Froch beats Groves after a Controversial Stoppage by Ref
By Peter Wells
Feeling hard done by may be an understatement for how George Groves must be feeling right now. Having boxed superbly for 8 rounds the Hammersmith fighter was handed a hammer blow when referee Howard Foster leaped in at the first sign of the underdog being in trouble. Groves was furious, while Carl Froch leapt in relief; he had survived one of the most tormenting nights he had experienced in a ring before. The ‘boy’ that had disrespected him beforehand, who didn’t belong in the ring with Froch, had proven he was more than a match for the 4-time Super Middleweight world champion.
At the time of the premature stoppage most observers had Groves clearly ahead on their scorecards, and while many expected Groves to put in a gritty performance, very few expected what took place between the ropes live on Sky Sports Box Office. So while the undercard was far from pay-per-view worthy, the main event was thrilling enough to justify the price tag.
Groves was seemingly boxing his way to a majestic victory prior to the 9th round but apparently two judges at ringside didn’t see it that way. It seemed that Groves had been robbed of a certain points win but as two official judges had the challenger a mere 1 round ahead on each of their cards it seemed that Groves couldn’t catch a break either way. And a defeat on the scorecards would have been a far worse boxing crime. Froch should have been requiring a knockout and thanks to some fairly poor refereeing ‘The Cobra’ was afforded that get-out-of-jail-free card.
After the mind-blowing entrances the two fighters went to work behind their jabs, each slinging the left hands out from around their hip. Groves was expectedly sharp early on but Carl also swung out some decent jabs that made it an even first round. That was until late in the opener when a crunching right hand shattered on the jaw of Froch. For the 2nd time in the Nottingham man’s career he hit the canvas but this was a far harder knockdown than the one he suffered at the fast hands of Jermain Taylor. Froch rose but looked stunned, possibly more from the shock of George Groves’ power. Groves with confidence flowing through his veins, leaped on Froch and ‘The Cobra’ rattled fired back in desperation as he stumbled backwards as the bell sounded.
If the atmosphere at ringside wasn’t insane enough already it had just been ramped up half a dozen notches.
Groves continued his assault in the second round as he dived on Froch, but was reminded to slow down by a straight right hand that brought momentary respite for Froch. But Groves responded, snapping the jab several times into the face of Carl, taunting him with his fast hands. The right hand fired like a bullet from a revolver, and from point blank range Groves just couldn’t miss. Froch threw shots that were off target, the decisiveness in his punches wasn’t there and Groves continued to pepper him in the 2nd and 3rd rounds with jabs and right hands.
The jab from Groves was solid, much like the jab of Andre Ward that caused Froch so many problems in the Super Six final. But in the 3rd round Groves just lost his concentration for a second as Froch caught him with a solid right hand that fleetingly had Groves on the ropes.
The pace didn’t relent as we drove into the 4th round, Groves was caught on the ropes but managed to slide away before unloading a double jab followed by a straight right that once again was far sharper than Froch’s same shot.
Froch took the 5th, despite his work still lacking rhythm, several times he found Groves on the ropes and work rate alone brought him his first round of the fight.
Just as it seemed the momentum might be shifting, Groves punished Froch’s sloppy defences with two solid right hands, the two exchanged bombs but it was Groves who got the better of the exchange, stunning the champion before piling on the pressure. Froch would not back down and forced home wild swings in an attempt to shift the balance of the fight.
The pattern continued in the 7th as Groves’ confidence was flowing like a high speed train. This isn’t to say Froch wasn’t enjoying successes as he unloaded combinations that ensured a competitive and flowing fight, but it was Groves hitting harder, Groves was more accurate and Groves was on top.
In the 8th Froch showed exactly why he was a 4-time world champion, forcing Groves to hold after a big left hook-right hand combination, but a foul on the inside gave Groves the breather he needed. For the first time it seemed that Groves was feeling the pace and Froch was beginning to walk down his tormentor.
The 9th round began with a big right hand landing flush for Carl and Groves was hurt big for the first time in the fight. The former unbeaten fighter was forced to hold before firing back as Froch threw caution to the wind. Knowing he needed to force the stoppage sooner rather than later Froch continued to throw hopeful shots, but Groves was by no means taking a beating. Groves bounced off the ropes firing a one-two before he was clattered by a left hook. Stumbling as he tried to avoid a Froch right hand Howard Foster grabbed hold of Groves waving his arms in the air. Groves instantly pushed away in disgust, horrified that a contest that was going so well for him had ended so dreadfully. Watching Froch celebrate must have been a heart breaking moment for the 25 year old.
Afterwards the verdict was unanimous, Howard Foster was wrong to halt the fight, but despite the defeat George Groves has earned something far more rewarding than any world title, the admiration and respect of everyone watching.
A rematch will be rightly demanded and after such an entertaining fight and controversial end it is sure to happen, sooner rather than later. Groves now 19-1(15) has proven to the world he belongs at the very top, while Froch now 32-2(23) proved yet again it’s never over till it’s over. Groves and Froch will live long in fans hearts and so they should, they have provided us with so much and they have far more to deliver.
But Saturday night was Groves’ night, he may not have the W but he entered the ring to boos and jeers and left the ring to a standing ovation, I’d say that is a victory in itself.
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