By Jake Donovan
A couple of hours before Floyd Mayweather and Andre Berto throw down in the evening's main event, Badou Jack faces mandatory challenger George Groves in a 12-round super middleweight title fight Saturday evening at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The bout serves in supporting capacity on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
Jack attempts the first defense of his title. The Las Vegas-based Swedish boxer scored one of the year's biggest upsets with a 12-round majority decision win over previously unbeaten Anthony Dirrell in April.
The feat extended his win streak to three straight folllowing the lone loss of his career, a shocking 1st round knockout at the hands of journeyman Derek Edwards last February.
Groves travels from jolly old England in search of his first championship. The top-rated contender enters his third career title fight.
His previous two attemps resulted in the lone defeats on his ledger, suffering back-to-back stoppages to Carl Froch. He has since won two straight.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS: BADOU JACK vs. GEORGE GROVES
Shaun Brown (Groves TKO8): This is crunch time for Groves. We haven't had a big performance from him since Froch I. The lengthy break should have worked wonders. Jack will want it to go late. Groves won't and I think he'll want to put on a show.
Ryan Burton (Groves SD): I think Groves and Jack wage a tactical battle that could go either way with the UK based fighter getting the nod on enemy soil.
Jake Donovan (Jack Dec.): I think Jack is seriously being slept on, similar to the manner in which nobody gave him a chance versus Anthony Dirrell. Groves has the right mindset, but seems convinced of victory and I still question what he can do in the wake of adversity. My guess (prediction) is that he finds out the hard way, as an early sprint makes way for a late crash with Jack landing enough to eke out a decision.
Peter Lim (Groves UD): This will be a war of wills between two fighters who are equally matched in almost every department. Groves squeaks by with a razor close decision in a thrilling and suspenseful scrap.
Takahiro Onaga (Groves TKO9): Really can't see what Jack has. He's the luckiest champion in the sport and gets stopped easily here.
Cliff Rold (Groves KO): Groves has a win over James DeGale and was leading Carl Froch before being stopped twice. He appears just a hair better fighter but both men have shown chin vulnerability. Jack is live here but Groves should snag a belt here.
Reynaldo Sanchez (Jack late TKO): Very good fight, who imposed his style in the initial rounds will make his fight.
Alexey Sukachev (Groves KO6): I wasn't surprised with Jack's victory over Dirrell even though I had picked the latter. Dirrell is too raw and inexperienced at this level and too limited too. Groves is a different package - blessed with skills, experienced against the best and savvy. He should take it to vulnerable Jack and knock him out cold.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com.
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