Carl Froch Vs George Groves – The Cobra and the Saint Dance Again

by Fran on May 30, 2014

One of the most anticipated fights in the UK in recent years takes place this Saturday, 1st June in Wembley Stadium London when Carl 'The Cobra' Froch defends his Super Middleweight titles against 'Saint' George Groves after the two entertained the boxing world with a bruising encounter in November 2o13.

In this article I want to provide my views on how the return match will go and give some insights into my thinking. This is only the 2nd article published in which I've made a prediction (my thoughts on the potential outcome if Mayweather vs Khan comes off  certainly courted a host of views and opinions!) This article has been produced purely because my compatriot and long-time friend of the site David Waterman has a passing interest in my views of this mahooosive domestic dust-up; God knows why. Anyway, always happy to oblige...

Last Time Out

The first contest between Carl Froch and George Groves was a really good spectacle. Very few people had given Groves any chance of success. However, the low expectations didn't stop him from scaring the bejesus out of The Cobra, even though Carl wouldn't readily admit it. Groves sharper punching early on and Froch's reckless approach resulted in George landing a right hand that left Carl sat squarely on his arse. Froch was up early but then seemed to struggle for a few rounds to come to terms with Groves speed and controlled aggression.

As the fight wore on, Froch got to grips with the younger Groves and began to make his greater experience show. Come the 9th round Froch was really turning up the heat and Groves did appear to tire quite badly. After a couple of decent shots the referee jumped in to call a halt. Well, all hell broke loose then! The World and his brother were screaming blue murder about how the fight was stopped prematurely. The stoppage itself detracted from what I thought was a really good fight. Anyhow, after the ending the return was inevitable.

Let's Go Again

So the time for the return has come around, and there is a good deal more excitement about this encounter. However, I don't think that the return match will be as competitive as the first and I actually think that it will be a fairly straightforward victory for Froch. My view is that he'll stop George in the later rounds, this time without anything like the controversy of the first fight.

But why do I say this? Why would not George push Carl even closer this time, I mean he's 6 months wiser and Carl is just 6 months older...isn't he?

Well, here's a list of stuff that leads me to come to the conclusion that Froch will walk away on Saturday night with his belts intact and George will leave with another honourable defeat:

  • Froch underestimated the challenge in the 1st bout. This led to him being reckless early on and eating far too many punches, one of which set him to the canvas. This time around he's much more likely to use his ring-smarts early on to find his way into the fight.
  • George has definitely landed his hardest right hand on Froch, and Froch got straight back up. George will be looking for the right hand again, but he will know that Froch can take it.
  • George had to work incredibly hard to be competitive against Froch. So much so that whether people recognise it or not he was very, very tired in that 9th round. He still had the championship rounds to go. Champs are not made with 1st round knockdowns, they are made by performing consistently for the entire fight. Froch has done this over and over, George hasn't.
  • The referee definitely stepped in prematurely in the first fight, but by maybe 10-20 seconds. George was hurt and Froch was going to finish him of that I'm sure. The momentum of the fight had gone Froch's way and George was not going to turn that around regardless of the cautious referee.
  • George's strategy in the 1st meeting was in large part defined by Adam Booth despite that fact that Booth and Groves split ahead of the fight. Adam Booth is a good fight strategist, but I'm pretty sure that Carl's propensity to be reckless with his literal 'walk forward' one-twos played a part in Booth's strategy ("We can draw hime forward George and smash home that right hand!") Well, Froch will change and be a little more conservative, only fully committing when he knows it will pay off. Will Groves' new trainer be able to define the strategy for the fighter based on the revised Froch approach? I'm really not sure.

The Prediction

I've not performed any round-by-round technical analysis on the first bout, but if this contest warrants it (and you guys show an interest) I'll complete one on the upcoming battle. In the meantime, my prediction is fairly simple. George will again make a contest of it early on. Froch will take fewer shots (but will still take his fair share) and will land his own a lot more convincingly. However, George will again have to work very hard, but Froch's experience will really pay off and his strong punches will see Groves finished in the 8th round.

Youth flattered to deceive in fight number 1. The seasoned campaigner will have learned valuable lessons and will do what a champ does, apply those lessons ruthlessly.

