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Groves makes fools of us all

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Ben Dirs | 16:51 UK time, Sunday, 22 May 2011

It is difficult to think of a sport with the capacity to make people look as foolish as boxing. And not just the participants. At Saturday's post-fight news conference at the O2 Arena, some of the journalists looked as sheepish as James DeGale.

Intelligence is not a trait always associated with the fight game, which is not surprising: even by boxing's standards, the hot air exhaled by DeGale before his shock defeat to George Groves was enough to singe the hairs of your nostrils.

But Groves demonstrated intelligence in spades to upset the odds and wrest the British super-middleweight crown from his arch rival, who he also beat as an amateur in 2007.

The pundits thought there was no way the challenger could prevail fighting the way he did. And they were probably right. So Groves rewrote the blueprint.

"I wasn't sure what he was going to do," admitted DeGale, who looked close to tears during a grim post-mortem. "He said he was going to come out and knock me out in four rounds. But from the first bell he started to move around the ring and I thought, 'oh, here we go'."

That was the closest DeGale came to admitting he had been outfoxed. But outfoxed he had been. "What, he thought I 'nicked' the fight because I didn't come and give it to him?" countered an understandably elated Groves. Just as he had been countering all night.

The accepted wisdom was that the 23-year-old Groves knew only one way to operate, that he was a come-forward fighter with a ragged defence and a tendency to lose his shape when it was time to mix it. Trainer Adam Booth, perhaps the wiliest in the business, knew otherwise.

hayegroves595.jpgDavid Haye (left) helps Groves celebrate his win over DeGale. Photo: Getty

Booth spent pretty much the whole fight instructing his charge to "step", the plan being to keep DeGale out of range, keep him frustrated, and clip him when he missed. It was boxing's equivalent of a mousetrap, laid by a trainer DeGale had dismissed as a "glorified fitness coach".

"We worked on punching long and outclassing James DeGale," said Groves. "As soon as he went to open up, I just wasn't there. And as soon as he fell short, I'd catch him. Adam is a little bit more than a fitness coach, he knows a little bit about boxing."

DeGale's assessment of the tactic was poignant in its naivety. "I was a little bit surprised he fought on the back foot, I thought he was going to come to fight," said the 25-year-old, who came through the ranks with Groves at Dale Youth amateur boxing club before striking Olympic gold in 2008.

"I said to him at one point, 'come on, fight me, fight me'. He nicked the fight - if he's proud of that, then let him be."

DeGale's promoter Frank Warren, although he thought his man should have been awarded the decision, was more realistic.

"When you've got the class that James has, you've got to be emphatic and leave the judges in no doubt," said Warren. "George did what he had to do and he caught two of the judges' eyes. You can't go crying over decisions."

Booth is in the business of drilling his fighters to "do what they have to do". We saw it from David Haye in his victory over Nikolay Valuev in 2009, and I have a funny feeling we will see it again when he fights Wladimir Klitschko in July.

In short, Booth is not worried what people think about him, he is only worried what is right for his fighters. Which is why an immediate rematch is unlikely, whatever Warren or the British Boxing Board of Control have to say about it.

While the majority of the journalists ringside thought it was DeGale who had nicked it, the consensus was it was a horrible fight to score and it could have gone either way.

jdg595.jpgLosing to his bitter rival was hard to swallow for DeGale. Photo: Getty

So Groves should feel no shame in denying DeGale a rematch, as Warren suggested he should. "I've cleaned up the domestic scene," said Groves with understandable relish, "it's onto bigger and better things."

Perhaps they will meet again in a couple of years when they both hold portions of the super-middleweight world title - perhaps they won't. But for now, it is "the ugly ginger kid", as DeGale dubbed his nemesis, who holds the bragging rights down at Dale Youth ABC.

"The whole nation was behind me but didn't think I was going to win," said Groves. "But who's going to be able to hold his head highest down west London now? I guess that's me."

As for DeGale, he only has to look at the careers of Haye and Amir Khan to realise an early career defeat is not necessarily calamitous. And there is nothing like being made to look foolish to focus the mind on bigger and brighter things.

Talking of wily tacticians, is there a wilier operator in all of sport than 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins? On Saturday, the ageless 'Executioner' became the oldest ever boxing world champion when he defeated Jean Pascal for the WBC light-heavyweight crown in Montreal.

Earlier in London, Wales' newly-crowned WBO light-heavyweight king Nathan Cleverly defended his title for the first time with a fourth-round stoppage of Poland's rugged Aleksy Kuziemski, before declaring: "Let's get the big fights on."

Now is the time for Warren to tug on Cleverly's reins. The 24-year-old is an exciting talent with a dazzling variety of shots, but Hopkins, and even Pascal, would be too soon. Liverpool's Tony Bellew, who bangs hard and makes lots of noise, would be a more sensible short-term option. Hopkins can keep until he is 50.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Groves owes the win totally to Adam Booth as without him there would be no fight plan- and he would have been battered. James Degale was pretty much hopeing that Groves came for a proper fight, but James' coach could not make an effective plan, as he probalby knew that Groves would do something different to what he has always done. This left Degale confused to what to do and he eventully lost. Although had Degale actully forced more fighting in the rounds where not much happened, it could have been totaly different.

