For the second and possibly the last time IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch (33-2, 24 KO’s) knocked out George Groves (19-2, 15 KO’s) in stopping him in the 8th round on Saturday night in a tactical battle at Wembley Stadium in London, UK.
Groves retreated to the ropes and was hit by a right hand from Froch that knocked him down and out. American referee Charlie Fitch stopped the fight immediately upon seeing how badly hurt Groves was. Groves protested to the referee about the stoppage once he regained his senses, but it was too late. Fitch had already stopped the fight by the time Groves knew what was going on.
It was a surprise ending for sure, because Groves had taken control over the fight in the 7th and he was fighting well in the 8th until he made a tactical blunder by backing up to the ropes. Froch does well against his opponents when they back up against the ropes, but Groves must not have studied his previous fights well enough to know that.
Groves did much less in this fight than he did in their first fight last November. He seemed to be deliberately pacing himself for the first 6 rounds by throwing few punches and mostly staying on the outside. Fighting like that cost Groves many of the first six rounds, because he wasn’t doing enough to consistently win the rounds. But Groves changed tactics in the 7th, and put a lot more steam on his shots in the three minutes of action. He seemed to stun Froch at one point with a nice right hand that backed him up.
It’s unfortunate that Groves was halted in the 8th because he had just come alive with his offense, and he was making it interesting with his hard power shots to the head of Froch. He was definitely getting the better of Froch in the round.
Froch was able to use his long jab to get the better of Groves for the first six rounds. Periodically, Froch would charge Groves and throw flurries, but Groves did a good job of moving to the sides to escape many of Froch’s attacks.
For the most part Froch didn’t foul as much as he did in their first fight. He threw rabbit punches in the first 4 rounds, and put forearm in Groves’s face to force him down at point in the fight, but the referee warned Froch each time but without taking points off.
“I’m feeling unbelievably elated. This is the best moment of my boxing career,” Froch said to Sky Sports Box Office. “I’ve been involved in some magnificent fights with some top world champions but this is by far the biggest and best crowd I’ve boxed in front of, it’s the biggest event I’ve ever been part of and I’m very, very proud. George Groves should also be very proud. It was neck-and-neck in here, let’s be honest – there was nothing in it. One punch can be all you need and unfortunately for George, he was on the end of a very heavy right hand.”
I wonder if Froch is feeling proud enough to finally want to try and attempt to avenge his loss to Andre Ward. I guess that’s the real test of how confident Froch is feeling. If he’s really confident, he’ll take the fight. If not, it’ll be James DeGale or some other safer target.
“I felt I was doing very well – I was in my groove, boxing well – but I’ve got to hold my hands up: he caught me with a shot,” Groves said.