• Super-middleweight

Groves refused to 'sell soul' for Froch rematch

ESPN staff
January 27, 2014
Groves: Froch doesn't want to fight me

George Groves believes his decision to turn down a seven-figure offer from Carl Froch has been vindicated by the IBF's call for a mandatory rematch.

The IBF ruled on Friday that the inappropriate conduct of referee Howard Foster contributed to Groves' defeat in November and ordered Froch to schedule a rematch within 90 days or vacate his belt.

Speaking to ESPN's Steve Bunce, Groves revealed that the details of the rejected deal - tabled the day before the IBF hearing - went far beyond a straightforward payday for a single fight.

"I was pretty confident of the result [of the hearing] - I think Matchroom were a bit nervous of it," Groves said. "The offer, in my opinion, was unsatisfactory - it wasn't fair or a reflection of the value I bring to the table.

Running scared

Nobody wants a piece of Gennady Golovkin © Getty Images
  • Gennady Golovkin goes into his 11th WBA title defence on Saturday as one of the most feared men in boxing - but that does not mean he is necessarily destined for a mega fight, writes ESPN's Steve Bunce.
  • Click here to read the full column

"It wasn't a one-fight deal - it was for multiple fights where I'd be obliged to fight people or have rematch clauses that I wasn't confident with.

"The fact I turned down a seven-figure offer, there's more to it. It's not black or white as Carl Froch is trying to indicate. I knew that the IBF would force the situation in that I get to box for a world title regardless of whether Carl Froch decides to vacate or not.

"Fighting for a world title was my main priority. I didn't want to surrender my soul for it, and I now have the option of deciding from multiple promoters."

Groves had dominated most of his first world title fight before Foster waved the bout off with Froch finally landing a flurry of telling punches in the ninth round, but the challenger insisted afterwards that the fight had been stopped too soon, an opinion shared by the IBF board.

"Right now we are where we were on Friday," Groves continued. "The IBF feel the fairest thing is to give me an immediate rematch, giving Carl Froch no option but to fight me.

"No one's made the fight, there's been no private deals yet. There is time for that to happen until February 8, then it goes out for purses."

While Groves is itching for another world title shot and the chance to avenge the first professional defeat of his career, he is not yet convinced that the rematch will happen as Froch is rumoured to be pushing for a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

"If you look at what Carl would be thinking, I think he'll be thinking 'I don't want this fight. I'll take any fight but not this one. The fight will hurt and humiliate me, I can't be that lucky again.'

"Will his pride be enough to keep him in contention? I'm not sure. He's actively aggravating fans by diminish my performance, and also - the biggest sidestep - trying to fight Chavez.

"We all know that it isn't a wise move," Groves added. "With Carl it comes down to money."

In spite of that, Groves is confident a deal can be done.

"There's a lot brewing behind the scenes. My feeling is that this fight can, should and most likely will happen because Carl Froch has no other option. I look forward to getting in there and doing a number on him."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close