  • Comment number 2.

    Groves owes the win totally to Adam Booth as without him there would be no fight plan- and he would have been battered. James Degale was pretty much hopeing that Groves came for a proper fight, but James' coach could not make an effective plan, as he probalby knew that Groves would do something different to what he has always done. This left Degale confused to what to do and he eventully lost. Although had Degale actully forced more fighting in the rounds where not much happened, it could have been totaly different.

  • Comment number 3.

    James Degale gave us the blueprint of how to bury yourself even before the fight has started. Degale put so much energy and spirit into trying to make Groves see the red mist, he slept-walked into it himself - and boy how!

    Seeing as he made a little wager before the bout (in the most unprofessional way, in front of the cameras), I hope that Degale will make some good come out of his loss and give his purse to charity per chance? Fat chance! Would Degale let Groves off the bet?

    Another by-product of his borderline racist (ginger!?! oh wait that racial-profiling is OK) 'banter' is that he doesn't derserve a rematch. I'll leave the very capable Ben Dirs of fufilling his journalistic duties of seeing both sides (and very well he does it too), but I don't have to, Degale made himself of fool in a sport that once had the luck of counting Henry Cooper among its' numbers and I don't like him.

  • Comment number 4.

    James Degale got outboxed and though it was close it was still a loss.

    Well done to Groves who had to put up with the constant rubbish Degale was talking. Degale thinks he is a world class fighter but he is far from that and his ego will prevent him from improving.

  • Comment number 5.

    Big mouths don't win fights, they just get cuffed. Degale thinks he can talk his opponents into submission ; big mistake !.

  • Comment number 6.

    I had it down as a draw, but having said that Groves made DeGale fight the fight on his terms and landed more shots so the 115-114 score was probably about fair.

    Be interesting to see where they both go next. Ben, who would you like to see Groves and Degale fight next?

    Hopkins would school Cleverly, agree with Ben on that point, a domestic dust up with Bellew then see what's what.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Intelligence is not a trait always associated with the fight game ..." - I agree totally with your opening remarks.

    After 3 or 4 rounds last night it would have been fairly evident to even George Groves' most impartial supporters that he was never going to hurt DeGale, in fact the only people that seemed not to register with were DeGale and his corner. Frank Warren was fairly restrained in his comments in the post-bout interview, suggesting that DeGale should have been a little more attacking, but I think in private he would have been using some choice words to describe the lack of intelligence of the boxer and his team.

    I have no issue with sportsmen & women earning the sums of money they do, but I have a lot more respect for those with a modicum of intelligence and the ability to adapt (relatively quickly) to what is in front of them - DeGale should have realised he had more than enough to beat Groves and I think Frank Warren will give him a bit of a rough ride in the next few days because he not only short-changed himself, but let down a lot of people who have provided support to get him the opportunities he has had (and should still have).

    On the evidence of last night, I don't see either boxer making an impact on the world stage at any time in the future; for all the hype / arrogance / bluster that accompanies boxing, there are fighters that can think on their feet and adapt, and also that will have considerably more power than either DeGale of Groves in their division.

    All credit to Adam Booth, although he will only be able to take Groves so far. A pity for him (and boxing) that David Haye intends to retire later this year, at least the guy has a personality and some nous in the ring.

  • Comment number 8.

    It matters not whether he 'nicked' it, won it on the 'backfoot' or 'moonwalked' his fancy shorts wearing self around the ring all night, Groves won a close fight & now has the belts. Very well done Son. You deserve the glory!

    James, as good a boxer he is, actually showed that HE was the one dimensional fighter. He showed that he had no answer to an 'ugly ginger kid' that fights on the backfoot. What then would he do in the face of real 'world class' opposition'?, for boxing is not all about standing toe to toe & brawling (as much as some of us would like to see a lot more of that).

    The problem with excessive 'thrash talking' is that you tend to look rather silly when a number is pulled on you, & Groves certainly pulled a number on DeGale.
    James does have a lot of growing up to do, as maturity will help him overcome this set back, re-group & return to fulfill his full adult potential.
    However, it's pretty ignorant to suggest that DeGale was racist or racially motivated in his reference to Groves' ginger qualities.

    Where on the planet does the ginger race come from exactly?????????

    I hope I bump into DeGale up NW10 sometime soon. I'll put him across my knee, tan his backside for doing himself a PR disservice (by storming off after the fight -boo hoo)! I'd then school him in some recent boxing history about how old man Carl Thompson did a number on a certain David Haye. Look at Haye today. Even 'The Greatest' himself had numerous setbacks, all well documented.

    So, well done Grovesey. Commiserations Chunky.
    Wishing you both all the best for the future, & hope I can be there when you fight each other again, in a world title unification bout!

  • Comment number 9.

