George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr will soon end any argument about the outcome, but our panel of experts have tried to pick a winner from Saturday’s big domestic fight.
The British super-middleweight rivals have split opinion ahead of their World Super Series semi-final, with some experts swaying towards the size and big-fight experience of Groves, while others favour the relentless work-rate and aggression of Eubank Jr.
Chris Eubank Jr weighed in slightly heavier than George Groves ahead of their World Boxing Super Series semi-final.
Proud reputations will be enhanced or tarnished when the first bell rings and who will advance to the final of the eight-man tournament?
A former opponent, a potential foe, the son of a rival, and a crop of Sky Sports experts have made their predictions…
I’m going for George Groves. I think this is George’s fight to lose. If he sticks to his gameplan, which is to box him, keep him long, not get involved in a tear-up, control the pace, then I expect him to win. He has that experience and the size.
The problem is, the times George has lost, he’s deviated from the plan. The red mist comes down and he gets involved in a tear-up. I know these two guys have sparred before, but sparring and boxing are two different things. If he tries to chase the pace of Eubank Jr, he will tire out and gas out.
If he tries to stand there and have an argument with Eubank Jr, he will get drawn into a fight, which he shouldn’t be doing. He just needs to stick to his gameplan, be very cool, contain his emotions and I expect Groves to pull it off on points for a clear victory.
I think it’s whoever gets their tactics right. If Groves stays at distance, uses his skill, uses his ability and doesn’t tire as much, then I think he wins it on points, maybe even hurts him. He is heavy-handed.
If he does tire, I think Eubank takes over and it becomes an up-close fight, and then there is only one winner.
It really is a hard one to pick a winner. Probably I would lean towards Groves. I wouldn’t like to put my life on it, to be honest with you, but I do lean towards Groves winning a lot of the early rounds, having some bad moments late in the fight. But I think Groves can hang on and win it on points.
Adam Smith and Johnny Nelson are joined by Darren Barker as they look ahead to Groves vs Eubank
One of my concerns was how much does George have left after winning the title following so many attempts? But I do think Eubank Jr is the best opponent to keep that desire and that hunger going, because he won’t want to lose to a flash, young, arrogant fighter.
He will have the bit between his teeth and I think we will see him turning back the clock a little bit, and really roll back the years. I saw a clip of him on the pads at the media workout and he just looked frightening. I think to myself ‘how much have I been impressed by Eubank?’ I’ve been more impressed by what I’ve seen of him on the pads and the bag, not necessarily so much in the ring.
I think we possibly could see one of them on the floor. People talk about how good Eubank Jr’s chin is, but who has he been hit by? I sparred with Carl Froch and I managed to stay on my feet but Groves put him down. I fancy Groves on points, but there may be some difficult times near the end, because Eubank Jr has an engine on him.
One thing we know is, this is going to be a great fight and I don’t think anyone will argue with anything that’s been said.
Eubank Jr is unbelievably fit, his energy is brilliant and it’s hard to see him getting knocked out, but we did see him get hurt by Spike O’Sullivan. But the level of Groves’ opponents and his size, I think we might see it this time.
I am going towards Groves, but it will have to be a knockout inside the first six rounds. If it goes past that, I can only see Eubank Jr on points.
Groves is the better boxer, but Eubank Jr the better fighter. Eubank Jr is not a massive puncher and he is up at super-middleweight but it’s his tenacity and the ferocity he brings with him. I just think he’s too young, too fresh, too fit and the timing of the fight just suits him.
Groves could easily have the upper hand early on because he has the size and experience. His ring generalship should see him keep Eubank Jr under control. But he’s had a lot of tough fights and has plenty of miles on the clock, and eventually the intensity and the pace of the fight will catch up with him.
Eubank Jr on points is the safe option, but I don’t think I am not the only one who wouldn’t be surprised to see Groves ahead – and quite comfortably ahead – going into the second half, so I think he might actually need that stoppage. I am going for Eubank Jr to do it late, in the last three rounds.
Groves is the bigger puncher and he has proved that at this level. He is the only one that has a chance of winning early. If Eubank Jr is going to win it will be late, even on points. It has to be on work-rate, ambition and will-to-win.
His game plan has to be getting through the first rounds relatively unscathed and start to push the pace past the sixth or seventh, because we have seen Groves’ vulnerability. But I can see Groves completely out-boxing him and putting on a masterclass and not being scared as such, concerned or respectful to the power he’s in with, that he can’t use his best strengths.
Early doors Groves will land a couple of clean right hands and there is a little reaction, but not enough for him to think he can get Eubank Jr out of there. Then he will keep looking for the shot and I can see Eubank Jr peg his way back into it, because of his work-rate and Groves tires from around the eighth onwards. But I can see Groves just hanging on and winning on points, in a close fight.
I don’t really believe the hype about Chris Eubank Jr. He’s good on the inside, has very fast hands in there, but those little clips and montages show us that he is really just a fighter that stands there.
George Groves is by far the better boxer of the two. He has the height and reach advantage, he has the power, and it’s an absolute disgrace that George Groves is being called chinny. He got knocked out by a punch that would’ve knocked a horse out.
If he lets him get up close and has a trade-off with Chris Eubank Jr, the youth and inside work will prevail, but I just don’t think Groves is that stupid. He will box him, keeping on the end of the jab, and then impose his size and stature on him. A good big man always beats a good little man and we know Eubank’s style and how to beat him. Groves on points in a thriller.
I’ve just had a feeling, as soon as this fight came about, that Eubank Jr will win this. Obviously I know all about the Groves who [former trainer] Adam Booth had. He had a heavy, fast jab, good legs and was very active. I just feel these days he hasn’t got the legs to beat Eubank.
To win this fight Groves needs all those attributes to be at their best, but he’s had a lot of tough, tough fights throughout his career and the last couple of years, it has all just looked hard for him. Does the fact that he has finally won that world title mean he really needs it, as much as Eubank Jr who will be desperate.
Eubank Jr might not have the one-punch power, but he is a very fast puncher and a lot of people lessen the value of speed in exchanges. The one thing he can’t do is try and take on Groves’ jab. He needs to go for the body and if he does, we will see Groves getting ragged, the shots become a bit wild and the legs heavy. If he stays compact, his relentlessness, his youth, and his mental state will come on down the stretch and actually I see Eubank Jr stopping a tired Groves late on.
Chris Eubank Jr helped Carl Froch sharpen his skills in sparring sessions before his rematch with George Groves.
No, I am not changing my mind and I am still sticking with Eubank Jr winning, but the more I look at this, the more I hear Eubank Jr talk, the more I see him on the pads, in those sharp but short spurts, there is a very real chance Groves could prove me wrong.
He could just box him on the end of that jab, catch him with that right when he tries to roll him. If he can stay conservative and cute with his punch economy and leaving Eubank Jr wanting, he could easily nick it.
The big question will be on whether or not Eubank Jr can handle Groves shots – especially that right – but I have a feeling he will. I can’t see Groves putting him down.
If I had a spare £100m I would stick it on Eubank Jr, to win… only win. It could be points, it could be a late stoppage and I am even expecting him to lose the early rounds, but he will be wearing Groves down.
You can follow Groves vs Eubank Jr, from Manchester Arena, via our live and interactive blog, from 9.30pm, Saturday, at skysports.com/boxingand via the Sky Sports App.