Froch vs Groves: Brutality vs Stealth
In terms of boxing, what can be said of Carl Froch? He’s not just ‘as tough as they come’, he’s tougher. He’s the epitome of resolve. He’s a vicious and hurtful puncher. He’s hugely experienced at the highest levels of boxing. He’s a very serious risk to any fighter in the world at any given moment in a fight, regardless of whether it’s the first round or the twelfth. He’s a world champion boxer. How could one argue over these statements when the world witnesses the aforementioned whenever Carl steps into a ring? It’s fact, Carl Froch is a resilient, hard-hitting world champion.
What of George Groves? He’s got power. He can box and move with skill and grace. He’s gathering experience and maturing as a fighter. He’s beating everyone that’s put in front of him, he remains undefeated, and, according to the world boxing organisations, has worked his way up through the ranks with only Carl Froch to beat in order to claim the ‘numero uno’ spot. It too is fact that George Groves is a slick, undefeated boxer with power in his punch, and is in possession of the right to challenge for a world title.
The ‘facts’ would suggest a well-balanced competitive bout. However, this fight could very well be one-sided but wait for it, for either Froch or Groves.
The world knows what Carl Froch is about. If one decides to go toe-to-toe with Carl it’s like playing Russian roulette only with every chamber loaded… there’s only one possible outcome, you’re going to get your head pulped. Even getting the better of exchanges with Carl makes no difference, his will simply cannot be broken, his tenacity’s not of this world, it’s as if he’s fuelled by anti-matter (he hasn’t got shares in the Large Hadron Collider, has he?). It’s as sure as the ebb and flow of the tide, if one trades with Carl then it’s merely a matter of time before the realisation sinks in that there’s no way to stem the flow – there IS going to be a high-water, which is going to leave YOU in deep water.
But what happens when things are not quite so primal? After all, we humans are blessed with intellect, with the ability to over-rule urges and instincts; we’re not at the mercy of testosterone… although when two fighters ARE driven by testosterone it does make for a great spectacle. What happened when Froch met Ward, for example? Ward didn’t go in for the hormone-driven, toe-to-toe type of battle; he decided to implement what places us humans first in the evolutionary race and used his head instead of getting it pulped. Ward didn’t go to war with Froch, he boxed him – he used his superior speed, skill, and movement to frustrate and nullify Froch’s freakish machismo. Ward was the matador and Froch the bull. Although it has to be said, even with this strategy Ward began showing signs in the latter rounds that Froch’s sheer will and determination alone was beginning to break Ward’s spirit, but Ward still managed to pull it off. Jermaine Taylor would’ve done a similar number on Froch, if it weren’t for him either running out of steam in the latter rounds or just succumbing to Froch’s relentless pursuit of him. Kessler, whom has been in decline since his defeat at the hands of the great Joe Calzaghe, was another to have beaten Froch. Although Kessler’s approach to victory required the heart of a lion and was considerably more ‘in-your-face’ which, no doubt, explained the smaller margin of victory compared to Ward’s.
Can Groves stop Carl Froch? Probably not. Can Groves box with speed, skill, and movement? For sure; it’s fact. So Groves could, potentially, use his speed, skill, and movement to frustrate and nullify Froch’s freakish machismo? Why not? It makes sense seeing as that’s a tried and tested, and probably only, way in which to beat Carl Froch. However, even though it would appear that Groves has the tools at his disposal with which he can utilise to pry aw
ay the belts that Froch deservedly wears, what isn’t yet fact is whether or not Groves has the stomach to contend with such a gnarled and grizzled veteran whose spirit alone can crush opponents. Another fact, though, is that Groves has shared a ring with both Froch and Kessler, and although it was for sparring purposes it will have still informed Groves on whether or not he’d be out of his depth in competing at this level and the fact is, Groves WANTS this fight. Whether Groves is ready or not, he clearly feels he’s ready and it would appear that he has the necessaries required to implement a strategy that is known to befuddle Froch’s one and only way of competing (Froch out-boxed Arthur Abraham but does this really count?) . Groves has a real opportunity to beat a real champion when he steps in the ring with Froch, providing his spirit doesn’t get broken and on condition he implements the correct strategy.
Boxing is a brutal and tough game in which an abundance of heart, ferocity, and resilience serves you well, and although mobility, stealth, and caution may not provide as much excitement for the spectators, it too can serve equally well in attaining victory and ultimately isn’t that what all fighters seek, the victory? Froch fights – we know that – but Groves has options, and he can choose to either ‘square up’ and most likely get his head torn off, or he can employ some cunning and stand a very good chance of out-foxing this grizzly bear. I’m sure the shrewd Tony Booth, George Groves’ trainer, is well aware of all the facts and is currently busy drilling into his fighter the way to beat Carl Froch.
The bottom line is that George Groves simply MUST make this fight a stealthy one, and a bout in which Carl Froch’s brutality is rendered ineffective – which will take something special – surely the smart money’s going on Groves to steal Froch’s belts on the night… especially as the bookies are being so shockingly generous at the moment.