Saint George Groves - an analysis
For those of you who follow boxing, you will have heard that George Groves beat Chris Eubank in the World Boxing Super Series: Super-Middleweight semi-final.
Why is this relevant to our conversation??
Well whilst we focus on the success of Groves now, few people will speak or know about his journey.
Groves has had a rollercoaster of a career so far. After he beating whom many might call his nemesis James DeGale in a grudge match which had bad blood dating back to their time as amateurs. This put him on the map as a young prospect who was going places. It was easy to buy into him, humble guy who just wanted to get on with boxing and work his way to the top.
Have a look at this clip from the build up to their first professional fight...
The next scalp he was going to take was that of Carl Froch, a seasoned vet. This time he wasn’t going to be as humble as he was with the DeGale fight. I mean he had beaten other fighters in the lead-up but none who had the status or acclaim as Froch. This time humility wasn’t part of the plan… On the night of the 23rd of Nov 2013, Groves lost after a valiant performance, with many saying he could have easily won the fight under different circumstances. A rematch was on the cards and again he didn’t hold back, goading Froch and being brasher than before.
This was his chance to prove that his loss was nothing but a fluke. Unfortunately, he got KO’d and lost to Froch again, who decided to retire and hang up his gloves. This left George in a dark place…
Now at this point, many wrote Groves off. Thinking that he wouldn’t be able to bounce back from this defeat. It seemed like his spark had gone and elsewhere DeGale was out in the States having rebuilt his career and becoming a World Champion.
After a few wins in the UK & a split decision loss to Badou Jack out in the States, Groves was slowly working his way back into the focus of the Boxing fans. But he hadn’t faced anyone who would put him back in the limelight.
This is where Eubank Jr steps into the frame; the young bull following in his father’s footsteps. Humility not being on the cards, Eubank and his father let it be known they were taking no prisoners in their quest for greatness. Groves was just a temporary obstacle.
This fight was "make or break" for both. For Groves, he loses this and he’s out of the limelight with a mountain to climb. He wins, he’s back in the running as one of the best Super Middleweights in the world.
Eubank Jr, on the other hand, this was his kingmaker fight; his opportunity to take the scalp of one of the most respected names in the division. He loses, he has to take a big bite of humble pie & swallow up all the talking he has done in the leadup to the fight.
The fight was easy to call, a composed Groves displayed that he was “on his grown man sh!t” and he beat Eubank Jr by Unanimous Decision. Many will put this victory down to hard work, but I think the loss to Froch played a huge part in this victory.
Let’s break it down…
1. Humble pie
Groves was the hot boy for a bit. He had the bounce to his step and after nearly beating Froch in the first fight, he must have thought like he was on top of the world. The second, more convincing loss would have definitely humbled him and given his confidence a huge dent.
Having two fights with a world-class fighter like Froch would have given a bucket load of experience to Groves. Froch still can’t go an interview without mentioning how he knocked out Groves in front of 80,000 people at Wembley. This shows the magnitude of the occasion and Groves would have known this going into the Eubank Jr fight, no need to get too excited or bite on the taunting from Eubank Jr. Remain calm under the lights and get the job done. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters, getting that Win.
Before his first professional fight with DeGale, Groves was the underdog. After the beating him, had the world has his feet; a feeling money can’t buy. Loosing to Froch would have taken him back to square one mentally. Even though he had developed as a fighter, his aim was to get back on top. The fear of starting from scratch gives you that extra push you need to work through the pain of camp. Those early morning jogs and extra rounds of sparring would have been a breeze.
Moral of the story; failure whilst horrible, painful and bitter - isn’t the end of the journey. As long as you are able to learn from it (get through the tunnel), some sick stuff can happen.
If this fight has shown us anything about Groves, it’s that he deals with failure well and that is something that only leads to success. He has shown us that he has the resilience and mindset to persevere through the hard times and this is what should be celebrated more than any belt; character.
As for Eubank Jr, let’s see how he deals with the tunnel of failure...