taken place long ago. It’s back on the table for September, provided that George Groves gets past Francisco Sierra in a dangerous tune-up fight tonight in San Jose, California.
Some fighters are cautioned to not look too far ahead, especially in the event of double booked events. That lesson doesn’t need to be preached to Groves. Not only is he more concerned about what is presently in front of him, but doesn’t seem to care at all about what lies ahead with a win tonight.
“This guy is a much better opponent than Kenny Anderson, to be quite honest,” Groves insisted of Sierra during a mid-week media conference call. “It should be a much tougher test.”
The bout airs live on Showtime Extreme in a lead-in broadcast to the main portion of the show at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The show is headlined by hometown favorite Robert Guerrero, who moves up in weight to challenge for an alphabet welterweight belt against unbeaten Selcuk Aydin.
Groves (14-0, 11KO) proved his mettle last year, scoring the two biggest wins of his career in back-to-back fights, though spread six months apart. The bigger of the two was his narrow points win over 2008 Olympic Gold medalist James ‘Chunky’ DeGale in their grudge match last May.
A two-round destruction of Paul Smith came last November, marking Groves’ last fight to date. Plans for a rematch with Anderson – whom he stopped in six rounds in their March ’10 encounter – were scrapped after suffering an injury in training camp.
A rescheduling wasn’t immediately discussed; Groves was named as a challenger to alphabet super middleweight titlist Robert Steiglitz in May. However, an untimely injury killed that fight as well.
Now in his third straight training camp, Groves is anxious to showcase his skills in an actual fight, even against an opponent he views as a viable threat.
“He’s heavy-handed. You don’t get 22 knockouts in 25 fights by accident,” Groves noted of Sierra (25-5-1, 22KO). “He doesn’t just hand out beatings; he comes out and looks for it.”
Groves will make sure to look out for early warning signs and make sure he comes out looking terrific in his first trip back to the United States since a ring appearance two years ago almost to the day.
“I feel great. You can be assured that you’ll see the best of me on Saturday night. It’s been a long time and I just can’t wait to get out there. I’m boxing in America and against a good opponent.”
A win is first and foremost, but leaving a favorable impression on the American boxing scene is important to the 24-year old. A big enough win turns an anticipated rematch in September into a massive event, which would be doubly rewarding to Groves.
For now the focus is winning against a tough opponent, then doing it all again back home.
“The September 14 date is penciled in. It will be at Wembley Arena and will be a big event,” Groves states. “I’m focused on this fight against Sierra on Saturday, but hopefully a deal will be done before the purse bid. Nobody wants it delayed any further than it’s already been.
“Keeping busy and getting in as much action as possible is important to me for this year. I’m looking forward to this and then jumping back into the ring just six weeks later.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox