George Groves has warned IBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jnr that a lack of professionalism is setting him up for failure and says he sees his rival repeating so many of his own mistakes.
The WBA super middleweight champion, 29, defends his title against Eubank Jnr in their World Boxing Super Series semi-final at the Manchester Arena on Saturday.
Their match-up represents Groves’ highest-profile bout since those against Carl Froch – both ended in defeat – but it is lessons learnt since then that have inspired his world title and which he believes his challenger is lacking.
The 28-year-old Eubank Jnr makes little secret of the fact he does not work with a traditional trainer or training setup, and similarly to Groves before he fought Froch, has regularly promoted himself on social media.
Since this weekend’s fight was confirmed the champion has maintained a significantly lower profile, and of Eubank Jnr he said: “He is that ignorant he thinks he can do it himself. ‘The cornermen give me water: I do the rest, I train myself, I know what I’m doing’.
“It doesn’t work – the greatest fighters in the world have a great team or trainer around them just to nudge them in the right direction. The dad is supposed to be that, but it’s the blind leading the blind. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, especially the dad. He’s lost his grip on reality.
“I thought he might take himself off to Vegas and do a camp out there, work with some sort of decent trainer, you’d definitely be getting good sparring. But he hasn’t: he’s decided to come back home, train himself, spar anyone he can get hold of.
“He’s got success through putting out videos, and attaching himself to big names and not having a real fight. The difference here is he’s in a real fight.
“It’s difficult finding a new trainer. With Paddy Fitzpatrick, I knew it wasn’t right, but I got so much stick for moving on from Adam Booth that I stayed in that situation too long, and in many ways was training myself.
“Me and Shane (McGuigan, his present trainer) have gone from strength to strength. That’s what you’ll always need: you expect that on fight night, giving you the right instructions, warming you up correctly, and in the gym. A good trainer is worth his weight in gold.
“I remember thinking Eubank Jnr’s got the right ingredients. He’s got the right attitude, he’s tough – he’d get bashed up in sparring but be there again the next day ready – and ambitious.
“Now he’s gone so far the other way, the bad habits are permanently ingrained in him from doing so much casual work from hitting bags and pads.”
Almost four years have passed since Groves lost his rematch with Froch and suffered what he called the “fall from grace” from which he had to rebuild his reputation.
Again sensing similarities with Eubank Jnr’s situation, he said: “Jnr might be looking beyond this fight, like I did.
“I definitely looked beyond the Froch rematch – not because I thought it was a foregone conclusion, but I was supremely confident that I was going to do the job, I’d done a bit too much PR in the build-up, which was taxing, and come fight night I’d obviously got it wrong.
“It was a whirlwind. It was draining, it was taxing.
“He wants to do that, he is looking beyond this fight. It’s who’s better on the night, and have you prepared correctly? This is about who’s better, and he’s not.”