Football

Carl Froch aims final verbal joust at George Groves during heated weigh-in

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Emotions were running high at Wembley Arena
Emotions were running high at Wembley Arena.

"You look drawn and dehydrated, you've come in under weight." That was the Carl Froch's final attempt to stop George Groves grinning from ear to ear with unnerving calm and confidence at this afternoon's weigh-in ahead of a hotly-anticipated domestic grudge match, played out in front of 4,000 fight fanatics at Wembley Arena.

Groves surprisingly tipped the scales as the lighter man at a full 1lb 10oz under the 12-stone limit, but his smiling repost to the champion's late jibe carried the same considered, calculated motive that has helped ramp up anticipation for Saturday night's all-British super middleweight showdown to almost unprecedented levels.

Froch was 21 ounces heavier than the challenger and remained adamant to the last  that the challenger showed signs of nerves beneath the surface, although at this stage verbal jousts are likely to be rendered nothing short of redundant.

Both men just about kept their cool in a cauldron of noise that surely only scratches the surface at the intense atmosphere a post-war record 80,000 fans will generate at Wembley Stadium at 10pm tonight, but the same couldn't be said for either fighter's entourage in a strange on-stage exchange that briefly threatened to boil over.

In a scene normally reserved for Floyd Mayweather or UFC weigh-in's a vocal crowd at Wembley Arena made a pantomime villain of Froch, who took a large dose of jeers in his stride like a man on a mission.

The 36-year-old has made a tremendous top-level career from staying in top condition and that hasn't changed for his 12th successive world-title bout, but whether it will be enough to quell a precocious challenger with razor sharp skills is perhaps the question which burns brightest when attempting to pick a winner.

Public opinion is now firmly divided on the clash and that debate extends right through the fight world, as shown by a question and answer session by the weigh-in which included promoter Eddie Hearn, Paulie Malignaggi and Paul Smith.

Hearn toed the part line and insisted Froch has a new focus that will ensure he keeps remains IBF and WBA champ, while even throwing a dig at his former foe Andre Ward for a good measure.

Malignaggi disagreed though and thinks Groves has the desire to match his destructive style and turn his dreams into reality, a consensus that has gathered more support as the domestic dust-up draws ever closer.

Debate will only be allowed to rage for a matter of hours before hardcore fans and the wider British public finally get the decisive outcome they've craved for six months, who is Britain's best in a marquee division which holds special memories for fight freaks on these shores and beyond?

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