Britain’s George Groves says he is ready for his third chance at world glory when he meets WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on a glittering bill – headlined by the pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather.
Third time’s a charm
It is the Londoner’s third shot at a title in the 168lbs division following consecutive stoppage defeats to the now retired Carl Froch, during a bitter rivalry throughout 2013 and 2014. The 27-year old understands the magnitude of the event this weekend as he seeks to dethrone the newly crowned champion Badou Jack.
Jack, 31, defeated Anthony Dirrell for the WBC belt in April earlier this year via a majority decision. It was a bout that many believed Dirrell would cruise through, though Badou prevailed after sticking to a strict game-plan in walking down his opponent and dominating the latter stages of the fight.
His first defence is a mandatory one following Groves’ victory over European champion Christopher Rebrasse in a final eliminator at Wembley twelve months ago. A fight expected to outshine his mentor’s on a night which is billed as Mayweather’s last.
Badou Jack is under no illusions that the challenge ahead tonight is one of serious proportions. The Sweden national has been in camp for twelve weeks and is training to exploit the flaws in Groves’ inside game.
His team believe they can capitalise on the Brit’s questionable stamina and ability to absorb punishment. They are prepared for a twelve-round war.
Both men looked ready at the weigh-in and final face off yesterday – here’s how it went down as shot by the guys at IFL TV:
Mentally and physically prepared
Groves is more settled in his approach to his third world title challenge. The event needs no selling. The Saint needs only to show up and produce the goods in the ring, and he’s supremely confident that that is exactly what he will do.
Speaking at Wednesday’s media work-out, Groves said:
“He’s a good fighter, but not a great fighter. I beat him in every aspect and because of that he can’t beat me on Saturday night, and he knows it already.”
The Saint is clearly assured in his own ability. He boasts the most experience of the pair and arrives in Las Vegas fresh from a solid preparation in Big Bear training at Abel Sanchez’s gym. Consistent claims on being ‘Cobra’d’ by Carl Froch last May are having no influences on his potential performance on tonight, as he embarks on becoming another British world champion.
An intriguing encounter is anticipated. Badou Jack’s tendency to start slowly will give George Groves the window of opportunity to finish the bout early. Groves spearing jab and slick boxing skills should give the WBC champion plenty of issues. Mayweather’s protégée will enter the MGM on tonight knowing that he is about to enter upon unknown territory.
Everything for a reason
It is up to Groves to utilise such a position and unsettle Jack from the opening bell. The Swede is a good all-round fighter but has yet to showcase an elite skill in his 21 bouts to date. Trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick believes George outclasses Badou in every department and it’s hard to argue otherwise.
The 27-year old Brit will first need to prove that his 2014 exertions have not had both a physical and mental effect on his ability to compete at world level. His performances against Rebrasse and Douglin, during the latter half of 2014, have not showcased George in the best light.
Tonight is his opportunity to right the wrongs and prevail as a super middleweight world champion, a target both fighter and trainer set out to achieve when coming together 15 months ago. Groves has the ability, but Jack has the confidence.
It sets up a mouth-watering clash between two fighters desperate to silence their doubters, and the unconvinced wider public, wrong.
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