Groves vs. Chudinov: George not overlooking Fedor

George Groves (25-3, 18 KOs) is a solid favorite to defeated former world champion Fedor Chudinov (14-1, 10 KOs) this Saturday night in their fight for the WBA Super World super middleweight title at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. Groves, 29, isn’t overlooking Chudinov for an instant in this fight because he believes he hasn’t shown his full potential yet at this point.

Groves feels confident that he’ll win the fight, but he’s not going to make any mistakes with the Russian fighter. Groves can’t slip up in this fight because if he loses now, he might end up having a long wait for his next title shot. There are a lot of boxing fans who don’t understand why Groves keeps getting world title shots while other more deserving contenders are ignored. If Groves loses to Chudinov, it’s going to become forlorn if we see him given title shot next year.

In looking at the 29-year-old Chudinov’s last fight a year ago against Felix Sturm, a couple things jump out at you. First off, Chudinov clearly won that fight or at least he should have won. The fight took place in Germany and the judges opted to give Sturm the win. Chudinov fought well enough to deserve the win by a 10 rounds to 2 score in this writer’s view.

Sturm did little more than throw jabs and take head shots for 12 rounds. With a different set up judges, I believe Chudinov would still be undefeated. He was simply the better fighter on the night. But the fight took place in Germany, and Sturm has proven nearly impossible to beat when fighting over there.

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The other thing that was clearly evident was how slow Chudinov was. His hand speed is very slow. His power is quite good. What’s not good is Chudinov’s hand speed. Chudinov was throwing much slower shots than the ones that Sturm was throwing. The reason why Chudinov got the better of Sturm was the fact that he was throwing so many punches. He was in Sturm’s face the entire night, taking shots and firing back with heavy punches to the head and body. Chudinov’s work rate and pressure more than made up for his lack of hand speed.

“We might not know the best Chudinov yet, so I’m not taking him lightly,” Groves said to Sky Sports News HQ. “I’m not taking my eye off the ball. He’s competed at the highest level but is relatively inexperienced. He’s a former world champion.”

Just based on the hand speed difference between Groves and Chudinov, it’s hard not to lean in favor of the 29-year-old Groves winning this fight. What makes me not want to give it to Groves is his horrendous stamina and his egg-shell like chin. Groves does not take a punch well, and he’s never been good at handling pressure, at least when his opponent has power.

Groves doesn’t seem to mind pressure when he’s facing non punchers like Eduard Gutknecht, David Brophy and Christopher Rebrasse. But when Groves has had to handle pressure from guys with good power like Carl Froch, Badou Jack, Martin Murray and Denis Douglin, he’s looked very shaky. Groves was knocked out twice by Froch, and dropped by Jack. Murray, Jack and Douglin all bothered Groves with their power shots.

“I’m a better fighter now than I was in my previous world title attempts,” Groves said. “I’m working with a better team, I’m better prepared. You never know much about experience – you think you’ve got it, but you never know. Hindsight is a wonderful thing,” said Groves.

I don’t agree that Groves is a better fighter than he was back in 2013 in his first fight with Froch. Groves looked fresher at that point in his career 4 years ago when he was 25. Groves now looks more like a guy that is starting to decline. He’s definitely not a better fighter at this point than he was when he fought Froch the first time. Groves had Froch hurt and probably would have knocked him out if he hadn’t dropped him late in the 1st round. Groves was a better fighter when he was with trainer Adam Booth. No one has done as good as job with the guidance and strategy that Booth did. I think he was perfect for Groves. It’s too bad the two didn’t stay together because I feel that Groves was in the zenith of his career when he was paired with Booth.

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Chudinov is a real threat to Groves simply because of his heavy hands, great chin and the pressure he puts on his opponents. Groves does not like getting hit. He reacts badly when he’s nailed with shots, and believe me, he will be getting hit on Saturday night by the Russian fighter. Murray didn’t do anything in the Groves fight, but the few punches he did land seemed to shake him up. Chudinov punches harder than Murray, he’s fearless, and he throws lot of shots.

Chudinov won’t make the same mistakes that Martin Murray did in his loss to Groves by just covering up for 12 rounds due to him not wanting to get hit. Chudinov is not afraid to get hit. That’s where the danger lies for Groves. He’s going to be getting hit back like Frank Buglioni was in his loss to Chudinov. Buglioni looked good in the beginning of his fight with Chudinov in September 2015, but as soon as he started getting hit with body shots, the whole complexion of the fight changed.

Buglioni went from being an aggressive combination puncher to a fighter that was running for his life. Groves was getting hit hard with body shots early in his loss to Badou Jack, and those shots weakened him in the second half of the contest. By the 7th, Groves was fighting on fumes and Jack was able to dominate the remainder of the fight with ease. Chudinov is a better body puncher than Jack, and he’s unafraid to target that area. Chudinov reminds me a lot of Gennady Golovkin with his size, heavy hands, power and the constant pressure he puts on his opponents.

If Groves comes up short on Saturday night in a decision loss or a knockout defeat, he might want to consider retiring. That’s not a knock on Groves, but I just don’t see anyone he can beat as far as the current champions. Chudinov is arguably the weakest link. If Groves can’t even beat him, then I don’t see a future for him. I don’t future for Groves anyone other than maybe being a paper champion if he can beat Chudinov.