Home Columns George Groves must answer these 3 questions this weekend

George Groves must answer these 3 questions this weekend

Credit: Philip Sharkey

This weekend George Groves (19-2, 15 KOs) returns to the ring following his May defeat to Carl Froch, taking on Christopher Rebrasse (22-2-3, 6 KOs). After losing the biggest fight of his career thus far it will be intriguing to see how Groves looks.

This fight should give us an indication as to whether or not Groves has recovered, or even can recover, from two big defeats to a domestic rival. Here are the top 3 questions Groves must answer this weekend.

Is his confidence still there?

Defeat to Froch is no disgrace, after all ‘The Cobra’ is one of the best super middleweights in the division’s short history, but the nature of the losses will have proven humbling for Groves.

The first defeat took the shine off his previously unbeaten record and although there were justifiable doubts as to the nature of that stoppage, a powerful conclusion was reached in his rematch with Froch. In a fight he was perhaps losing, but not by much, Groves felt the full force of Froch, who pitched a straight right hand through the younger man’s penetrable guard. Groves’s head twisted, his face contorted, and the sight of him slumped on the canvas was a defiant reminder of Froch’s class.

This all occurred following months of trash talking on Groves’ part as he attempted to get under Froch’s skin, talk that included the insistence that he would stop Froch and denial of his defeat in their first encounter. Groves will now have to rebuild mentally and regain belief in himself after a harrowing, career-changing loss.

Is he still motivated?

When a young fighter comes so close to reaching great heights, only to have it taken away in brutal fashion, it can define a career. Countless other fighters have struggled and failed to recover from losses such as Groves’s to Froch, in part because of a lack of motivation.

Groves has now tasted the big time, having participated in two big fights, including a genuine domestic super-fight. Every fight after the Froch rematch will struggle to match the intensity of media scrutiny, fan involvement and rivalry that all came with the Froch-Groves saga.

Groves was no doubt motivated for the rematch with Froch, fired up with the belief that he should have won the first time around, but given the emphatic nature of the second defeat, could he possibly be so enthused by his prospects as he was immediately before that rematch? It could be awhile before Groves finds himself back in with the best fighters in his weight class and until then he must remain focused on his career goals, whatever they may now resemble.

Has he moved on from Carl Froch?

Having been beaten twice, both inside the distance by an older man from the same country, Groves has had to face the full extent of his broken dreams. It is a harsh realization. Groves must have assumed that by now he would have taken Froch’s mantle of Britain’s best at super middleweight, but he instead finds himself having to restart his career.

Groves has mentioned a third fight with Froch down the line, although such thoughts must involve a large quantity of wishful thinking. Froch himself has said he intends on having one more fight before retiring, and the opponent for that fight is highly unlikely to be Groves.

The time has come for Groves to let the Froch ship sail off into the distance. Doing so could prove cathartic for him, releasing himself from a rivalry that he may not have gained fistic success in, but in which he nonetheless played a huge part.

As difficult as it may seem to envision now, there are big fights out there for Groves down the line that don’t involve Froch. He has unfinished business with James DeGale and the emergence of Callum Smith means Groves doesn’t lack for potential domestic rivalries. That doesn’t even account for the talent abroad, but Groves can only engage himself in these once he has moved on from his defeats to Carl Froch.