    I think all the talk about the close decision has cast a shadow of what Groves actually did to DeGale, he outboxed him.
    To go into a fight that important to both men and completely change your style and beat an olympic champion at his own game is impressive regardless of how close it was.

    DeGale said this in the lead up to this fight ...
    "His biggest weakness is his defence, he has no defence. No defence at all. He can't box, he can't fight on the ropes. He doesn't know how to hold. The inside fighting bit, he just can't do it."

    Groves did all those things in the fight and did them well. alot of people might say DeGale underestimated him but the fact he couldnt change the pattern of the fight when he needed to must be worrying for DeGale and his team.

    Now the question is has Adam Booth given other fighters a blue print on how to beat DeGale? stand just on the edge of his range, make his miss and fire straight shot back at him, hold him up close, frustrate him and finally use plenty of footwork and upper body movement. The reason I ask is because DeGale had no real answer to any of that except just walking forward and doing the same thing over and over again which asks another question ... will Jim McDonnell pay the price for DeGale's lack of a plan B?

    I dont know if any of you will remember but Chris Eubank once said ""I hear James DeGale is getting a £1 million. I guarantee you he will fail. It robs your hunger." maybe Mr Eubank had a point because in my opinion DeGale didnt have enough devil in him last night or desire.

    Even though I dont like the man I wouldnt write DeGale off he has alot of talent but I think he has more questions hanging over him now than Groves has ever had.

  • Comment number 10.

    i'll start with this line, "british" fighters, always thinking they are so good, lol british fighters dont achive much, firstly degale talked too much rubbish, and groves cleverly outboxed him, degale had no special thing that every boxer has, for e.g. haye has the haymaker, amir khan has the speed and combo, whereas degale looked normal shall i say, and most british fighters holdthe WBA belts which in rank is the worst belt, apart from henry cooper, and shall i say the entertaining prince nasseem, there are no great british boxer, if haye and amir can ahieve holding multiple belts than they would be ranked, amir has the skills where as haye not so much

  • Comment number 11.

    Re Morgan #8

    The ginger race originates from northern europe obviously.

  • Comment number 12.

    I thought DeGale had it in the bag by 3 rounds. Fair play to Groves who made an argument of it, but you must say, had DeGale been more active and aggressive he would've won the fight, probably by stoppage.

    Good luck to both guys moving forwards. Groves has big heart but limited skill and will take him so far. if JDG learns his lessons from this fight then maybe, just maybe he can make a world title bout.

  • Comment number 13.

    What ever happened to grace in defeat? When Frank Warren claims that "The general consensus seems to be that James won the fight, so they should order a rematch,". So, When does Amir Khan refight almost all his former oponents then?

  • Comment number 14.

    Oh Natahan, if you don't want to hold that belt that you were given for very long, get in the ring with B Hop. I would stringly advise against it, because getting done over by your grandad would probably send you in the same direction as Big Mac (post Haye) or Hatton (post Pacquiao/Mayweather), by way of a career ending beating.
    Know your level son & don't get ideas above your station.

    Would have been interesting to see how far you would have gone against that angry scouse guy. Who took his strait jacket off?? Funny, but you never actually answered the question at the press conference. Would you have done what he was doing? I.e. take the fight at such short notice? NC: "I'll give you a free shot"......TB: "If you're gonna do that, you better call an ambulance first...." That would have been one mad tear up. Never mind him not malking the weight. Fight couldn't be sanctioned, 'cos Bellew wasn't willing to wait 'tl saturday night! He WAS ready to go, there and then.

    Why not defend against him. THAT is the fight that we want to see - if you're brave enough to take it!

    ps. Mr Bellwe, in case you know where I live, I was only joking re my 'strait jacket' comment, but you really looked like you wanted to rip Cleverly's face off (for a laugh)!!

  • Comment number 15.

    Re JimSprout #11.

    oh, THAT ginger race. Ha ha

  • Comment number 16.

    Yes Groves had a game plan, which to me was negative anyway... Had DeGale behaved the same we'd probably have watched nothing. Tell urselves the truth, Groves did nothing to merit victory in that match; he was the challenger and did not do enough to take the title. DeGale won that match however close. The best any right thinking person sjould have awarded Groves should have been a draw; that was not a championship winning performance...NEVER.

  • Comment number 17.

    Really DeGale had it coming to him with his crass comments to Groves and although it was close and could have gone the other way I think that for changing his style to win a fight Groves deserved the win. I do think a return in a couple of years a return would sell depending on what current belts they have (if any).
    In no way is Cleverly ready for any of Hopins, Pascal, Dawson because he has become a "world champion" without fighting any world class fighters. Warren has done a good job to get him to belt holder standard but he is a world champ in name only.

  • Comment number 18.

