As the biggest fight in British boxing history draws upon us it is nearly time for the talking to stop and the action to start. Of course, the fight in question is the Carl Froch vs George Groves rematch on Saturday night, in front of a record breaking audience of 80,000 expectant fans at Wembley Stadium, England.
Throughout the last 6 months, British fight fans have been sailing on a carousel of unanswered questions, the answers to which they will finally seek on Saturday night. Debate among boxing fans has been heated, and from gauging the reaction of fans on forums and specialist websites, I would say opinions are almost evenly divided about who will emerge victorious in the rematch.
Whilst there is universal agreement that the fight should never have been stopped, there is also a general consensus that the ‘Cobra’ was in the ascendancy at the time of the stoppage, and no matter how slender his grasp, Froch was finally gaining a grip on a fight that he had taken a murderous beating in prior to the premature conclusion.
Among the many questions that have surfaced in the build up to the rematch, one of the most searching is had Groves survived the onslaught in round nine, would he have been able to weather the inevitable storm from Froch in the championship rounds? If he suffers similar adversity in the second fight, does he have the capacity to overcome it the way Froch has proven he can in the past.
On the other hand, could Froch survive a similar onslaught in the second fight with Groves and still have the capacity to mount a comeback without the aid of a premature stoppage? Has the first fight taken its toll on the aging champion? Would another beating of a similar ilk be a bridge too far for Froch?
There are many legitimate questions about both men going into the rematch.
For his part, Froch seems to have conceded that he simply cannot perform as impotently as he did in the first fight. Does Groves realise that he cannot again afford to shoot his load so prematurely in the rematch?
In his haste to concentrate his attention exclusively on Froch’s shortcomings, there has been little to no acknowledgement from Groves of his failings or his flaws in the first fight, which begs the question: could delusion be the Saint's downfall?
Much has been made about Carl Froch seeking the services of a sports psychologist in order to combat the psychological issues he suffered from in the build-up to their 1st encounter. But has George Groves made the same concerted effort to sort out the physical imperfections of his game?
If the rematch is still alive going down the stretch, will Froch’s superior stamina, remarkable recuperative powers, and superhuman punch resistance prevail when it really matters? If needs be, will Groves have enough in the tank to last the distance or will he wilt like a bouquet of petrol station flowers in the final rounds?
Although the first fight offered conclusive evidence that Groves is the better boxer, the way the action unfolded also hinted that he can't sustain the pace he set in the first half of the bout for the duration of a 12-round fight. Unfortunately for Groves, fighting to the end is Froch’s forte.
To counter this, many claim the recipe for success for Groves is to mount a relentless, all-out assault on Froch from the outset in an attempt to finish the contest early, not allowing the champion to assume control of the contest later in the fight.
To add credence to this conviction many state that Groves let Froch off the hook in the first few rounds, when he should have went in for the kill. Even Groves himself has hinted at a Hagler-Hearns type blitzkrieg inside 3 rounds.
Groves has to remain composed and concentrate on boxing though, not go out from the first bell and brawl with abandon under the misguided belief that ‘because I hurt Froch early last time, I can finish him early this time.’
If Groves does adopt a kamikaze game plan, then don’t be surprised if the rematch unfolds in a similar manner and ends in the same way as the 1st fight, minus the controversy.
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