We have another of those tantalising all British fights this time in front of a sell out crowd at the Manchester Arena on February 17th. Both George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr will be defending their version’s of the tiresome alphabet boys world title in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series.
But this highly anticipated fight doesn’t need any dubious title attached to it, it’s a fight people want to watch, and picking a winner is problematic.
The odds strongly favour Eubank Jr, he’s currently 8/13 while you can get 6-4 on Groves, remarkably generous odds. A recent poll on my page Fightbook, was heavily in favour of Eubank Jr also, almost 2-1. I fail to see how people are seeing it as a near sure thing for the talented but still unproven Eubank Jr.
There does seem to be an aura around Eubank Jr, but he’s yet to fully convince, the potential is there for sure, but against his best opponent so far, he came up short.
The loss to Billy Joe Saunders doesn’t look that bad in retrospect. Saunders is class, and it came too soon for Eubank Jr in all probability. He gave away nearly all of the opening rounds, a combination of believing his own hype, posing rather than fighting and his inability to do anything with Saunders, shouldn’t be forgotten.
Eubank Jr got to work late on, but he was too far behind to win the decision. It was close at the end, but Eubank Jr lost, it wasn’t debatable, not in my opinion anyway.
Saunders showed him movement and angles and Eubank Jr was too inexperienced, too raw to handle him, I noted at the time he got exposed.
But Eubank Jr now 26-1, has improved since that loss in 2014. He went back to the British scene, then the IBO picture before entering the World Boxing Super Series, but in Groves, he faces the acid test, Groves will tell us just how good Eubank Jr really is.
Groves 27-3, has a proven track record against the elite of the division. Groves turned pro after an excellent amateur career, which included an ABA title and a Commonwealth medal.
Groves has shown true grit to overcome early setbacks, winning his world title at the 4th attempt after defeats to Froch and Badou Jack. We all know what Groves brings, Eubank we still are not sure.
Eubank Jr looks sensational at times, but the opponents since Saunders have been of a certain style, a certain standard. Groves is a live opponent, he has the experience, the style, the size to really test Eubank Jr.
While we have seen nothing to suggest Eubank Jr has a weak chin, Carl Froch said in reference to past sparring sessions, that when Froch landed big, Eubank Jr just looked at him and kept coming, Groves will test that theory in Manchester.
Groves the much bigger man hits hard enough to put Froch over, and if Eubank Jr starts dropping his hands, he could pay a very big price indeed.
Body shots could be a route to victory for Groves, they paved the way to his win over Chudinov and finished his last fight with Jamie Cox with one.
Size could play a part, Eubank Jr is small for the weight, I think he would be a better middleweight, while Groves is a big super middleweight. I’ve heard the suggestion that Groves is dead at the weight, tight certainly, dead I don’t see that.
Groves will surely try to copy what Saunders did, use his underrated boxing skills and movement and not stand still letting Eubank Jr get off with his flashy combinations.
Eubank isn’t a puncher, so he can’t afford to let Groves build up too much of an early points lead, as the chances are, this will go long, he can’t do what he did against Saunders.
I definitely see Groves starting strong before Eubank Jr gets more into the fight as the fight progresses. The question is if Groves doesn’t unravel can Eubank Jr win this on points, that’s my doubt.
Eubank Jr loads up too much doesn’t use his jab enough and could struggle to get in range enough to win a decision.
Eubank Jr looks great against the right opponent, a static boxer who doesn’t move very much. Groves moves, when he wants to, has an excellent jab and power, Eubank Jr is in for a really tough fight, the odds don’t reflect how close this fight is.
It’s one of those fights that you have to take a punt on Eubank Jr if you think he can pull it off, and after much thought, I am prepared to do so.
Groves will undoubtedly start fast, but Eubank Jr I feel will get the job done, his superior speed will start to tell. Groves, as I said, moves well when he wants, but he does get dragged into the pocket, and I feel he will do so again, fighters usually revert to type.
Eubank Jr will gradually get to work, do his thing and start to put Groves under the sort of pressure which has seen him start to unravel previously, Eubank Jr I think has the tools to not let Groves off the hook.
It won’t be easy but I feel Eubank Jr will win and may even stop his man late.
Eubank Jr by late stoppage.