George Groves v Chris Eubank Jr has all the ingredients do some serious numbers on ITV Box Office.
You’ve got two fighters with huge profiles, in a domestic dust up, in a ‘pick’em’ fight – with a world title on the line.
To the victor goes the spoils, as well as another huge PPV purse against Callum Smith in the summer. That’s if the Liverpudlian gets past Juergen Braehmer, which of course he will, barring a robbery of Millennium Dome magnitude in Nuremberg.
As mouthwatering as this match up is, and as healthy as the boxing scene seems to be in Britain right now, it feels as though fans are entering a new era. An era which expects us to stump up for around six or seven pay-per-view fights a year.
Long gone are the days when only the international superfights warranted that additional surcharge. The likes of Hagler v Hearns, Mayweather v Pacquaiao and Bellew v Cleverly II
But I’ll gladly part with £16.95 to watch this intriguing encounter. With Groves and Junior you’ve two fighters who can hardly be accused of lacking self-belief.
Both men are completely convinced they will have their arm raised on Saturday night with Eubank installed as a marginal favourite with the bookies
Groves is a promoter’s dream, rarely in a dull fight he possesses the firepower to end a fight with a single punch and yet the perception lingers that he has an air of vulnerability around his whiskers.
There have long been question marks over the Londoner’s stamina and given his opponent is one of the fittest fighters on the circuit many believe Eubank’s relentlessness will see him take over in the second half of the fight.
Eubank’s chin, although untested at top level, looks like it’s been carved from the same block of granite as his father. If he can’t be stopped will he keep coming until he eventually swarms all over his opponent?
Groves, on the other hand, has fought at a higher level and at a heavier weight. He unquestionably carries the meatier dig of the two men.
You can see why this fight has split opinion down the middle.
Eubank Senior has added fuel to the fire with some ill-advised comments regarding the referee needing to protect his son’s opponents. It was inevitable that Senior would command centre stage at some point. Up until now his presence has been restricted to posturing and preening at press conferences.
His instinct to polarise public opinion continues as does his long standing quest to integrate himself into the landed gentry. It is a mission matched only by his new-found desire to be known as ‘English,’ a nickname nobody addresses him by.
Given that Frank Warren constantly referred to him in the plural (Eubanks) it’s difficult to see his preferred new moniker gathering any traction.
For me, the key factor as to who wins this fight has been largely overlooked.
Groves is by far the better boxer, and in a boxing match this has to be considered a significant advantage. The Hammersmith man picked up two ABA titles in a distinguished amateur career, winning 66 of his 76 amateur fights.
In the pro ranks he boxed brilliantly – and with unwavering discipline – when outpointing James DeGale for the Commonwealth and British super-middleweight titles back in 2011. That’s James DeGale the Olympic gold medalist.
Chris Eubank Jr will come to realise, no matter how fast, how furiously or how frequently he hits static objects in the gym, landing a glove on Groves won’t be anywhere near as easy – and a whole lot more painful.
The first time Junior ran into a slick boxer, Billy Jo Saunders had the fight in the bag by the half-way point. Mind, to call BJS a slick boxer is to do him a major disservice. The WBO middleweight champion practically has a PHD in pugilism in comparison to Eubank – and it showed on the night. It’s a skill set that was earned and learned the hard way, fighting all round the world against the cream of the crop.
Groves has shown some vulnerability in the past, but the plain fact is he’s only been beaten by two men -and knocked out by one. Both Carl Froch and Badou Jack are bigger men and better boxers than Chris Eubank Jr. The former is a multiple world champion, the latter a current two-weight kingpin.
There’s nothing in Eubank Jr’s resume to suggest he hits anywhere near as hard as those two guys. The Avni Yildrim stoppage was impressive, and has been replayed ad infinitum, largely because it’s the only piece of footage the WBS actually owns, and partly because it’s a rare one-punch put away from the Brighton brawler.
Yildrim is no George Groves. If the Londoner sticks to the plan, moves his feet, pumps out that spearing jab, capitalises on all the natural advantages he has in reach and size, then he wins comfortably.
An increasingly frustrated Eubank could even get caught walking on to a big right hand, the same one that scrambled the senses of Carl Froch in their first fight.
The logical call is Groves on points, by a handy margin but don’t rule out a KO.
On the spreads a buy of Groves at 17.5, with our preferred spread betting partner Spreadex is advised, The market makes up at 50 if Groves wins by KO, TKO or disqualification, 25 if he wins on points and 0 if he loses.
Only bet what you can afford.