Just my opinion, and we all have one 🙂

Cheers

Fran

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Waterman June 1, 2014 at 7:06 pm

This is why I’ll always be a pupil to your master. You called it right, I challenged that call, and you were proven right, Fran.

Unfortunately I still haven’t seen the fight of reasons I can’t list here but I caught wind of the outcome on Saturday night. My initial call was for Froch scoring a late stoppage but I let my nagging doubt plump for an alternative outcome. To be fair there was only two ways this fight would have ended: Groves on points or Froch by KO. The latter proved fruitful and it was the choice of both the cerebral commentor (yourself being an example) and the occasional armchair warrior. I’m quite comfortable being an apologist for Groves as I’m sure you, having been proven correct, are just as comfortable being in the Froch camp. This is what makes boxing such a great sport, I think.

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Fran June 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Hello mate

Sorry for the delay, bin a hectic few days. Stop with all the pupil master malarkey. You’re a fellow coach and I’ve learned plenty off your contributions to the site over the years just as I learn lots off my fellow coaches in the gym, all of them.

Always stick with the gut instinct mate. The promotion of this fight was very effective. Whilst I only caught the odd show (the Mel and Griff style face-to-face discussion with a grinning Eddie Hearn in the background was as dull as it was uncomfortable), it really introduced enough doubt to cause me to question my of the fight. Once hostilities began I certainly had doubts during the 7th when Groves had a really good round.

To be honest though mate, I will always put lots of effort into a post fight analysis and don’t really like the whole prediction thing. Whilst predictions are interesting (and deceptively difficult to get right in a closely matched fight), the analysis vids are much more rewarding because I think they are a far better learning experience. From the emails I’ve had though plenty of folks won a few bob on the 8th round, so they earned rather than learned!

Look after yerself mate.

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alexander May 31, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Well done Fran, good prediction. Not unlike last fight, but to a different degree. The statistics indicate George was marginally the higher scorer, up until the eight. When a much better measured Carl than last time, took advantage of an open chin offered up to him by George. Some folk never learn, it seems, and full marks to Carl for stalking him down – timely – as was the plan according to the post fight interview. Case of making his own good fortune. All the best, Alexander

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Terry June 1, 2014 at 7:37 am

G/day Fran,You picked that one well mate.I watched it this morning before our training and remembered your pre fight prediction just after George hit the deck.Very astute of you.I thought Froth’s jab was the big difference this time (alot more of them which helped keep Groves outside his right range and maybe forced him to lost patience a little as the bout went on)Having said that he boxed very well at times and the fight was a very good one.What do you think is next for both of them?They are talking about Froth v Golovkin (spellling?)Maybe that one would be interesting.How do you think Martinez will go against Cotto next week?(you might as well make a prediction mate,you are on a roll)I can’t see Cotto lasting the route in this one even though Freddie Roach is predicting a knockout for him.Both fighters have a bit of wear on them now but I think Martinez has more left in the tank.He has had a heap of injuries but seems to be ok for this one.He also looks quite a bit bigger and is a very good puncher.I watched Cotto v Mosely in Nov 07 at Madison Square Garden which is a great memory for me and Miguel has had some very tough nights since then.Anyway,we’ll see mate.Good luck to you Fran.

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Fran June 1, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Hey Terry I hope that you are well mate. I agree, Froch was much more controlled last night and used his jab to much better effect. I thought Froch was a round to two ahead at the time of the knockout but the rounds were close and a tip of momentum towards Groves might have started given his good showing in the 7th.

As for Froch, I’d like to see him call it a day. Coming out on top against a fighter of George Groves’ capability is one thing. Beating a guy like Golovkin (assuming Golovkin would step up in weight) is a very different matter. Now would be a good time for him to exit stage left in my opinion.

As for Martinez/Cotto, probably go with the old adage “A good biggun will always beat a good littlun.” So it’s likely to be Martinez. That said, Cotto has ‘youth’ at a tender 34 yrs! Lots of wars over the years though.

One more thing, the Australia Boxing Team has a new head coach, Kevin Smith. He’s a guy from Liverpool who’s a really smart and experienced coach as well as being able to put in place solid development programmes. Look forward to seeing how he does out there.

