Timing vs Speed

Saturday the 17th of February 2018, we have the pleasure of seeing the biggest fight of the year so far. It’s the semi final of the World boxing super series, and features WBA super champion George Groves and IBO World champion Chris Eubank Jr. Both are exciting fighters inside and outside the ring. Their personalities have made for a entertaining press conferences with witty jabs and comments from each side.

This tournament has seen the best of the best fight eachother across the Cruiserweight and Super middleweight division, and now we get a domestic dream clash. Lets hope 2018 can bring about as much entertainment as 2017.

Keys to victories and weaknesses

George Groves has the power, size and big stage experience. He is certainly the bigger puncher and possess a long, stiff and accurate jab. He can exploit the fact that Eubank doesn’t really use his jab and aspires to fight and mid and close range. If Groves keeps Jr on the edge of his jab he’ll night he win the fight easily. The Jab is fundamental in boxing and only freak of natures like Roy Jones can get away without using it, but maybe Eubank Jr falls into that category, we’ll find out. He could also surprise us and actually use his jab, it will be quicker but shorter than Groves jab, if he does attempt to go down that route.

Everyone talks about Jr’s engine and his ability to be relentless for 12 rounds. To be honest, he’s one of the best at calculated pressure in the business, leaving few counter opportunities for his opponents. On the big stage however, his aura of perfection and invincibility that he likes to portray occasionally appears weakened. Against Billy Joe Saunders and Arthur Abraham he showcased a lot of nervous energy. He sometimes looks unsure as to his next move and is keen to clinch while he gathers his faults. In my opinion it’s the lack of a game plan and not studying opponents which may lead to such in ring confusion at times. Other times it can just be the magnitude of the event, if Anthony Joshua struggled to deal with scale of Wembley Stadium fight for the first 6 rounds.

Groves who will actually have a game plan can exploit such vulnerabilities if identified early on, as Eubank is a master at overcoming adversity and learning in the ring. Eubank appears to never have a game plan, his corner is alarmingly quiet between rounds and when it’s not, it’s his father, dressed In eye catching suits giving the instructions and not Ronnje Davis (his trainer).

George Groves has proven in the past to have huge conditioning issues. In previous fights against Carl Froch and Badou Jack, Saint George appeared to run out of steam. Ive noticed that in the later rounds he begins breathing heavily through his mouth, and lacks the urgency of earlier rounds. Eubank is the complete opposite he often throws over 100 punches even in the final few rounds as he did against Chudinov. He could easily pile on this pressure when/if George begins to fade. George Groves has also been through many wars, he’s a young man but his fights may have aged him. Eubank Jr however still looks as sharp at the of 12 rounds as  he did when he was doing 4 rounds.

Eubank may lack the power of Groves but he makes up for it with speed and accuracy. He throws lots of fast combinations and any boxer will tell you that speed is power. Although Eubank doesn’t appear to have one punch KO power, he did stop Yildrim with a big shot to the chin. What makes this fight even more interesting is that Groves proved against Jamie Cox that he can deal with pressure and has excellent timing with his counter shots. If theres one thing that beats speed its timing. The defining question is will Eubank be open enough to get hit with the one big shot George may be in search for?

Tale of the tape

Verdict

I’ve played around  with many variables and outcomes in my head, I have numerous scenarios but there’s one I believe to be most likely and because of that I think Eubank beats George Groves. I feel that his intensity and work rate will be too overwhelming for Groves. He spars with cruiser and heavyweights and takes their punches albeit with 16oz gloves. Billy Joe Saunders has proven that Eubank can be out boxed and with a good jab Groves can achieve that, but Eubank will sooner or later take risks to get inside that jab. Additionally Groves jab doesn’t have the same snap that it previously had, it seemed to be absent in his fight against Cox.