James DeGale and George Groves Agree to Wager Purses on Fight

Today's press conference for the Saturday show in London was a real cracker. We already highlighted the verbal and near-physical battle between Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew, but that wasn't the highlight.

No, the highlight was bitter prospect rivals James DeGale and George Groves agreeing to make their hate-fueled showdown a winner-take-all scrap:

DeGale made the offer to Groves to turn the fight into a winner-takes-all bout, yelling: "I am so confident that if I lose I will cover your wage. Let's make a bet now. Shake now."

Groves accepted the challenge - perhaps the first time that he and DeGale have agreed on anything for many years.

As most expected, this was more fun talk than anything. Sky Sports reports that the bet won't stick:

"I spoke to Robert Smith (General Secretary) at the Board because I am aware there are rules and regulations that prohibits fighters placing wagers directly or indirectly, on their own fights," he told skysports.com.

"And, as I thought, he said the Board wont allow it because it would be in contradiction to their regulations. So, the bet won't be happening."

It's a shame we have all these regulations and rules and what have you. What a spectacularly fun way to turn up the heat even further this would have been, but alas, we live in a world with rules. Pity.

Both fighters had final (well, probably not, there's a weigh-in yet to come) shots for each other, too:

"This is personal," said DeGale. "If I'm brutally honest, George and me do not like each other. He's lived in my shadow for half his life. He's always been the ugly kid behind James DeGale. He's going to be bitter and jealous and we have to sort it out in the ring."

... "Everyone wants to smash DeGale's face in. He's the most arrogant, egotistical fighter out there," [Groves] said. "Our rivalry comes from the fact James DeGale was Olympic champion but number two in his own gym. When we fought there was a lot of hype about him, but look on YouTube, I beat him. It's there for everyone to see."

I just love this fight. I am totally aware that they're probably overdoing their hatred of one another at least a little bit, but I buy that this is a legitimate grudge, and I'm jonesing for some fights where guys just don't like each other and aren't going to bro-hug the entire fight and make me think I'm watching "Entourage" or UFC (ohhh! (NSFW)), and Saturday's got a lot of them now with DeGale vs Groves, Cleverly vs Bellew, and Pascal vs Hopkins.

If you've never seen their amateur fight and would like to judge for yourself, here it is.

 

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