George Groves got Paul Smith out in the second round today in London. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
George Groves and Paul Smith both came to throw heavy shots, and it was the younger man and defending British super middleweight champion who had more heavy ammunition early. Groves stopped Smith in the second round, knocking him down twice and sending the referee in to stop the fight.
The first round was a feeling-out process from both, but did end with a hard right hand from Smith (31-3, 17 KO) that gave Groves (14-0, 11 KO) a bit of a rattle. In the second, Groves caught Smith and put him on the canvas. Unsteady, Smith got up quickly and was wide open for another clean right hand, which put Smith right back down and sent the referee in.
While it could certainly be argued as an early hook -- and Smith definitely argued that way -- it's hard to totally dismiss the referee's reaction to stop the fight, as Smith really didn't look in a good way, and was complaining on jelly legs.
This was Groves' first fight under the Frank Warren banner, and was a good start indeed. Whether he stays at British level for a few more fights or jumps up to, perhaps, the European stage remains to be seen, and a potential rematch with promotional stablemate James DeGale does loom. DeGale did win the European title on October 15, so though Warren may prefer to let the rematch simmer a while, it might just be the fight that makes sense sooner than later for both men.