    From the first round Degale looked uneasy with the tactics of Groves. Adam Booth once again outfoxes the old school approach of most corners. His advice in between the rounds was concise and simple, Groves was smart enough and definitely fit enough to put the advice into practice. Quite simply great tactics but one must worry for Degale who most pundits regarded as the better boxer (and he got outboxed),most thought he was the bigger puncher (yet he hardly let go of any), most knew he was the more precise puncher (and he missed more than George). Degale should eat a little humble pie, take the defeat go and train with some of the modern day greats and come back and prove all the pundits right. Groves should enjoy this moment for a long time, it was a superb night for him. Funnily enough I think that Booth and Co could make Degale the real deal because he has all the moves it just all looks very stiff and old school. Plan A was to win by counter punching, Plan B was to go Orthodox, Plan C was to hit and hope. Plan B and C were not needed by Groves because his Plan A worked!

  • Comment number 19.

    Hmmm. Thinking about #18 above.
    DeGale + Booth does have potential written all over it.

  • Comment number 20.

    DeGale won that fight, he landed the cleaner and heavier shots. The other guy was running away all the time, and how that can be viewed as outfoxing someone is beyond me; run away all match and stay out of danger? Ridiculous. This country has a tendency of lauding mediocirty, we see it in football everyday where teams use unorthodox means to get a result, and i'm not surprised this groves guy is being talked big already. Wait till he meets the wily Mexican fighters, he will be exposed for what he is.

    The judges' decisions left a lot to be desired, just like when the american Page was robbed in his victory over Dallas last week(tho I think it was the ref's decision then). A draw would have been less embarrasing in yesterday's match, and a rematch the most logical thing to do.

  • Comment number 21.

    re: no 7

    "All credit to Adam Booth, although he will only be able to take Groves so far. A pity for him (and boxing) that David Haye intends to retire later this year, at least the guy has a personality and some nous in the ring."

    Groves is the type of boxer I want my son to observe out of the ring for the way in which he conducts himself. This is so important to the image and future of this great sport. Groves has demonstrated a top notch personality for some time and the nous was evident yesterday!

    Little (but important) things such as Groves wearing a suit for his appearance on Ringside would possibly be lost on someone who insinuates the above about Groves.

    Excellent performance from Groves last night!

  • Comment number 22.

    I would like (and pay) to see a rematch. I just think Groves knows he got the decision but was in the most trouble throughout the fight and wont want a rematch anytime soon.

    Good fight, but unless Warren can weave his magic and open the purse then I cant see a rematch.

  • Comment number 23.

    re: 22

    If Groves was in trouble throughout the fight, why on earth did hugely experiences judges mostly go for him?

    Groves won the fight and deserved to. DeGale played his part and I think all boxing fans would wish them both all of the best for the future. A rematch when both have developed even further on the world stage would be brilliant.

    Personally, I can see Groves improve even further.

  • Comment number 24.

    Re 23,

    Like I said I had DeGale by 3 rounds. In fact everyone in my house had JDG winning (narrowly).

    Clearly Groves was in trouble at least 4 times during the fight, watch the re-run if you don't believe me. Groves outworked Degale for most of the fight and thats why he got the decision. Had JDG stepped up his workrate in the first 6 rounds as he did the last 6 rounds I am certain there wouldv'e been no argument at the bell.

    Good fight tho.

  • Comment number 25.

    re #21

    Not sure what you think I was insinuating, but to be clear for you I was stating that I do not think that Groves will have a top-level boxing career (unless you or I represent the highest level of his opposition). I don't actually see how someone wearing a suit on Ringside can be relevant to that, maybe you can enlighten me?

    I agree with you that he comes across well as an individual and conducts himself well outside the ring, which is a refreshing change from the majority of today's sports 'personalities'.

    (If you do want to make snide remarks, at least make them relate to what has been written so they can be considered on merit).

  • Comment number 26.

    I know they can be very misleading but the punch stats are

    DeGale 72/378; Groves 86/399

    Even though I will agree punch stats dont tell the full story of any fight to say DeGale was robbed is not just ridiculas its a blatant lie.

  • Comment number 27.

    re: 25

    You said:

    "at least the guy [Haye] has a personality and some nous in the ring"

    I took the above to mean that you do not believe that Groves has the above attributes.

    "(If you do want to make snide remarks, at least make them relate to what has been written so they can be considered on merit)."

    See above.

  • Comment number 28.

    Let's have it right...... Groves was not "the challenger", both fighters held belts, and, it could be said that George held the more prestigious.

    In what was a very difficult fight to judge James DeGale had the opportunity to impress the judges..... he ran out of rounds.

    Groves (and his camp) outthought "team DeGale" and I believe that Frank Warren will hold Jim McDonnell responsible and will find another trainer for his fighter.

    The most significant thing for me was listening to DeGale being booed into the ring in his home town. DeGale can learn a lot from the experience of this fight.... mainly humility, dignity and respect for an opponent.

    Well done George you're a credit to your parents, your team and the sport of Boxing

  • Comment number 29.

    re 27

    Groves doesn't have a 'personality' (in the public sense of the word) - John Major & Gordon Brown wore suits on TV, they didn't have personalities. If I may assume you are a decent person, does that make you a personality?

    My comments about having nous in the ring - credit where it is due, Groves was the man in the ring and fought as instructed, and maintained a high degree of self-control to do that based on evidence from his previous fights I am not knocking him. But he is very limited and I will stand by what I said that he does not have glowing future on the world stage.

    I do support British boxers and I would like to be proved wrong, but at the moment I cannot see that happening with him.

  • Comment number 30.

    George Groves has 2 titles, an undefeated record, lots of career options, thousands of loyal fans, pride, dignity, a fit mrs, a few quid in his pocket...... how many of those does James Degale have? He's like school in August. No class.

  • Comment number 31.

    DeGale should have been deducted a point for a blatent shoulder and elbow to Groves. He's a child in a man's sport and if Groves didn't humiliate him someone else would have and probably to a greater extent. Serves him right.

  • Comment number 32.

    I was at the fight and without the benefit of the TV commentary I thought Degale just shaded it, but it was so close I don't think you can really argue with the decision.

    I thought it was great fight, but everyone would do well to remember that they are both relative novices in the professional ranks and they both have a lot a room for improvement. I'd love to see a rematch, but don't think it'll be immediately. You can understand Frank W's frustration, but I doubt he'd be looking for a quick rematch if Degale had scraped the decision.

  • Comment number 33.

    George Groves is the man! Got a deserved decision after the perfect game plan was very well executed thanks to the best tactition or even... Trainer? In the world Adam Booth. No doubt he will lead Haye to a huge victory over Klitschko via stoppage. Well done George... Quality.

  • Comment number 34.

    First of all Degale did a fantastic job of hyping the fight. He has obviously learned from Mayweather, Tyson, Ali et al. Unfortunately he doesn't have the talent they did at this stage of his career. Groves did a fine job, executed the game plan and won. Whether you like the decision or not (I thought Degale edged it) that was the outcome and as they say in cricket "Look in the book". What's done is done. Degale should forget talk of a rematch. He is only thinking of victory. He needs to imagine if Groves beat him again and clearly that is a possiblity. He should learn his trade with a bit more humility with a view to a third battle when he and Groves are seasoned professionals. It would be a huge money fight at the right time. I agree with the comments about Jim McDonnell. Degale did not seem to be able to respond to Groves tactics and unfortunately neither did Jim which, frankly, was pathetic. I'm no boxing trainer but with 5 rounds to go I was saying Degale needs to step it up. Also it was clear Degale was getting the better of the exchanges so it was an obvious adjustment. Lastly please stop getting carried away with the tactical 'genius' of Adam Booth. He helped Haye beat one of the worse Heavyweight Champions ever in Valuev with a very negative performance and he helped Groves beat a fellow NOVICE with THE SAME TACTICS!!! Hardly Einstein.

  • Comment number 35.

    re #8 #11 #15

    I seem to have sparked a little debate here, so let me just clarify. Of course I don't think James Degale is a racist, but his 'banter' was on the verge of crossing a line which I think has been crossed too much in boxing. The dark destroyer, 'I'll never let a white boy beat me' Hopkins and the idiotic words of Floyd Mayweather about Manny Pacquiao, all of these phrases were about or given by boxers whose class and talent or mere fact of being human beings should've outwheighed anything to do with what race they belong to.

    Degale discarded all of his dignity in the run-up to this fight and showed his true clolurs in the ring. He used the shoulder once and his elbows twice in blatant fouls which were not reciprocated by Groves. Everbody who thinks the fight could've gone the other way should equally think about how it could've gone further the way it did if a point had been deducted as Jim Watt said it should've.

    Final point, if 'ginger' isn't a racial term, why did Degale stop using it closer to the fight after complaints from his fans (apparently he has a couple)? Funny that!

  • Comment number 36.

    Bens blogs are always good just to see some absurd comments below. My take on some -

    - Rematch

    Frank Warren calling for a rematch so soon is stupid and does nothing for British boxing. Both fighters are great prospects and should be allowed to develope and then clash later down the line. If they had a rematch now and DeGale lost he would be finished, if Groves lost there would be another rematch who wants to watch three domestic fights, when there could be a world title in it in a few years. As Booth stated they would relinquish the british title.

    DeGale Won -

    No he did, check boxrec. There was no random stoppage, no conspiracies a Frank Warren fighter went 12 rounds and came out behind on two judges card, and a draw on another. He claims to have landed the cleaner shots, I don't think so the cleanest shots James landed were with his head. He was using excessive use of the head and elbows and didn't lose a point. Untill the cuts opened up on Groves I didn't see DeGale in the fight at all. There is more to boxing then pressure, you have to use "effective agression" and DeGale didn't do this, you plodded forward behind a weak jab.

    Groves didn't do enough to win -

    - Groves wasn't going into this fight with nothing on the table both were champions. There is more to the sweet science then chasing your opponent down in the ring and trading in the centre. Groves made DeGale swing and miss, then caught him with clean shots, he knew when to step it up in rounds to pinch them of DeGale, he executed the game plan perfectly and showed a great boxing brain. DeGale on the other hand was unable to shift gears and looked one dimensional. There are many fighters out there who are counter punchers PBF for one, Groves fought the perfect fight and team Warren can't deal with it.

