WBA super middleweight champion George Groves has upped the ante ahead of his World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) semi-final against IBO champion Chris Eubank Junior at Manchester Arena on Saturday by questioning the legacy of his opponent's father - and stating that he believes he would have beaten him in his prime.
Groves (27-3, 20 KO's) told the Daily Mail that he had never been impressed by Eubank Senior, and did not think that the now 51-year-old would have fared well against him in the ring.
"I’m sure I would have beaten him...he had enough losses on his record," stated Groves, who won his WBA title by stopping Fedor Chudinov in Sheffield last May in what was his fourth attempt at capturing a world title.
Groves did admit that he hadn't seen a great deal of the elder Eubank's 52-fight career, perhaps confirming that his views were mainly designed to antagonise his adversary in Saturday's fight.
"The losses to Steve Collins are the only fights I have seen, and Collins won every minute of every round. He was about posturing," said Groves. "People would have seen through him as, in this era, you have to step up."
The Hammersmith-based fighter's comments are certainly questionable at least.
Eubank Senior had several notable victories during a 52-fight career which saw him win both the WBO middleweight and super-middleweight championships, including a win over Nigel Benn to secure his first world championship.
He lost just five times in his career, with his only stoppage defeat coming in his final fight against Carl Thompson.
Groves also criticised Eubank Senior's tactical awareness following a conversation between the two whilst Chris Junior was sparring with Groves ahead of "The Saint's" clash with James DeGale seven years ago.
"His dad tried to tell me how to beat James DeGale,” recalled Groves.
“He said I’ve got to win every second of every round...But the gameplan was that was going to beat him on the back foot.
"I did that and he texted me to say, ‘Well done’ – even though he was wrong."
Groves would not spar the younger Eubank again and suggested that this was a direct result of his dislike for his father.
"Ultimately, that’s why I stopped sparring Junior, because I couldn’t put up with the dad. It wasn’t worth it for the rubbish coming out of his mouth," said Groves.
Groves was successful in his May 2011 bout with DeGale at the O2 Arena, although he did only prevail via majority decision in a closely fought contest.
Eubank Senior may therefore have ironically been accurate in his advice, as one sub-par round from Groves may have cost him victory.
Groves' words are sure to irk both Eubank family members ahead of Saturday's fight.
Eubank Junior (26-1, 20 KOs) is the betting favourite for the contest despite the fact that he is generally accepted to have faced inferior opposition to Groves - and that much of his experience has come at middleweight, a weight class down from where the Groves bout will take place.
The verbal sparring will cease, at least temporarily, on Saturday night as both Groves and Eubank Junior battle for a place in the WBSS final.
Regardless of the outcome, though, it would be no surprise if further words are exchanged between the camps after the fight.
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