Froch vs Groves preview: Picks and predictions from the BLH staff

Alex Livesey

Bad Left Hook's staffers take a look at tomorrow's big fight in Manchester between Carl Froch and George Groves. Will we see an upset, or is Froch too good and too experienced?

Ryan Bivins

In a battle of experience vs youth, who wins? To me it just comes down the judges. And I can't predict what they're going to do to save my life. I figure they'll give it to Froch, but I can definitely see Groves pulling off an Andre Dirrell-esque performance. He's a smart fighter and he's studied what has given Froch problems in the past. But he's also never fought at this level before, assuming Froch hasn't gotten old overnight. Groves clearly did better against Glen Johnson than Froch did, but so did Lucian Bute and we saw what happened there.

However, if Groves does find himself taking a beating like Bute did, he'll probably get on his bicycle and use his younger legs to survive. On the other hand should Froch find himself taking a beating, well, he'll just take it. Groves doesn't sit on his punches enough to get the ever-durable Froch out of there. Plus the more Groves stands right in front of Froch, the more chances Froch has to knock him out. I just doubt Groves is going to fight with that kind of confidence, no matter how tough he's talked going into this fight. Froch by decision.

Scott Christ

George Groves might have believed he could get into Carl Froch's head, but I think Carl Froch's head is too full of Carl Froch for anyone to really get into it. Froch is one of the sport's great egomaniacs, in all honesty, and I'm not saying that as a bad thing. That sort of confidence and arrogance has first off been earned, but more than that, it's part of what makes Froch the fighter he is. Groves wants to portray confidence, and I think he knows how to portray it pretty well. He stepped toward Froch at the weigh-in staredown, stuck his chest out, kept his chin up, looked dead into the eyes of "The Cobra," but I'm not sure he can manage that sort of confidence once the fight is settled in tomorrow. Carl Froch is not a truly great fighter along the lines of Floyd Mayweather or whatever, but he's really good, and he's proven really good against top fighters. He didn't even do poorly against Andre Ward, who is actually great. I don't know what Groves can do better than Froch unless Froch hits a decline quickly, which is possible at 36.

I like George Groves, but I think he jumped into this one way too soon. He has not been prepared for world level by any means. James DeGale remains his best win, and not only was that scoring debatable (not a robbery, but either man could have gotten the nod that night), but DeGale hasn't exactly been sparkling as a pro, either. Froch is not special technically. He's special in that he has the desire and the drive, the hunger to be the best, and he will take the necessary lumps and steps to do that. That's an X-factor. And it's why Froch wins this fight. Froch UD-12.

Tom Craze

The common conception is that, in and around the super-middleweight title picture, there are two distinct levels: the first, Andre Ward, and the second, everybody else. I would argue there's a third, interim category: read Ward, Froch, The Rest.

To be clear: George Groves is an excellent young fighter, and for a year or more I've been telling anyone who'd listen that I'd favor Groves - or, at least, a Booth-mentored Groves - over those at the periphery, particularly the key European players, the likes of Stieglitz and Abraham. What I'm yet to hear, though, is a convincing argument for how Groves beats Carl Froch. Stylistically, those picking Groves point to his quicker feet and a solid jab. Those looking to the intangibles flag up the age difference between the two.

From this viewpoint, Froch holds all the aces: the house fighter, fighting in front of what will be a raucous, largely pro-Froch audience; the bigger, stronger man, a superb chin, vastly experienced at this type of level, facing an untested fighter who's switched his career-long trainer mid-camp. Throughout the week, Froch has looked comfortable and supremely confident in his promise of an early night. Conversely, Groves has, increasingly, struck me as looking twitchy, naive, a little vulnerable, more than a little awed by what he could be up against.

Many wise industry men will tell you that what's happened inside the media circus won't matter a jot on Saturday. The contrarian in me says that it's told us a great deal. I think Groves is in over his head. Froch TKO-3.

Kory Kitchen

There's a little part of me that wants to give Groves a decent chance of pulling the upset. He has talent and releases his punches in an unpredictable manner. He has solid speed and mixes it up between the head and body. But, try as I may, I just can't pull the trigger on him actually beating Froch. Froch is a steaming locomotive right now and unless he begins to feel the tug of his age on Saturday night, he has too much for Groves to overcome.
Froch will be his usual relentless self by applying steady pressure and backing Groves into all corners of the ring. Groves will attempt to circle and throw from the outside, perhaps stealing an early round or two with activity. Gradually, he will slow, and Froch will take over for good. Groves may have a good future ahead, but this is the Carl Froch Era in England. Froch TKO-8.

Dave Oakes

Calculated or delusional? Saturday night will reveal all when it comes to George Groves' approach to this fight. It's one thing saying you're going to give Carl Froch a beating, it's an altogether different thing doing it. It's clear to me that Groves' words are being used as a tactic to try and rile Froch up so much that the Nottingham man goes all guns blazing from the first bell and potentially leaves himself open for a big counter punch. It's a big risk considering Froch could very well get Groves out of there before Groves gets the chance to land that counter.
Groves' best chance is to box and move, Froch's footwork can be sluggish at times, especially early in fights and Groves has the footwork and ability to cause him problems. Groves should be looking to provide a constantly moving target, in and out boxing whilst trying to establish his jab, which is one of his better punches. If Groves stands his ground and trades with Froch, which he's suggested he will do, then I can see Froch steam-rolling him, Froch hits too hard and is far too strong and tough for Groves to cope with. If that happens, Froch will win inside six rounds.

If Groves uses movement and speed, I can see him doing well in the first four rounds, the trouble will come when Froch moves through the gears and starts to find Groves a more hittable target. As the fight wears on I can see Froch closing the space more and more and getting the chance to land cleanly more and more. I've my doubts as to how well Groves will be able to take a big shot, Paul Smith and Kenny Anderson have both wobbled him and I think it's fair to say that Froch hits harder than the both of them. Froch will land cleanly at some point and will hurt Groves, and I can't see Groves recovering from it, Froch is a merciless finisher when he's got a fighter going. Froch KO-7.

FINAL TALLY: Carl Froch 5, George Groves 0.

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