Cheers mate, take care.

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Fran June 1, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Hi Alexander

You’re right. Groves’ defence to that threatened left hook was a disaster. If you cover to one side you must provide cover to the other. Allowing the arm to be dropped by the waist is pure folly. Seems to be a bit of a fashion though. I think guys have seen Mayweather do it against guys he knows he can handle and they decide to do the same. Not a good habit as was demonstrated last night.

Cracking fight though mate.

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Paul Smith May 31, 2014 at 10:21 pm

WoooHaaa……What a KNOCKOUT and in the 8th round as predicted…..Coach Fran, you are definitely The MAN!!!

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Fran June 1, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Haha, thanks Paul. It was a hell of a shot. Must admit I thought George would get stopped on his feet really. Ref didn’t bother counting for very long that’s for sure! Hope you’re well mate.

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Kairat May 31, 2014 at 9:04 pm

great prediction of the fight, Fran

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Fran June 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Thanks Kairat. There’s always a big dose of luck involved when attempting to predict an outcome between two closely matched boxers. I could make 10 predictions over the next year and get every one wrong!

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johnny4323 May 31, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Last fight was my first time watching any of the two and I must say I thought Froch would have been alot better going by his reputation and his record and would even go as far as to say that he did not impress me 1 bit.
I personally think for a pro-boxer of his ‘calibre’ that the way and amount of times he dropped his hands at even the early stages of the last fight is simply not good enough for that level of boxing.
And I mean dropping the right hand while jabbing, I would go as far as to say that I was in shock when I first noticed this in the last fight, this is why I think Froch could have problems again with Groves and especially the left as George stated at the presser, also balance and defence of Froch is lacking also, maybe they have corrected this in their camp from the last fight but in my opinion this should be boxing 101 ( as Atlas would say ). To me, Groves looked the better boxer, movement, attack, defense and just allround, If I was a betting man I’d have st George, especially if he looks for that left, I think Froch could hit the canvas again very handy, just my opinion tho!

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Fran June 1, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Hey Johnny. You are definitely right on the number of technical faults that are present in Froch’s style, I’d shudder to see them in a half-decent amateur (and Froch was a very good amateur). Whilst Groves didn’t have the capability to capitalise on Froch’s flaws there are a number of other super-middles (and even middles) who definitely could. My view is that Carl should hang up his gloves now. Job done, great career and up there with the best from these shores.

Thanks for the comment mate.

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alexander May 31, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Hi Fran, I tend to side with Ivan’s view. That last fight was freaky. Carl is good – but maybe too well seasoned, wintered, going by that last performance. And wrong to say he wasn’t prepared last time out, I think he was, and George had him ‘mean and rattled’, so he was focussed.

But as we saw George was skilfully, near enough taking Carl apart, and dismantling his fire-power, and mind, in the first part of that fight. But as I saw it, Carl then panicked and flung everything at George in a last flurry, almost desperately. Which unfortunately for George, coincided with him thinking he could ‘lay Carl out’, at that point, dropping his defences, and mixing it. And as we saw, got caught, and ‘put out’ by the ref; before Carl would likely have ‘ran out of juice’.

So like Ivan, I think a more cautious George, this time, may well be the strongest, and smartest Boxer, standing tall after the full distance. That’s predictable, but predictability, usually goes out the window in these fights. Overtaken by good or bad fortune.

Cheers Fran, Alexander.

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Ivan May 31, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Hey coach,
I hope all is good in the hood. You should not be shy about commenting on all major fights that catch your eye, keep fit by writing more. We need to chat about boxing.

