On Saturday night before 80,000 fans and the world’s media, ‘Unfinished Business’ was finally settled. Froch vs. Groves 2 was an incredible spectacle that has become rare in the current era of boxing. Wembley Stadium set an immense stage for a fight that captured the imagination of a nation, and an opportunity for both fighters to determine Britain’s best super middleweight and arguably hold the strongest hand in the super middleweight division.
George Groves absorbed the atmosphere as he entered Wembley Stadium following a laborious campaign for a rematch had paid off. During the build up to the rematch, Carl Froch had exuded an air of confidence and composed mentally, a stark contrast to six months previous.
The bout began at a pedestrian pace, neither man willing to commit to anything. Froch opted to use the jab frequently, as he had in the rematch with Mikkel Kessler with much success. Froch looked to control the distance early on, disrupting Groves’ timing and holding the center of the ring. Groves on his part took to the backfoot, abandoning the blue print from the first fight. Apart from an accurate jab, when Groves did land, failing to step in with many shots removed any bad intentions in the shots.
‘The Cobra’ committed to a frequent body of work, letting combinations go in close to the body of the younger Groves. In relatively close rounds, it appeared to most observers that Froch was in the driving seat in center ring, pushing Groves back. As in the first fight, when Froch landed, it held more significance. Groves picked some crafty shots but failed to put anything meaningful together to this point. A flurry from Froch at the end of the sixth opened a small cut under Groves left eye.
Groves had some success in the 7th, landing a solid left hand that knocked Froch off balance. A solid right hand in the final thirty seconds would seal the round for Groves, but it would be the 8th round that would settle matters. Groves looked to be growing in confidence in the 8th, picking Froch off in spots. Froch backing Groves up, continued to throw flurries to the body. With Groves’ back up against the ropes, Froch feinted the right hand before throwing a left hook to disguise what Froch called, “The best right hand I have ever thrown.” Nailing Groves square on the chin, the Hammersmith native crumbled to the canvas and the referee waved off the bout.
At 26 years old, George Groves has time on his side to return and fulfill his potential on the world stage. History shows us a devastating loss on a stage of that magnitude will make or break a fighter. Should James Degale fail to secure a bout with Carl Froch and with a ready made story line built in, that may be one route Groves may look to explore. The more realistic option should be a rebuilding fight to shake off the mental effects of a knockout loss.
Carl Froch once again delivered on his promise on the biggest stage of his career. Froch has proven time and again, when his back is against the wall he pulls out what is required to get the job done. Looking ahead, Froch has stated to being ’50-50′ on whether he will step into a competitive ring again. Eddie Hearn and Carl Froch have frequently name dropped Julio Chavez Jr. as a possible opponent before Froch hangs up his gloves. With one voluntary defense available to Froch, that cuts Degale out of the equation at this time. Adding to the mix that Andre Ward looks to be out of action for the remainder of 2014, Chavez Jr. looks a tantalizing and realistic possibility in Las Vegas before the old school gunslinger rides off into the sunset.