Past world title challengers, Martin Murray and London’s George Groves will clash as chief support to Anthony Joshua’s IBF title defence against Dominic Breazeale at the 02 arena on June 25th.
The fight is heavily seen as a “crossroads” battle to determine who still has a future in the sport and who should hang the gloves firmly on the wall. Groves has admitted that whoever loses will have nowhere to go and that retirement will logically be the only option. It’s a bout that has captured the public’s imagination, even more so than the heavyweight main event! A true 50/50 fight, Groves vs Murray will surely deliver fireworks, whoever wins and loses!
Murray, from St. Helens in Liverpool, has certainly shipped more punishment in his career, having put in brave attempts against the likes of Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin and Arthur Abraham. The hard hitting Golovkin has been the only man to stop Murray, ending the contest in 11 rounds which shows the strength of Murray’s chin. Groves has been halted in two of his three losses, one of which was forced by a controversial decision by referee Howard Foster to stop his first fight with Carl Froch in 9 rounds. The then Nottingham reigning champion put an end to the debate when he produced a spectacular right hand to put Groves firmly on his back in their mega money rematch one round earlier. Groves later lost a unanimous decision to Badou Jack in a WBC title attempt.
Both fighters are on the comeback trail although Groves has shown more evidence of how he is looking at present. Murray knocked out Cedric Spera in 2 rounds last month, a contest that looked more like a warm up for something bigger. As for the Hammersmith fighter, he has racked up two stoppages against Andrea De Luisa and David Brophy, picking up the WBA international super middleweight title in the latter.
In his 9 rounds of boxing since the Jack defeat, Groves looks to have realised that over relying on his power will only bring him limited success, especially against higher calibre names. He seems to be focusing on boxing more, letting the knockout come a little more naturally and is using the jab more effectively. This new approach will perhaps help out his stamina levels, as there has been speculation that he tends to run low on fuel by the midway point, no doubt due to the heavy reliance on huge right hands that he attempted to land on his opponents in the past.
As for Murray, we can only really go by what he has done in the ring before the Spera fight. He has always showed that he can dig deep when he has to. So can Groves, but he has been more vulnerable in those dramatic moments. Murray is comfortable on the front and back foot, although he understandably looked unorganised at times being forced back by the hard hitting Golovkin. But we can perhaps treat the Kazakhstan boxer as an exception considering his current effect on the boxing scene.
Groves has more power and is capable of ending a fight with one punch but he can be outboxed. If his opponent is still there in the second half of the bout then the odds begin to go against him.
George Groves vs Martin Murray is a contest of such quality that it would be capable of selling out if it were to hold as main event. It is a true “pick em” and thoughts about it’s conclusion constantly shift. However, as of right now Murray is going to be the pick. It can be envisioned that Groves will be forced back and will allow Murray to get off his best work while his opponent’s back is against the ropes. Groves may shake up Murray a couple of times but Murray’s chin will hold out and it is expected that he will steal a unanimous points decision.
But don’t bank on it!