Carl Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) received an early Christmas present from referee Howard Foster Saturday night at a sold-out Phones4u Arena in Manchester, England.
Froch, behind on the scorecards through eight rounds, was declared the winner in round nine over challenger George Groves (19-1, 15 KOs).
The stoppage was horribly premature. Groves was hurt, but was punching back when the referee draped his arms around him and waved off the contest. The pro Froch crowd booed lustily at the stoppage.
Groves dropped Froch with s stunning right hand in round one. This was no flash knockdown. Froch wobbled up, but managed to survive the rest of an explosive first round.
In rounds two and three, Groves continued to beat Froch to the punch. He crouched at the waist and fired salvo’s that Froch couldn’t avoid. The punches left Froch looking sluggish and confused. He was missing with most of his power punches.
Groves, 25, had easily captured the first three rounds. The crowd was still stunned at seeing Froch on the canvas. Groves continued to dominate in rounds four and five. He snapped Froch’s head back with a double jab. His advantage in quickness was obvious. Froch looked to his corner. He went to the body with some effective blows.
Froch, 36, was looking his age. His jab didn’t have it’s usual snap. He was stunned again in round six by two hard right hands. Froch absorbed the punches and fought back. His warrior reputation is well earned. Groves was exploiting the holes in Froch’s defense. He dropped his hands and beckoned Froch. The move was silly, but the crowd roared.
Froch did a little better in rounds seven and eight. Some of his punches were now landing consistently. He was pushing Groves, but eating punch after punch. Froch landed a heavy right hand, but Groves took it well. Froch carried on like a rock ’em sock ‘em robot.
Groves looked a little tired entering round nine. Froch needed to land a huge punch to change the fight. A right to the head appeared to hurt Groves. He backed into the ropes, but was still firing punches. At this point referee Foster made his decision to stop the bout. Froch put up his arm as Groves complained bitterly.
He had every right.
The time was 1:33 of round nine.
“He (Groves) was struggling,” said Froch who retained his WBA and IBF super-middleweight belts. “The referee was watching Groves closely. I respect him as a fighter. We went in there and fought like warriors.”
“He caught me with a good shot,” Groves admitted. “But the fight was stopped prematurely. I have immense respect for Carl Froch.”
It was later revealed that at the time the fight was stopped, the ringside judges “only” had Groves winning the fight by one point.
There's already is talk of a rematch.
Lets hope so.
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