Clash of Styles Between Groves and Eubank Has Makings of a Classic
“I’m just levels above him.” Those are the words of George Groves, aimed at his opponent Chris Eubank Jr regarding Saturday’s upcoming semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series.
The form book suggests a semblance of truth in what Groves has had to say; after all, he is the WBA Super-Middleweight titleholder and has been in the ring with some warriors of the sport such as Carl Froch and Badou Jack. But for all that, the market makers make his opponent the favourite, with 188BET chalking Eubank up at 1.53 for the win, with Groves available to back at 2.45.
Eubank may be a hot favourite, but this looks a tight fight and has the makings of something pretty special due to the contrast in styles.
Groves is a natural super-middleweight and will have a sizeable weight, height and reach advantage. The Saint may have to work harder to get down to the weight limit, but come fight night he could easily be a stone heavier than his opponent.
Extra weight is an advantage, and Groves will look to bully his opponent, but Eubank will be far more fleet of foot. While Groves will look to control the fight behind his stinging jab, don’t be surprised to see Eubank – who is a superb athlete – buzzing around the ring, moving in and out of range and firing off combinations.
Being such a high-profile encounter between two well-known British fighters, the build-up to the fight at the Manchester Arena has been lengthy – and they have had plenty to say about each other.
It’s not descended into the gutter, but both have been downplaying the other – with Eubank repeating his claim that Groves is mentally fragile with a suspect chin.
There is no dispute that Groves has been involved in some wars, with punishing defeats to Froch and Jack on his record. But Eubank, who has arguably fought only one elite fighter in Billy Joe Saunders and came up short, does not bring anywhere near the punching power of Froch.
The knockout Groves suffered at the hands of Froch in their second meeting in 2014 would have rocked anyone’s confidence. But he fought back from that and a subsequent defeat to Jack, to string together a six-fight unbeaten run and scaled the mountain with victory over Fedor Chudinov to claim the WBA strap.
Banking on your opponent to wilt mentally would not be the wisest strategy from Eubank. His game plan needs to be to keep the pace as high as possible, attempt to sap the life from Groves’ legs and rack up the later rounds.
That, though, is easier said than done and while it’s not correct for Groves to claim he is “levels above” Eubank, he looks to have enough in his favour to defend his title and advance to the final.