So I'm putting it out there right at the start of this post.
Barring a show of dumb machismo, George Groves should win his rematch with Carl Froch handily at Wembley tonight in front of a record crowd in excess of 80,000 fans.
This is a huge fight, no matter what Andre Ward says. The hype has been such in the UK that Sky Sports has been running nightly Froch-Groves based programming in primetime. We have the usual 24/7 knock offs, but also the more bizarre contributions such as a half hour long interview with tennis player Andy Murray giving his analysis on the fight.
It's an easier fight to analyse than most, as we have their first match fresh in the memory. What follows should take on a very similar pattern as quite simply put, Groves is superior to Froch, in almost all physical departments.
George Groves has vastly superior footwork and footspeed to Carl Froch. This will not have changed.
George Groves has better hand speed to Carl Froch. This will not have changed
George Groves has better one punch power than Carl Froch. This will not have changed.
George Groves is the underdog coming into this fight. This, for reasons unbeknownst to myself, has not changed.
Think about that. Of all those advantages that Groves has, he is still an underdog.
Sure, Froch has a vastly superior chin
Most would say Froch has superior stamina, while I would probably say that area was a wash. Froch starts slow and saves more for late, whereas in the last fight Groves managed to punch himself out with some silly warring in the middle rounds.
The idea is that Froch turned up to the first fight underprepared and overconfident.
Froch didn't struggle to make weight, he didn't looked drained at the weigh in, his punch output was not noticeably stunted. He was prepared.
Froch was probably overconfident in the first fight. But will a humbler Carl Froch have faster hands?
Will a humbler Carl Froch have better head movement?
Will a humbler Carl Froch still carry his left hand low and leave himself square on after missing with lunging punches?
You get the picture.
Now, of course it's not impossible that Froch can win this fight. There's a reason he is fancied, but he can only be fancied to repeat the feat of the first fight. Namely, start slow, get thoroughly dominated by a younger man, pace himself as Groves tires, before coming on strong in the latter half of the fight, hoping to draw a tiring opponent into a slugfest.
It could happen, but only if George Groves' boxing IQ is wallowing at Forrest Gump levels.
If I were to compare it to another rematch, I'd look at the Rios-Alvarado rubber match, where mile high Mike abandoned the all out slug fest that got him deservedly stopped in the first bout, and stayed on the outside, using his length to win a clear decision win over the more limited Rios.
Alvarado realised that he could hold his own in a phone booth brawl with Brandon Rios, but in all likelihood, he wouldn't win and wouldn't give himself the best chances of getting a vengeful W on his record.
Groves must be smart enough to see that he wins easily by refusing to fight like a rock 'em sock 'em robot.
On Behind The Ropes, the above clip showed Froch sparring with talented but inexperienced Chris Eubank Jr, and after holding his own early on with Eubank, Froch is caught flush several times. His trainer, Robert McCracken coaching from the sidelines, points out the same mistakes that ended up with him on the canvas in Round 1 of the first Groves fight. He throws stupidly long right hands and leaves himself square with both hands at his waist. When backing up he drops his hands, and gets tagged repeatedly, absolutely flush by Eubank.
Now I know it's sparring, but these are mistakes made before, and mistakes that will me made again tonight. Groves may be talking about a left hook to finish the fight, but it will be the same right hand that will floor Froch tonight.
The only way this fight is close, at all, is through Groves abandoning a simple 'hit and don't get hit' strategy, and once more getting into a slugging match with Froch after beating him around the ring for 6 or so rounds.
If you're a Froch fan and insist on backing Carl, then I would recommend betting in-play on this fight unless you really think it will last 1 or 2 rounds. You will get very nice looking odds on Froch by KO mid way through this fight when he is being dominated again in the same vein as the first fight.
But if you're like me, and see no reason for Froch to change the habits of a lifetime, don't be greedy on this one. The 13/10 odds on Groves currently represent tremendous value for a fighter who is a clear favourite when you remove emotion and simplistic 'Froch always gets the job done' arguments from the reckoning.
Carl Froch can only win this fight with a stoppage, if Groves stupidly chooses to get into another firefight. It's not impossible. He did it against Kenny Anderson, and he did it against Carl Froch last time out. But with the memory of that stoppage so fresh in the mind, I think Groves will avoid reverting to type, and deliver a consummate boxing performance with strategic involvement.
Don't be surprised if there are accusations of 'running' after the fight, which is always how sluggers try to belittle movers.
If Carl Froch manages to win on points against George Groves, I will eat my hat, my shoe, both my socks, my overcoat and my vest.