George Groves: On Reflection
While the announcement that George Groves has retired from boxing was hardly a surprise, but the statement he released on his social media on Monday still came without warning.
Now a few days have passed, I’ve had time to reflect on his career a little more. I have to be honest I was never always a fan. Admiration of his skills absolutely, but the persona Groves had at the time of the Carl Froch fights wasn’t for me.
Personally, I found it not to my taste, immature I remember thinking at the time. My views on Groves admittedly not helped by rooting for Froch in the two fights, those fights without much doubt cemented much of their legacy they both leave behind.
But regardless of my opinion on Groves’s attitude, it was obviously done for a reason, and it most certainly worked, everything for a reason.
Groves quite cleverly got under Froch’s skin and it so nearly cost Froch his titles on that memorable night in Manchester in 2013.
Froch was poor, Groves anything but. Fighting to a level he had never reached before, or probably since, Groves was sensational and came so close to wiping out the incredibly durable Froch inside a round.
Froch survived, and the controversial stoppage got Groves the big rematch at Wembley stadium the following year. Froch made the adjustments inside the ring and mentally and one big right hand left Groves’s hopes in ruins, their business finally finished.
Both made their money but in many ways the two fights made them.
Despite that, the feud never really ended, Groves moved on, Froch I’m not sure has, the bitterness very much remains. When Groves finally won his world title in Sheffield, Froch sportingly stood up and applauded, but his comments this week were unnecessary.
“I won’t miss him and I am not sure that British boxing will miss him, these days at least. There was nothing left out there for him.”
Froch tried to explain his comments, but once something is said, it remains said. The comments took something away from Groves’s moment, Froch had his moment at Wembley, Groves on Monday deserved his.
There were similar comments from Froch about Andre Ward when he announced his retirement from boxing, another old foe of Froch and one that even Froch couldn’t overcome, defeat is hard to accept for some.
But Groves’s career is much more than his two fights with Froch, and you sense that Groves despite losing both fights, is the moral winner.
I’ve come to appreciate Groves far more since those two fights. His sheer determination to keep going for that world title, when many would have given up, is a quality very few have.
The grand scale of the platform of the Froch rematch was never going to be repeated, and that for me makes his later achievements more remarkable, and even more so after the Badou Jack defeat. There is a mental toughness in Groves that is often overlooked. 4th time lucky, luck didn’t come into it.
Groves is only 30 and could have come again, more world title opportunities more or less guaranteed and the riches that would follow. But Groves knows it’s over, the hunger has declined, the body now feeling the effects of a long career, other priorities, it’s the right time to end the ride.
I get the feeling that Groves is content with what he achieved in boxing, regrets yes, but overall, satisfaction with his achievements. A comeback down the road, unlikely in my opinion.
Froch is wrong, boxing will miss Groves.
Photo Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire