Carl Froch and George Groves prepare for World War 2
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Carl Froch and George Groves prepare for World War 2
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (May 30, 2014)

L-R: Carl Froch: 167.9 lbs. George Groves: 166.4 lbs.
L-R: Carl Froch: 167.9 lbs. George Groves: 166.4 lbs.
Photo © HBO / Ed Mulholland
For the first time in months, Carl Froch was calm. There was no noticeable irritation in his voice. His eyes were rock steady. He looked like a man, while his opponent George Groves, who will swap blows with Froch for the second time this Saturday in front of 80,000 rabid boxing fans at Wembley Stadium in London, England, resembled a boy.

The consensus after the fighters' latest made-for-television stare down, broadcast a few days ago, was that the super cool Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) had landed more verbal blows, while the brainy Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) had been left speechless.

Six months ago it was the other way around as Groves clearly irritated the three-time super middleweight champion. His lack of respect had Froch beside himself. The fight turned out to be a donnybrook, as Groves, a heavy underdog going into the bout, floored Froch in the opening stanza. Froch rose and battled, but was clearly behind when referee Howard Foster, probably aware of Groves' reputation for running out of gas, controversially stopped the match in round nine. The ensuing uproar literally forced Froch, who has often said he’ll fight anyone, to take on Groves again.

History seemed to be repeating itself a few months ago at the opening press conference announcing the rematch. Groves angered Froch by playing with (and solving) a Rubik’s cube. Then during a photo shoot at the venue for this Saturday’s fight, Froch wouldn’t look at Groves, instead gazing at the photographers while Groves stood facing him. Froch, wound tighter than a trip wire, suddenly shoved Groves.

Groves said to Froch, ”Can you handle it? Why don’t you be professional, for God’s sake.”

Froch sneered and stared at Groves, who obviously felt that like their first fight, he had managed to get under the skin of the defending champion.

Not quite. Froch, 36, later revealed that he’s seeing a sports psychologist ahead of the rematch. His focus has been on the fight, rather than the antics of his 26 year-old opponent.

"I'm in a much better place," Froch told Mike Dawes of the Daily Mail.

Groves seemed to realize this during their face-to-face meeting, often staring at Froch with a perplexed look on his face. Had the bratty kid run out of tricks? But a day later, the “Dennis the Menace” of boxing had found his missing voice by poking fun at Froch’s use of a shrink.

“Carl has spent a lot time coaching himself not to lose his rag,” Groves told Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail. “That’s taxing. He’s like a father with a petulant kid in the back seat of the car.

“He’s getting help trying to control himself, but it’s not a psychologist he needs. It’s a psychiatrist,” added Groves.

Groves has boldly predicted that he’ll stop Froch in three rounds. Froch told Groves that his own performance in the first fight was the worst of his career. He’s hopeful that Groves will back up his prediction, and go for a knockout.

So what happens on May 31?

Groves certainly proved to Froch and everyone else during their first go-around, that he’s a talented fighter. He has power, speed and is sound technically. His defense is merely adequate.

Froch has a proven toughness. He’s strong and determined. His jab is solid–while his heavy right hand can end matters. His defense is riddled with holes.

It wouldn’t be shocking if Groves is victorious, but the edge here goes to the gritty Froch. Groves is probably a better fighter at this point in their respective careers, but Froch is gutsier. He’ll dig down deep and either stop Groves late, or win by close decision.

John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at:

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