    Frank Warren "No one thinks Groves won" -

    Ask the judges you tool and check the internet many do. Many so called journalist agree with you but these are the same people who thought Groves would stand a trade, believed him to be limited and that DeGale would blow him away. These are not the people whose opinions should hold much weight.

    People seem to have jumped on the DeGale band wagon after his solid win over Paul Smith, but seem to be forgetting that Paul Smith was a blow up and relatively small middle weight. When he was in a ring with a smller still but younger and more potent opponent he came up short. Just another case of a protected Warren fighter, Booth on the other hand puts his young guys in with live opponents and they learn the hard way.

  • Comment number 37.

    I just could not see how Groves won the fight, the most he did (which you have to give him credit for), was make life very hard for Degale by nullifying his strengths and sticking to booths plan... especially in the earlier rounds..

    But Degale did creep back and I think did nick the fight in the end, a Draw would have also been fair but a Groves win just seems quite harsh on Degale IMO.

    Groves never once had Degale hurt, he may have threw and landed a bit more but most were messy shots that were not meaningful at all. Degale probably also won a round 10-8 (i think it was rnd 9) where Groves looks in trouble..

    All that being said I think Degale needed this as he was too confident and his corner dont really seem to have him very grounded.

    I still fancy Groves to be found out, his chin is still a weakness and I while I will give him credit for sticking to his plan and having a great coach in Booth, I am not quite convinced he is a world level fighter.

    Degale suffered a "defeat" against Groves before they turned pro, and he then went on to win a gold medal. I fancy this "defeat" to hurt him, ground him a bit more, and go on to be a world beater and eventually avenge this loss. Time will tell.

  • Comment number 38.

    Excellent article by Ben Dirs but I am totally perplexed by those who have written that 'DeGale finished the fight well on top'. Nabil Hassan (BBC) who as we know does not know the difference between a 'points decision' and a 'technical decision' wrote along these lines earlier. If he he cares to re-run the fight he will see that the last 30 seconds of the fight saw DeGale in the corner and Groves hitting him with 3-4 excellent scoring blows. These were the best blows of the round.

  • Comment number 39.

    in all honesty, neither were impressive on the night, but degale less so than groves. In fact degal showed his inability to think on his feet. it was close and difficult to call but groves can rightly be called the winner today. Money talks though and I'm sure if there's enough money on offer, there will be a rematch. warren however, is likely to want to build his boy back up first.

    In terms of Nathan Cleverly, a genuine talent but if frank has any sense he'll keep him away from hopkins for now. one last thought; once again, i thank common sense and principle for not paying twice for another poor night of boxing. Quite how this event was PPV is beyond me and anyone daft enough to fork out extra, on top of their sky subscription, is complicit in slowly killing the sport. Thank the lord for the internet...

  • Comment number 40.

    I thought Groves deserved to win and was happy he got the nod.

    Not a great fight but he done what he had to in order to win. If i was Groves i would have collected on DeGales and McDonnells purse though.

  • Comment number 41.

    I seem to have problems getting my post through, trying a shorter one to test.

  • Comment number 42.

    I agree with you TheTreboethTerror, neither Groves or Degale were impressive. If you go through the list of things top class young fighters should be able to do Groves and Degale score very low marks. AGGRESSION: neither fighter was particularly aggressive on the night. I could not see much desire in either of them. A GOOD ENGINE: Groves showed some good stamina on his legs but neither boxer threw a large number of punches per round. Young fighters should be throwing upwards of 80 punches a round and then as they step up in class the numbers come down due to the risk. ILLUSIVENESS: Look at their faces after the fight. If they are taking this much punishment now, what would a world class fighter do to them. Mayweather, Mosley, Leonard, Ali etc took precious little punishment until they fought for world titles. Not a good sign. A GOOD DEFENSE: I saw Degale try to use the shoulder roll and get hit in the face anyway. Groves defense was not to get involved. Neither tactic will save them with a step up in class. I know a lot of the damage was from head clashes but after scores of amateur fights and 10+ pro fights they should be better. Hopkins has fought 12 southpaws and never been cut. It's called skill. BODY PUNCHING: If Groves was using his legs, why not take them away from him by going to the body. This is so obvious yet Degale nor his corner could see it...pathetic. PERFORMANCE UNDER PRESSURE: under the most pressure, the best young fighters produce their best performances. Think Joe Calzaghe, Oscar De La Hoya or Roy Jones Jnr. Groves won, but he should not be proud of his performance. It wasn't a clear victory and his tactics were negative. You could hardly call it a skillful performance. These guys are young (23 and 26). They should be full of beans. Saturday night was their chance to shine on the national stage. Neither produced a noteworthy performance. Neither showed the traits I expect to see in a future world champion and we still don't know if they can adapt and change strategy during a fight like Floyd Mayweather, get a knockout in the later rounds to win like a Sugar Ray Leonard or start a war and guts it out like Ricky Hatton and all the greats. All in all I will be very surprised if either win the WBC belt. It will be the usual WBO (European level in disguise) rubbish if they are lucky.

