This fight had mismatch written all over it before the fight was even made, because Johnson had been retired and lost four out of his last five fights coming into the bout. Groves had predicted that he would knock Johnson out, but he never came close to doing that despite trying hard to stop Johnson in every round.
Groves unloaded everything but the kitchen sink on Johnson in rounds 1, 6, 7 and 12, but he didn’t go anywhere. But what Groves did show in going all out was a lack of discipline because he didn’t seem to have a clue that all that he was doing was hitting gloves for the most part, and leaving himself open for huge shots from Johnson. I lost track of all the times that Johnson tagged Groves with shots that would have knocked him cold if Johnson was a little younger.
Groves threw a lot of punches in this fight but most of them hit Johnson’s gloves, which were always held high to block Groves’ wasted punches. The British crowd didn’t realize that Groves was just hitting the gloves of Johnson, and they often screamed loudly as if the punches were actually landing. They weren’t.
Johnson, to his credit, landed some beautiful punches in this fight and if he was just a little busier I think he would have knocked Groves out.
This is a fight where Groves’ stock went down because he fought a really stupid fight and looked like a young kid without a solid game plan.
After the fight, a gleeful Groves talked as if he had just found a cure for cancer rather than beating a guy that was way over the hill. Groves talked of how much he learned in the fight and how he wishes he could more fights like this before he fights for a title in 2013. To be honest, I don’t see how fights like this can help Groves for when he’s thrown in the ring against Abraham. Johnson couldn’t pull the trigger on his punches tonight due to age, but that won’t be the issue when Groves fights Abraham. That guy will pull the trigger on his shots and Groves is going to be in for a world of hurt when that happens. Groves is better off looking to fight someone that can actually throw punches back at hi instead of just standing and blocking shots like a punching bag.
In the undercard, Commonwealth middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (16-0, 10 KO’s) had to really struggle to defeat Nick Blackwell (12-2, 6 KO’s) by a 12 round unanimous decision. The final judges’ scores were 117-112, 116-113, and 115-114. Saunders won the fight but Blackwell won the event. He was the real story here because he pushed the fight each round with his pressure and gave Saunders real headaches in this fight. After the 6th, Saunders looked tired, and his power, such as it was, completely abandoned him in the fight. Blackwell was then able to get to him more and more in the fight with his nice body shots, hard jabs and hooks to the head.
Overall, I was very impressed with Blackwell and not impressed at all with Saunders. I know Saunders is the one that’s considered to be the fighter on the rise, but I don’t see him in the class of guys like Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray. Those guys are just much better punchers than him.
In other boxing action on the card:
Liam Smith UD 12 Steve O’Meara
Bradley Skeete TKO 4 Chas Symonds
Frank Buglioni RTD 2 Ciaran Healy