The Big Question: Will Groves topple Jack?
Will George Groves topple WBC 168lbs champion Badou Jack on Saturday? Or are the Saint’s best days behind him following those two heartbreaking stoppage losses to Carl Froch? Boxing Monthly's online team give their verdict in this week's 'Big Question'.
I get the impression that to beat George Groves you have to have at least one outstanding attribute. That might mean that you are able to absorb enough punishment to enable you to make it to the later rounds where Groves is undoubtedly more susceptible. It might mean that you possess the one punch power to turn a fight in an instant or it may mean that you are simply an outstanding boxer capable of taking advantage of every error Groves makes and outboxing him.
I don’t think Badou Jack is any of these things. He’s a good all round boxer but I just don’t see a jack of all trades beating ‘The Saint’. Groves will probably go to his grave believing that the pair of defeats he suffered to Carl Froch were out and out flukes and will have absolutely no doubt that Jack isn’t in his league. In it’s own way, that pig-headedness and self-confidence is his own outstanding attribute.
I think that Groves has a few Francisco Sierra-esque highlight reel finishes left in his future and I get the feeling that this will be one of them. I boldly predict Groves will stop Jack in spectacular fashion, somewhere around the seventh round. - John Evans.
I favour Groves but not with a great amount of conviction. A lot of other modern day fighters may well have taken the rest of 2014 off after suffering the knockout that Groves did against Carl Froch. His performances against Christophe Rebrasse and Dennis Douglin did nothing to fill me with confidence for any future world title shots. By the time the win came for Groves against Douglin I thought his tank for 2014 had run dry.
Ten months without a fight might not sound like the wisest idea but in this case it favours Groves. The ghosts of Wembley should be exorcised by the very fact he's fighting on such a huge card.
If this was Top Trumps you would want the Groves card rather than the Jack card and it's been nearly two years since we had a world class performance from him. He knows this and I'm banking on the break, the stage and the brains of Groves to prove he's a class above Jack with a late stoppage around the 8th round. - Shaun Brown.
It's an intriguing fight; I'm looking forward to it more than the main event. By all accounts, Groves has been flying in recent weeks, relocating to the States for two months shows his intent.
You could argue Groves has been here before whereas Jack is in new territory defending his title for the first time. How will he handle the pressures of being the champion in such a high profile event? Groves has boxed in front of 80,000 people in case you didn't know!
On last week's media call, the mutual respect shown between the two was evident. The Saint looked somewhat lacklustre in his last outing or two. Hopefully, the Froch fights are now well and truly out of his system and we have another world champion come the early hours on Sunday. Will it be third time lucky? I think so. - Scott Hammerton.
Can I answer yes to both? Well, I will. Groves hasn't been the same since the first fight with Carl Froch. Since then he lost the rematch spectacularly (although it was very competitive up to that point) and laboured to wins against Christopher Rebrasse and Denis Douglin. Groves’ single-mindedness is well known and it's been a big reason for his success but in recent times it has assisted his apparent slippage as a fighter. The hiring of Paddy Fitzpatrick was the decision of a man who saw the coach as an employee, not his trainer and mentor. Despite this, Groves is coming up against a fighter in Jack who has stumbled onto the WBC title and is ripe for the taking. There isn't anything special about the champion and, even though I worry about Groves’ long-term future, I think he stops Jack inside 10 rounds. - Callum Rudge.
You’d have to assume Groves is incredibly focused and up for this winnable fight. If that’s the case, I believe he will win, despite fighting overseas. Badou Jack is solid but not spectacular. Groves is a heavy-hitter and only the great chin of Carl Froch prevented him from winning a world title already.
By Eking out a decision against James DeGale, Groves has also shown he can be patient with a boxer. Jack does not do anything better than either DeGale or Froch. Groves is still only 27 years old and, if he still believes in himself, the best is yet to come. His previous marquee fights should also help make this occasion less intimidating. If Groves starts well, he should stop Jack. – Martin Chesnutt, TKO Radio.
I am going to risk getting splinters in my backside by sitting on the fence and say maybe. If this fight had taken place immediately after his first bout with Carl Froch, then I'd have said that Groves would beat Jack handily. Since the rematch, Groves appears more vulnerable. Christopher Rebrasse was able to land cleanly and regularly - if not regularly enough to win - and Dennis Douglin - a natural light-middleweight - was able to hurt him. Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to say he's been 'Cobra'd' but that self-belief, arrogance, infallibility or whatever you want to call it that he had in abundance seems to be diminished.
If Groves can rekindle the single-mindedness that he possessed in the lead-up to the showdown at Wembley then he will likely stop Jack. However, if that quality truly is gone, then I fear he'll struggle. Jack is solid, and well-conditioned. If he is still on his feet at the midway point, I can see him taking over in the second half of the fight as Groves inevitably fades. – John A McDonald.
Image: Copyright WBC.