    As for Cleverly, I very much doubt he'll make it to the very top. He hooks well to the body and is aggressive. Unfortunately he gets hit to much. Fantastic for the punters but Chad Dawson(?), Bernard Hopkins(?), Carl Froch(?). I don't think so!

  • Comment number 43.

    Adam Booth deserves some serious recognition for his tactical awarness.

  • Comment number 44.

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate Nathan Cleverly on fulfilling his dream and becoming World Champion!

    I'm a big fan of Nathan's and have been following him since before he was picking up his first domestic title's.

    He seems like only yesterday he was picking up his first title against Tony Oakey.

    He got himself into great shape, looked physically stronger and looked to be punching with more power on Sat and, like he said, he's feeling and should get stronger with every fight.


    Now is the time for Warren to tug on Cleverly's reins. The 24-year-old is an exciting talent with a dazzling variety of shots, but Hopkins, and even Pascal, would be too soon.

    Liverpool's Tony Bellew, who bangs hard and makes lots of noise, would be a more sensible short-term option. Hopkins can keep until he is 50.


    His next fight needs to be selected carefully, as I am fully in agreement with Ben that Nathan is not ready for the elite of the divison - Pascal, Dawson etc, and in particular - Hopkins.

    Pascal had about 4 World level fights against genuine World level guys and then one more against a elite fighter in Dawson yet, Hopkins just took Pascal to school and gave him a boxing lesson.

    46 or not, he is a LEGEND, a MODERN GREAT and at the moment Nathan is not even close to being prepared to face him.

    Secondly, some realism is needed here. Who exactly is Nathan Cleverly for Bernard Hopkins? A World Title doesn't mean anything to a guy like Hopkins.

    You've got to

    a) Be a name
    b) Have proven yourself

    Two things that Nathan isn't and hasn't - yet.

    Hopkins isn't going anywhere, he's taking about being around for another 4 years.

    Can somebody tell me what they've seen in Nathan's last few performances that makes them believe he's ready for the elite level?

    They are the ones that'll be responsible for what happens to him if they put him with the elite guys before he is ready.

    And believe me - currently he is not ready.

    He's 24, what is the rush?

    He hasn't proven himself against World level opponent yet, not his fault with the Brahmer situation but the fact remains the same.

    Boxing is about levels - Nathan hasn't proven himself at World level and just like DeGale who completely believed his own hype, the same fall will come Nathan's way if he rushes to get the big fights.

    Nathan's ability and talent is undoubted but he is far from the finished article.

    He still has to

  • Comment number 45.

    Lets be honest - this was a terrible night of boxing. The undercard was pretty poor, the Cleverly fight was a shambles (by no fault of his own) and the DeGale-Groves fight was like watching an amateur bout. I saw nothing from either of them to suggest they'll be anything great.

    DeGale looked out of ideas in round 2. He was walking forward switching stances and pawing at Groves with a limp jab which would make Audley Harrison blush. When he actually had the guts to put a combination together later on Groves had no clue what to do or how to react. Other than that he offered little or nothing - perhaps the booing of the fans did affect him?

    Groves looked fairly manoeuvrable but I still think he looked average at best. He put a couple of good counters in here and there but he still looked pretty ragged when throwing his punches at times. Also when he did get caught by an OK shot he looked staggered and I personally have massive doubts about his punch resistance. No doubting his heart, but what good is heart if you're unconscious on the canvas? I can see him being another Maccarinelli; hyped up to a world title without real justification and then when his chin is tested that will be game over.

    I scored the fight 115-115. I don't think either of them did enough to justify a win to be honest. In truth this night didn't even justify PPV or a prime-time slot. Perhaps if the Cleverly fight hadn't fallen apart to such an extent.

    I'd like to finish on a positive note though! I do like Cleverly. I think he's got a lot of potential and can be entertaining in the ring with it. However I would like to see him fight some good contenders first before taking on the big boys since it isn't quite his time yet. With the right management though I think that he can go on to become a very good champion.

  • Comment number 46.

    i think james degale has a point as i think he won the fight clearly. he landed the more hurtful punches and controlled the ring. no disrespect to groves as he had a game plan and he stuck to it brilliantly and more wiser men than me believe he won. i hope they do it again but some time down the line when there is more than the british and commonwealth titles on the line.

  • Comment number 47.

    I know opinions will vary, but I struggle to see how anyone who watched the fight on tv with the benefit of slow mo playbacks, etc could see how DeGale won. Groves fought very well to get a points decision and all the judges, well respected men and ex refs arrived at the right decision. DeGale should have also been deducted points for shoulder and elbow use but that is by the by. Groves won fair and square and a re-match at this stage would prove little. Best that they pursue their own careers for now and if they both shine, then a re-match at that point would be far more interesting and profitable for both. Well done to Groves and to Degale, grow up and fulfill your obvious promise.

