George Groves against Chris Eubank Jr would always be a huge fight, but add to that Groves’ world title along with the chance to progress to World Boxing Super Series final and we have got an epic on our hands.
The undercard features two British title dust-ups, Tommy Langford against Jack Arnfield and Ryan Walsh versus Isaac Lowe, and Stateside a few big names are coming out to play.
What a weekend of boxing!
The wisdom radiating from the boxing fraternity is that Groves will dominate the early going, Eubank will control the later rounds and there will be drama all the way. I’m not going to argue with that and Paddy has installed Junior as an 8/13 favourite to win his first certified world championship and reach the final of the World Boxing Super Series.
Groves’ issue is that he gasses. In 2013 Carl Froch famously worked him over after a fast start from the Londoner and six months later in the rematch the ‘Cobra’ starched the ‘Saint’ in round 8. In 27 victories, Groves has never scored a KO win after round 7.
Eubank is known for his conditioning and his blitz attacks, however the Brighton boxer is not a nuclear puncher. Yes, he bombed out the tough-looking Avni Yildirim in three rounds in his last bout, but he couldn’t KO old-man Arthur Abraham and the ref stopped the fights with Renold Quinlan and Nick Blackwell with both men still standing.
Groves actually has the edge in power, but Eubank has been toughened up in the Mayweather gym and in spars with Froch, James DeGale and Groves himself. If the KO comes it will be Junior making his pressure pay late on. Eubank is a strong 5/1 to win in rounds 9-12.
The doubt in my mind is if Eubank, who has no problem making middleweight, can impose himself against a naturally bigger man. I don’t believe Groves has been at his absolute physical peak since the Froch fights, however he should be at his very best in this one.
5/4 for the contest to reach the final bell is a very solid bet, but the big value is Groves on points. Eubank lost on the judges’ cards to Billy Joe Saunders in 2014 and he throws a lot of punches that miss, and he has picked up an awful habit of posing mid-round from somewhere.
The champ has to avoid brawling, be economical with his energy and run or hug if he gets tagged, but after five title fights he has the experience to do it.
Bet of the bout: Groves to win on points 5/1.
Who have you got? ?
— World Boxing Super Series (@WBSuperSeries) February 12, 2018
While Groves and Eubank have the speed, power and aggression to produce a fight that will be on a knife-edge for every second, the British middleweight title contest between Langford and Arnfield will be more like watching the bumper cars at the fairground. The pair possess a combined record of 12 KO wins from 47 fights.
It’s not that they are bad – Langford can throw a classy array of shots and Arnfield has a crisp jab – but it’s that they can’t bang. Put your money on the 3/10 for this one to go the distance and settle yourself into a comfy seat.
Also odds-on to the go the full 12 rounds, but more likely to involve a fist full of action is the contest between Walsh and Lowe for the British featherweight crown. If this one does reach the final bell it will be a toss-up but I reckon it could have an early finale.
Walsh can be out-boxed, especially by rangier fighters, but he’s never dropped a result against an opponent who wants to mix it. The Norfolk man’s last three wins have been by stoppage and you can back Walsh at 13/5 to notch up another KO in this one.
The biggest thing in boxing in the US this weekend is the non-title fight between Danny Garcia and Brandon Rios. Those are two names you could get excited about, but at welterweight Rios is fighting two divisions above where he was dangerous.
Garcia is using this fight to make a bit of money while he waits for a title shot and Rios is using this fight to make a bit of money before he retires. Get some dollar on Danny ‘Swift’ knocking out ‘Bam Bam’ Rios.
Devon Alexander versus Victor Ortiz is a fight that would have been huge five years ago but now is more associated with the thought, ‘I wondered what happened to those guys’.
Alexander ‘The Great’ seems to have resolved his life issues, but ‘Vicious’ Victor is washed up and should stick to acting. My money is on Alexander by KO.