We know more about Froch than about Groves ( I had not watched him before the Froch bout). We know Froch’s technique is not flawless; he has bad balance and plods around waving his arms like a scarecrow but he is as strong as an ox and stubborn and tenacious.
Groves has better boxing skills and he has faster hands. He appears to be a little fragile but if he boxes smart he will wear Froch down and beat him badly.
It wasn’t Froch who underestimated Groves in the first bout; it was the other way around. Groves out boxed and outfought Froch initially and went into exchanges and punch outs trying to force a KO – big mistake. He subverted himself by showing no respect for Froch and trying to belittle him. He was asking for trouble instead of avoiding it and he was reckless and complacent. He blew away his advantage, deliberately threw away all caution and found out he wasn’t as tough as Froch.
It would be ludicrous if Groves comes into the rematch willing to trade and looking for a stoppage because he could pay the price again – he will punch himself out and get caught. If he listens to his coaches he will box tall and economical landing consistently but keeping high alert. Froch can not adapt or adjust and he always fights the same fight and does the very same things. It should be the boxer who makes the adjustments and disposes of the tougher veteran easily by a good margin or even by a late beat down.

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Fran May 31, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Only got time to answer your comment after the fight mate.

Have to admit, what you (and David W) put forward really had me thinking hard. In fact, during the fight you could see the better technique of Groves at work. But the old head, intensity and toughness of Froch was the key factor despite the rawness and key flaws in his style. It would have been interesting to see how the next few rounds would have gone but there you go, the margins are fine at the top level.

I really appreciate the continued insights you provide mate. Take care.

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Ivan June 1, 2014 at 5:40 am

Great call Fran, prophetic…

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Fran June 1, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Hey Ivan. More a slice of luck than prophecy I think. We both know there’s a lot of variables when attempting to call it when the boxers are well matched and they were here. Goof fight though, but I think Carl should step off now and count his money. Not sure he will though!

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Dave Waterman May 31, 2014 at 11:14 am

Thank you for indulging me Fran and thank you for providing some meaty food for thought.

I too initially believed that Froch would do a decisive number this time round. In the first encounter Froch was too complacent, got caught cold, then played catch up for six rounds. There was never any way that Froch was getting knocked out and I don’t think he will tonight.

Herein lies my diversion of thought. Groves kniws he won’t knock Froch out. But he is a better skilled technician. If Fitzpatrick can steer George correctly through the fight I can see an outcome where the final bell tolls with the cards slightly in the younger man’s favour.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Thanks Fran.

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Fran May 31, 2014 at 6:34 pm

I can absolutely see the logic of your argument mate, and it’s certainly an outcome that I couldn’t rule out. Bring on the night’s fistic celebrations!

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Shaun Hearty May 31, 2014 at 10:36 am

Couldn’t agree more, Froch really seems to be taking it seriously and seems in the zone

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Tony Preston May 31, 2014 at 7:09 am

Fran has made a great account of what is on the cards. I agree, Carl defo underestimated George no doubt and his attitude was a bit blasé to begin with. I personally think that Carl has inflicted some irrevesible psychological damage on the young pretender by taking Georges best shot and getting back up and in the game again. Carl has a point to prove after the early stoppage and he will be doing this by having a business like approach. I predict George will go round 6

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Fran May 31, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Thanks for the comment Tony. Just the fact that maybe 10 people have commented on the possible outcome and the fact that there are some very different views shows the wonder of the game. Really looking forward to seeing how this one goes!

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roberto May 31, 2014 at 5:08 am

Great article Fran

Thanks.

A technical breakdown of the fight would be great.

Thanks

Ps. Have you seen the fight commentaries by jack slack on youtube?

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Fran May 31, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Cheers Roberto. Not seen Jack Slack stuff but will check it out.

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Kairat May 31, 2014 at 1:56 am

I still believe that there will be no knockout victory and scorecards will be 115-113 (Groves) with fair judges (independent judge – Lederman for example)

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James Morgan May 31, 2014 at 12:43 am

Froch in 10

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Fran May 31, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Short and sweet James 🙂

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mick May 30, 2014 at 11:04 pm

I agree fully here Frans.. My thinking is Groves couldn’t knock Froch out the first time and with a very good right hand so what makes people think he will the second time around. Any chance is a points win for Saint George but I don’t think he has the indurance to last the full distance with a better Froch this time around..

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Fran May 31, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Thanks for the comment Mick. I agree on the points thing for Groves. Reading some of the other comments below provides real food for thought. He knows he can’t KO Carl (he tried his best in bout 1), but he might be able to box on the back foot. However, Froch is the champion and it’s up to Groves to take the title! Thanks again mate.

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