LONDON: For Carl Froch, dealing with George Groves' mind games has been a vital part of his preparation for the British super-middleweight rivals' rematch.
Froch insists working with a sports psychologist has made him immune to the verbal sniping of Groves, a master in provocation who challenges him for his International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) super-middleweight titles in front of 80,000 spectators at Wembley tonight.
Groves gleefully agrees with Froch's comparison of him behaving like a naughty child after his relentless teasing since their last fight in November, which Froch won by a controversial ninth round stoppage.
Referee Howard Foster's decision to halt Groves, who had floored Froch in the first round and was ahead on the judges' scorecards in the ninth round, was widely criticised and the IBF subsequently ordered a rematch after Groves appealed.
The entertainment and controversy of their first clash has generated more anticipation for a fight in Britain than any other in recent years and will reportedly be watched by the nation's biggest boxing crowd since the Second World War.
Froch, 36, will be competing in his 12th successive world title bout.
However, the Nottingham boxer has felt it necessary to employ the services of a sports psychologist from the Great Britain Olympic team after admitting he became too wound up by Groves' sniping.
Froch pushed Groves when they posed for photographs in March but claims the 26-year-old Londoner will not upset his equanimity this time.
"I've learned not to listen to his rubbish, not get involved with the mind games that he plays and not let him get under my skin," Froch told AFP.
"The mind games that he plays got to me last time. I am a human being. I have worked behind bars for years with drunk people threatening me and I kept my cool, took a deep breath and stayed calm.
"But eventually it gets to you, I'll admit that, and it affected my performance in such a negative way but it will not happen again.
"There is nothing Groves can say that will wind me up. The way he behaves and they way he is reminds me of how my four-year-old son Rocco behaves."
Froch's talks with a psychologist have not stopped him dismissing the chances and quality of Groves, who has been beaten once in 20 fights.
"I am confident of beating him because the first fight could not have got any worse for me or better for him," Froch added.
Groves has dismissed Froch's sessions with a psychologist, suggesting his rival instead needs the help of a psychiatrist.
He is boldly predicting a quick finish as he continues his provocative comments up to the fight, which could generate upwards of £20 million.
"Everything I say to him is for a reason," Groves told AFP.
"If you are driving home in your car and your kids are playing up in the backseat, I'm pretty sure that is taxing. You are trying to hold your composure and not shout at them.
"That's how Carl sees me, he thinks I'm a petulant kid playing up in the back seat and wants to turn around and tell me to behave. But he doesn't want to because it's embarrassing, so he's trying to be calm.
"If you take away the last 10 seconds of the fight where the referee stopped it for no reason, you look at that fight and there is no way you believe I lost.
"So that's what Carl has to deal with in his head. It's his age and stage of the game, there's nothing he can do.
"He's not that clever or cute, it doesn't need a special strategy to beat him.
"Once he walks on to shots he won't get up. My trainer is saying five rounds, I'm saying three. What ever he does this time, I will have it covered."
Tags: Carl Froch , George Groves , Froch-Groves , Froch vs. Groves