The sport of boxing sometimes produces boxers that the British public love to hate and this is usually because the boxer has tendency to display arrogance and sometimes disrespect towards his opponents.
There are many boxers that fall into this category of being in a love hate relationship with the British public and one such boxer is George Groves.
I recall the two epic boxing battles that Groves had with British world champion Carl Froch. Groves had been on the verge of winning against Froch on both occasions they fought, but on the first the fight was controversially stopped by the referee and then in the rematch he was convincingly knocked out.
However the hate towards Groves by the British public was due to his antics outside the ring and in the build up to the fights against Froch as he was seen to disrespect the more senior and established Froch and then gave him little respect for his previous boxing achievements.
The phrase of “respect is not given, you have to earn it” applied to the Groves fight against Froch because even though Groves entered the ring in that bout as the most hated with a number of boos, he then left the ring to cheers and applause acknowledging his boxing ability and effort against Froch.
Groves has earned his “boxing stripes” and recognition the hard way and on Saturday showed his grit and metal to come back in his first fight after a huge loss and claim the European super-middleweight title against the limited but durable champion Christopher Rebrasse.
Groves returned to Wembley for his fight against Rebrasse that was the scene of his previous defeat and he must have faced his demons in the ring that night as he remembered the time and place where it all went wrong and he was knocked out semi unconscious by Froch.
Groves started the boxing bout against Rebrasse cagily and lacked his normal boxing agility, but soon proved all the doubters wrong as he started to gain confidence and winning the fight.
The Groves boxing display against Rebrasse would have been more convincing had he won the fight via knockout and had he been dominant for the whole duration of the fight but a majority decision was enough to give him my personal seal of approval and confirm to me that the nicknamed “Saint Groves” is back and ready for another shot at the world title.
Groves told Carl Froch after the Rebrasse win that he would like to be given another opportunity to fight him, but Froch has made it clear that he has no plans to fight Groves and believes that the two defeats he inflicted on him proves that he (Froch) is the better fighter and had it been a previous Groves win only then would the third fight have taken place.
I personally support Froch’s decision not to fight Groves and would personally like to see Groves win against a foreign World Champion opponent and bring the world title back to the UK adding to the British list of current world champion fighters.
The most probable next fight for Groves is more than likely going to be against American super-middleweight world champion Anthony Dirrell who is the current holder of the prestigious WBC world champion belt.
In my opinion the fight for Groves against Dirrell will finally cement Groves place amongst the elite world champions as I fully expect Groves to win against Dirrell based on Dirrell’s previous boxing bout against Sakio Bika last month and recent, lack lustre boxing performances.
In regards to Groves popularity then I must confess that previously I was one of them “Groves haters” who was very critical of Groves pre-fight verbal sparring matches against his opponents (especially Carl Froch) but Groves recent boxing courage and ability has converted me to become his supporter and proved that his arrogance can be mistaken for his confidence and self-belief to win.