Home Boxing News George Groves versus James De Gale

George Groves versus James De Gale

George Groves versus James De Gale

The fight we’ve all been waiting for has come sooner than we thought.

When the fight between James De Gale and George Groves was first announced I wasn’t aware that it was the fight I’d been waiting for. Now I am convinced that it is just that. In a year that we’ve been convinced, against our better judgement, that Haye versus Harrison was the fight to fill that Klitschko-sized hole in our appetites it is understandable that weatherworn fight fans are now skeptical of being told of the immense importance of an upcoming bout.

What we usually find with fighters on the way up, backed by promoters with pound-signs for eyeballs, is that these battles are talked about for years until one of the combatants suffers a loss and is forced to take part in the long awaited match. But these two could avoid each other for years on their way to racking up healthy records against modest opposition until, with 20+ wins apiece, the Big One arrives and ends up being a dud due to one fighter on the slide. But this match-up is happening at just the right time. Whether it is coming at the right time for Groves or De Gale however is debatable.

Their purses will be considerable for boxers with only 22 fights between them. De Gale is set to receive at least £240,000 for his part in this event with plenty more flooding in through sponsorship for both as a result. Win or lose it is hard to envision either of their careers being affected to deeply. If this fight makes it to the 6th round both will have poured out so much heart and desire and created so much public excitement that for both winner and loser the next step in their careers will be both profitable and intriguing.

Their choice of sparring partners has been a strange choice however. Whilst George has been taking on Andre Dirrell, De Gale has been in against Nathan Cleverly. I’m not sure whether Groves’ style is best tackled by practicing against a fighter like Cleverly and when was the last time you sat through an Andre Dirrell fight and were reminded of De Gale? Dirrell flits (some would say ‘runs’) around the ring whereas James, although a great mover, likes to trade and rarely takes backward steps. I think the use of these two sparring partners is more to do with bragging rights rather than a way to adapt to their next opponents style.

For what seemed like such an easy fight to call just a short time ago a prediction on its outcome is now harder to make as fight night approaches.

I have been massively impressed by the way Groves has handled himself in the face of the never ending stream of childish taunts leveled at him by De Gale. Not once have I seen George bothered by any of De Gale’s (Prince) Naseem-Lite ‘ugly-boy’ comments. Maybe as saturday night approaches De Gale now realizes his comments have had more affect on himself rather than their intended target. All of the bitching, name-calling and fruitless ranting thrown in Groves’ have only served to put pressure on De Gale’s performance. Anything other than a convincing win by De Gale will serve only to detract from his ability to ruffle a future opponent. James now realizes he MUST back up his words and his attitude in the last week seems to suggest he may be feeling the pressure.

PREDICTION

I see Groves’ scare against the tough Kenny Anderson and De Gale’s comprehensive win against Paul Smith being slightly deceptive when predicting the outcome of this contest.

Anderson came to fight (and FIGHT he did!) whereas De Gale’s defining night against Smith saw him fighting a man who didn’t seem like the fighter he usually was. It was as if Paul didn’t turn up that night and doubted his own ability against the reputed Next Big Thing. Maybe it was more a case of James not allowing Smith to fight his fight but I’m not so sure.

Groves has now faced adversity (overcoming it ruthlessly and impressively) and has surely learnt how to adapt should that situation arise again. But De Gale will find himself at a loss if something similar to what Groves went through should befall him on saturday.

But James De Gale IS an amazing fighter with breathtaking speed and skills. While I think Groves is the bigger natural puncher De Gale’s combinations have the same effect as the lead in George’s shots.

My feeling is that, talk aside, James has no intention of knocking George out in 4 rounds. His plan will be to risk the audiences disapproval by boxing a smart fight on the outside, occasionally coming in for swift attacks and then back out before Groves has a chance of landing on his way to a lopsided points win. And he may leave the arena in the same way he left his debut fight, with the crowd booing his exit.

But, as with Naseem Hamed, despite the boos his stock will soar because everyone will pay to see a big mouth shut.

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