- Steve Bunce
Groves is back with a world title in his sightsSteve Bunce August 12, 2014
It was an unforgettable night at Wembley for George Groves, Carl Froch and about 80,000 fans back in May.
Groves had forced their rematch, a fact that is too often forgotten, and in round eight he was dropped, counted out and stopped. It was a brutal end to a massive night.
"I have sat down and studied it," admitted Groves. "I have looked for mistakes and seen how I opened up my shoulder and let him do what he did. I have watched it, I had to watch it."
Groves took less than a week off after Froch ended their rematch in front of a wild and frenzied crowd on May 31. He found some private time in the aftermath, sought some comfort and then returned ready to win a world title.
"There are no excuses for how it ended," added Groves. "It is what happens in boxing - I made a mistake, he saw it and that was all it took. It's not easy to watch but I have watched it. It was my fault."
It was a tense fight, a fight of subtlety that was a distant cry from the ugly build-up and at the point of contact, the moment Froch's right hand landed, it was poised. Froch made a bold claim for superiority at the time of the knockout and Groves, understandably, has a different view.
"At the time it ended I was doing what I liked,' claimed Groves. "The plan was always to push on later in the fight and put the pressure on him. I made a mistake and that was it."
Groves will be back in the Wembley ring, this time indoors, on September 20 in a fight that could lead directly to a third world title fight. The WBC, a sanctioning body with an eternal eye on fighters that generate interest and money, are keen to let Groves, assuming he wins, fight the winner of Saturday's world title fight between Sakio Bika and Anthony Dirrell.
"My last fight captured the public's imagination and people know that," insisted Groves. "I'm taking the quick route back and not the easy route back to a world title. My next fight is an eliminator and I will fight the winner of Bika and Dirrell."
Chasing the winner of Bika and Dirrell is a bold move by Groves, a typically bold move in many ways by a fighter that has never been afraid of taking a risk; last December Dirrell let an early lead fade away as Bika, who lost a world title fight to Joe Calzaghe back in the 19th Century, clawed back the deficit to retain his WBC belt on a split draw - that means the three judges went Bika, Dirrell and the third one scored it even.
"I'm in it for big fights and that means stepping up and not avoiding hard fights," added Groves, who is still only 26. "I keep hearing (James) DeGale's name as a future opponent and also that he is meant to be getting a world title fight and that would be a fight for the future - he still talks about our first fight all the time."
And then there is Froch, the man that beat Groves once in controversy and then beat him again with such shocking finality at Wembley. Groves has not ruled out a third fight and there is a never-say-never rule in boxing that should always be respected.
"There could be (Paul) Smith as world champion, DeGale as world champion and even Froch if he is still about - I'd like another crack at him," confirmed Groves.
Froch, by the way, is holding out for a Las Vegas fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in late January, which would be possible if Chavez and his promoter, Top Rank, could agree a future deal. If the Chavez fight collapses in expected and predictable acrimony then Froch could possibly walk away from the business; an alternative for Froch is a DeGale fight but the Nottingham man has even less time and respect for DeGale than he had for Groves.
"I will get the September fight over and then see what the options are," added Groves. "The super-middleweight division is fantastic at the moment and I know that I will soon be world champion." It will be fun watching him try, that is for sure.