On Saturday 25th November 2013, the eargerly awaited fight labelled the “Battle of Britain” between World Champion Carl Froch and challenger George Groves had finally come to it’s conclusion. Despite being an epic battle, many were left unsatisfied with the result. Here are our thoughts on it.
Initially when we heard about the fight match up, it screamed mis-match. Carl, a seasoned champion seemingly at the peak of his career was supposed to destroy George, with many believing the opportunity had come too soon. However interest in the fight increased as the tension between the two fighters built up through the media and press coverage. The confidence that George showed while playing the role of villain made you realise he really belived that a win was very much on his agenda.
As the fight began, immediately Froch appeared slow while Groves appeared fast and sharp. I expected George to win the earlier rounds, but I didn’t believe he possessed the strength to hurt Froch. Froch’s chin has been battle tested on many occassions; the only time I’ve ever seen him on the canvas was against Jermain Taylor. However to my shock, George flattened Froch heavily in the first round.
Froch did well to recover and finish the round, but he was clearly still affected by the shot even in the second round. Groves seemed to be able to land his shots at will, and stood in the centre of the ring while Froch remained on the back foot. Pretty much the opposite of what I expected! I assumed Groves strategy would be similar to when he defeated rival James DeGale. It would seem that Froch had massively underestimated his opponent and was now facing an uphill struggle.
In my opinion Froch had some successes in the following rounds landing some heavy shots that marked up George’s face, but it was clear that George was winning the rounds. This all changed in round 8, with a dominating round from Froch where he landed some big combinations that seemed to have an obvious effect on George, slowing him down.
In the ninth round there was no doubt in my mind that Froch was close to victory, clearly laying a heavy beating on George. However when Howard Foster jumped in I immediately thought it was too soon. Although George was hurt, he was still throwing and landing punches of his own and hadn’t been dropped. Looking back at the footage I still believe this is the case.
The crowd seemed to be in agreement too; boo’s echoed through Manchester Arena as an amazing fight seemed to have been brought to a premature end. The Sky Sports commentators, including David Haye and Amir Khan also seemed in agreement with the crowd. As the fight was drawn to a close, a defiant George Groves raised his arm to be greated by loud cheers, despite having been booed on his way into the arena.
So what do we make of it all. Well first, I was gutted for Carl Froch that he received boo’s from the crowd. It was the referee’s decision to end the fight when he did, Carl was simply playing his part and as usual putting on a warrior performance; and this was one of the toughest of his career. Regarding the referee’s decision, I think it was stopped too early. Do I blame Howard Foster? No. Again he’s just doing his job, he’s in the best position to make the decision and he has to make it fast to protect a fighter if he believes they are no longer in a position to defend themselves or are taking too much punishment. If he had allowed it to continue and Carl had knocked George unconscious, would he receive criticism that he should have stopped it sooner?
It’s a very difficult situation. Unfortunately I believe that both Carl Froch and George Groves were denied the opportunity to have found out what would have happened if the fight had continued. Maybe George would have got knocked down or knocked out. Maybe he would have got back up and survived as Froch did, or as he himself did against Kenny Anderson earlier in his career. Maybe Froch would have left himself open going in for the kill and got knocked down again. There are so many different possible outcomes, but sadly we’ll never know how it would have ended; we can only speculate.
So what should happen now… Froch never believed that George deserved the opportunity, and he’s keen to face Andre Ward again to rectify a loss that hasn’t been avenged. He doesn’t want a rematch to delay this. Fair enough, however the controversy around this fight also puts a big question mark over his legacy. Additionally, the pay day for a rematch against George would be mega bucks by comparison, drawing a much bigger UK audience. Many seem to believe that if a rematch was to happen, George would win. However, I believe it would be a very different fight and it would be another win for Froch. Andre Ward is a different matter; unforunately I see this being a loss for Carl. Therefore I believe that the best case scenario for both Carl and the UK boxing fans would be rematch.
But this is just our opinion and it doesn’t really mean a great deal. It will be interesting to see what happens in the new year.