By Keith Idec
Badou Jack mostly has refrained from talking trash throughout the buildup toward his fight against George Groves.
The WBC super middleweight champion couldn’t resist, though, when he took a not-so-subtle shot at Groves during a press conference Thursday for fights on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Andre Berto undercard Saturday night at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (Showtime Pay-Per-View; $74.95 in HD; 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). Jack refuted speculation that Groves has had any impact on his mindset as their 12-round fight approaches and reminded reporters and fans that Groves is 0-2 in super middleweight world title fights.
“Groves is absolutely not in my head,” Jack said. “I’m focused and mentally strong on my task at hand. I won my biggest fight that I’ve had up to date [against Anthony Dirrell] – he didn’t. He has had two shots at the title and has lost them both.
“Groves got famous for getting knocked out by Carl Froch. He’s a good fighter, but I’m very comfortable that I’m going to beat him.”
The recently retired Froch (33-2, 24 KOs) stopped Groves in each of their two 168-pound championship bouts. London’s Groves contends referee Howard Foster stopped their first fight prematurely in the ninth round in November 2013 at London’s Wembley Stadium. Froch left no doubt in their immediate rematch six months later at Wembley Stadium, where he drilled Groves with a right hand that left the hard-hitting contender stretched out on the canvas in the eighth round.
The 27-year-old Groves (21-2, 16 KOs) is a slight favorite over Jack (19-1-1, 12 KOs), a native of Sweden who now fights out of Las Vegas. Jack, 31, won the WBC super middleweight title in his last fight, April 24 in Chicago, by scoring a majority decision victory over Dirrell (28-1-1, 22 KOs), of Flint, Mich.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.