Carl Froch: 167.9 lbs.
George Groves: 166.4 lbs.
Saturday’s HBO Boxing After Dark telecast begins at 4:00 p.m. (ET/PT) with a world featherweight title fight (Vetyeka vs. Donaire) from Macau. The main event of the day live at 4:45 p.m. (ET/PT) features a highly anticipated 12-round title rematch between super middleweight title-holder Carl Froch and top contender and arch-rival George Groves.
American boxing fans can catch a highly anticipated UK rematch and a title fight from Macau when HBO BOXING AFTER DARK®: CARL FROCH VS. GEORGE GROVES II AND SIMPIWE VETYEKA VS. NONITO DONAIRE is seen SATURDAY, MAY 31 at 4:00 p.m. (ET/PT). The HBO Sports team will be calling both events, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino. Other HBO playdates: June 1 (8:30 a.m.) and 3 (1:00 a.m.) – HBO2 playdates: June 1 (3:15 p.m.) and 2 (11:00 p.m.)
Just six months after their first encounter, two of the UK’s favorite sons, Carl Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, and George Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) of Hammersmith, London, England, clash in a 12-round title rematch before more than 80,000 fans. Groves dominated the first eight rounds of their Nov. 2013 bout, and appeared well on his way to a unanimous decision, but Froch launched a tireless barrage of shots midway through the ninth in a dramatic turn of events. While the hurt yet gritty Groves remained on his feet, Froch’s attack compelled the referee to end the fight in controversial fashion. This highly charged 168-pound bout will air live on HBO at 4:45 p.m. (ET).
The action begins at 4:00 p.m. (ET/PT) with full same-day coverage of the scheduled 12-round featherweight title fight between challenger Nonito Donaire (32-2, 21 KOs) and titleholder Simpiwe Vetyeka (26-2, 16 KOs) from Cotai Arena at The Venetian® Macao in Macau, China. In his season debut, Donaire, who has won titles in four divisions and was the sport’s 2012 Fighter of the Year, seeks a new crown. Insightful, thoughtful and engaging, Donaire, a native of the Philippines, now living in Las Vegas, started a new winning streak last fall on HBO with a ninth-round KO victory over Vic Darchinyan in their rematch. Vetyeka, of Mdantsane, South Africa, will be making the first defense of his 126-pound title.
Later that evening (11:15-11:45 p.m. ET/PT), HBO presents the first episode of “24/7 Cotto/Martinez,” the latest installment of the Emmy ®-winning series. The show profiles superstars Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez as they prepare for their June 7 blockbuster encounter on HBO Pay-Per-View®.
At midnight (ET/PT), HBO Latino presents a special edition of “HBO Latino Boxing” from the Tropicana Casino Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. Javier Fortuna (24-0-1, 18 KOs) of the Dominican Republic takes on Mexico’s Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-4, 23 KOs) in a super featherweight event scheduled for ten rounds, while Luis Rosa (16-0, 7 KOs) and Luis Orlando Del Valle (18-1, 13 KOs), both of Puerto Rico, open the show with a scheduled ten-round super bantamweight fight. Subscribers can also catch the action with English-language commentary on HBO2 at midnight (ET/PT).
HBO2 and HBO Latino will replay FROCH VS. GROVES II after the action from Las Vegas concludes.
Carl Froch: – “George Groves has been going to the opening of an envelope, dinning out on his round one knockdown against The Cobra and giving it large. But that’s his prerogative if he is enjoying the moment his little time his little five minutes of fame then you know he should do he should enjoy it, but really he should be concentrating on his fighting and his boxing.
“I wasn’t feeling sharp I didn’t really want to get in the mood. I didn’t really want to warm up or want to be on the ball, I was just like ‘let’s get this fight out the way’, and I’ve been there before in my career and I just want to get it done and dusted. My A-game, it wasn’t there that night, for many reasons.
“I hit George Groves with an over hand right hand that he didn’t see coming and his legs stiffened and he stumbled towards me. He grabbed my legs, the ref saw that and I saw it. George was gone; he was in serious, serious trouble. I shoved him off of me, backed him up against the ropes, landed a right hand, a left hook landed, another right hand, another left hook. He was stumbling looking like he was trying to do something, and he was gone looking at the floor, his arms was slumped and his head was slumped. I would have preferred the fight to have gone on longer because I was on top I was in control I was doing what I do I was punishing him and lining him up for the big finish.
“I never think about my opponent really unless he is mentioned. I don’t need to think about it I need to worry about myself I have probably been thinking too much about George Groves in the first fight in the training camp on the first build up to the fight I was probably thinking about him too much and that was part of his game plan to get under my skin and wind me up.
“It was effective and it worked but it will not happen twice – no chance. I might be stupid for the first one but I’m not double stupid, and I won’t make the same mistake twice. I can think about George, I cannot think about him, I can listen to him, I cannot listen to him, it’s all a bit ‘whatever, in one ear and out the other’. I’m just not paying any attention to him.”
“He is ignorant enough that if he is getting hit as long as he is landing something he will keep punching. Technically it’s terrible. It’s an awful, awful style you would never encourage a fighter to box that way, you would never encourage a young kid who’s just joined the gym to box like that.
“He is not a fighting man, he doesn’t stalk people, he doesn’t pressure fight, he doesn’t back people up with aggression. He likes to stand at long range flick out a jab and hope that switches his opponent off enough so that he can dive in gun-slinging punching from the hip, crossing his feet, after two three punches digging his heels in deep enough so he can keep punching.
“Every time he gets caught he wants to go and trade he only ever trades like that when he has no other options so again coming back to that warrior mentality. I feel like it’s a false truth because if he could sit and dance and look pretty then he would but he doesn’t have to ability to do that so it’s always back against the wall stuff with him. If you go back and look at his fights it’s always desperation and for that that’s the reason why you’ll see him fight he way he fights.
“If he wants to concentrate on the physical aspect and that he feels he can be physically superior or superior enough that he has won the fight before he enters the ring; I wish him luck. He’s eleven years older than me, he’s coming off the back of a horrific beating and if he trying to do something different and runs the risk of over training.
“He’s on his fight weight eight weeks out. You ask any World class fighter out there – that’s never a good idea. He can sit there and try and take confidence from the way I make weight, I might drop a couple of pounds the night before – it makes no blind a difference to me.”