The Big Question: How will history remember George Groves?

Boxing Monthly
28/01/2019 2:09pm

Photo: Mark Robinson/Getty Images

As former WBA super-middleweight titlist George Groves announces his retirement Lee Gormley, Paul Zanon, Shaun Brown, Tom Craze and Colin Harris assess his legacy...

Hopefully Groves is remembered for his outstanding achievements in the ring and class outside of it, rather than the Carl Froch knockout or loss to Callum Smith later on in his career. He enjoyed a top amateur career and went on to reach the pinnacle as a professional, providing huge British fight nights against James DeGale, Froch and Chris Eubank Jr. His reluctance to give in after several setbacks in pursuing a world title against strong opposition and persistence on chasing that dream were eventually rewarded due to sheer determination and work ethic, with that famous night in Sheffield undoubtedly being his top highlight. The inclusion of a prayer for former opponent Eduard Gutknecht in his retirement statement also proves the quality of the man. Groves has got out of boxing in full health and has a great career to look back on. All the best to him for the future - history will remember him as a quality operator and a classy British fighter. - Lee Gormley

He was the guy who everyone mocked after he was knocked out by Froch and was being branded the nearly man after the Badou Jack fight. After four attempts he showed that Cinderella Man stories can actually be achievable realities. He then continued to fortify his legacy with a great performance in the WBSS, overcoming Eubank Jr with ease, yet losing in the final to a worthy winner in Smith. He's been great for British boxing and I hope he'll remain in the sport in some capacity. - Paul Zanon

Kindly, I think and hope. Value for money in and out the ring. Helped turn a British title fight into a pay-per-view thanks to his rivalry with James DeGale. Involved in a 21st century classic with Carl Froch in Manchester, then came Wembley and that five-figure attendance. Took all that to Las Vegas and fell short again. Bramall Lane, against Chudinov was the monkey off his back and a huge sigh of relief. His value and name remained afterwards and continued to deliver against Cox, Eubank Jr before Callum Smith proved too much at that stage of Groves career. Quirky, a bit of a gunslinger (can't forget the Kenny Anderson fight), intelligent, interesting, box office and gave us all memories that we will remember for the rest of our lives. - Shaun Brown

It’s hard to imagine it’ll be anything other favourably, and deservedly so. From the outset, as a much-vaunted David Haye protégé and that win over James DeGale, through to showreel stoppages over Paul Smith Jnr, Jamie Cox, and Fedor Chudinov – the latter of which realised a lifelong dream – to the Froch rivalry, which in some ways transformed the fortunes of British boxing; to Vegas, and finally to his final WBSS run, Groves’ is a career that, if it didn’t have it all, had something a damn sight near to it. An intelligent, likeable man, a technically-excellent boxer with a brilliant jab and underrated prowess as a one-punch KO artist, Groves has been an asset to the sport. - Tom Craze

I think history will judge him quite favourably: as the 'nearly-man who-actually-got-there-in-the-end'. In the same vein as Frank Bruno it's a story which ends up achieving the goal. Groves has entertained us, been through adversity, battled back from bitter defeat and ends up retiring at a young age, financially secure, faculties intact with a cluster of titles on the mantelpiece. Being a bit of a stickler, I still find the WBA title he won to be a bauble as there was already a perfectly good champion in place (there was no need to create a super-title or pick two fighters to contest the vacant trinket), but that will be a forgotten bit of info soon enough. At times he was hard to like, then somehow he became hard not to like, and I think it's safe to say we've all enjoyed watching his career over the years. - Colin Harris

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