  • Comment number 48.

    Strange how none of the Groves supporters on here want to see a JDG rematch but all the JDG fans do.

    Is this because George has used his 'get out of jail free' card already?

  • Comment number 49.

    "Is this because George has used his 'get out of jail free' card already?"

    No. It's because DeGale is a big mouth who couldnt deliver the goods and simply doesn't deserve another chance. Groves beat him fair and square - I had him 3 rounds up. DeGale was getting clipped left right and center as Groves came off the ropes. DeGale has 12 rounds to prove he was "so much better". At almost no stage in that fight did he look a different level : he proved simply that he could not change his game plan and was out thought and out boxed.

  • Comment number 50.

    Maybe DeGale needs to look at his trainer. Jim McDonnell's cheer-leading at the press conference was a joke. He's there to keep his man focused, not act like a fan.

  • Comment number 51.

    "I still fancy Groves to be found out, his chin is still a weakness and I while I will give him credit for sticking to his plan and having a great coach in Booth, I am not quite convinced he is a world level fighter." Tunes666

    He's 23 years old with only 13 fights on his record, he's not SUPPOSED to be world class. And just for the record, neither is James Degale. Give the boy a chance, how can you say he's not world class at 23 years old and just 13 fights?

    I think some people just cant take the fact that Groves won and they're coming out with all kinds of stupid justifications and snide comments about not being world class at 23.

    I say well done George Groves.

  • Comment number 52.


    He may well only have 13 fights as Degale only has 11... both very new to the pro game, but they were still British and Commonwealth champs who are both talking about being world champs. I just think Degale has more natural talent and was to blame him self for that loss (Even if a tad harsh). People forget he had only 10 fights and already had the whole country expecting him to win where Groves had the luxury of being the underdog... not that Degale helped him self by being way to cocky and over confident, playing on it...

    You could see in the lead up and on the night that Groves corner had him prept for the fight of his life, and pumped it into him how big this fight was, but you have the feeling Degales team had him thinking it was just another step he would take care of... by the time he found out it was a very hard fight, he was down on the cards and had to really get stuck in...

  • Comment number 53.

    The fight itself was one-dimensional, I thought; with both boxers knowing each other so well throughout their boxing career, they were bound to show over-respect for each other, hence, the stalemate.They posed, and posed and posed; at one stage Degale stood perfectly still for three or four seconds as if hypnotised by his opponent. And when they managed to tangle they held on and both failed to press home their advantage. Booing for Degale was because he tried harder to hype up the ticket sales which was a success by all account. If a rematch was to be financilly successful, the two fighters had better bucked their ideas up

  • Comment number 54.

    I can't disagree with many posters more. British boxers rubbish? How about the amount of world champions over recent years? WBA rubbish belt? Most rank it 2nd after WBC but to be honest all 4 major belts mean as much to top boxers nowadays as the FA Cup does to Man Utd players. Wily Mexicans?! At MW and below yes but few and far between SMW and above.

  • Comment number 55.

    As for Groves and Degale's performances, I was one of the majority proved wrong. Groves showed a tactical maturity not even hinted at so far in his pro career. He's shown more chinks than leather in his last couple of fights, so reigning in his natural instincts and nullifying Degale went against the form book. Degale was naive and looked like an inexperienced novice who'd been pushed too far, too fast. Before the fight I thought it would pan out the other way and that Groves wasn't ready. If Degale had fought an extra 10 fights and against different styles he could have used a Plan B. His corner surely instructed him but he didn't adapt and he lost the fight. Both men need to work their way up the European scene, target Magee in a few fight's time perhaps. Any of the top 10 in the world would clown them right now.

  • Comment number 56.

    Finally, congrats to Hopkins, the opposite of Degale in that fight. He is the epitome of a tactical boxer and was too wily for Pascal. The clowning was hilarious and really got to Pascal. Now it's about the big money fight with BadChad - which could be the dullest fight ever! Well done to Cleverly, I'd have to agree that he should work up to the big fights - hard to do as a world champion (same problem Khan had when he won a title). I'd fight Bellew, Diaconu, then either a unification or a catchweight with Froch were I NC (as I'm not I'll avoid fighting them). A fight with Froch, who called out Clev's old friend Calzaghe so often is one I'd love to see but that NC isn't quite ready for yet. I'm sure it would be easy to sell, even if Froch loses to Johnson or Ward. IF Froch wins the Super6 and unifies with Bute/Kessler even better.

  • Comment number 57.

    Full respect to Groves, a well planned and executed fight plan has led him towalk away with that belt and head held high. Watchin the pre-fight hype DeGale put in so much effort to trash talk and insult his opponent that, had he put that effort into his boxing skills rather than his verbal skills he might still be champ? Maybe the comments added fuel to the fire for Groves to train and put into practice the most effective solution to the DeGale taunts - taking his belt. Justice? I think so.

  • Comment number 58.

    Would Andre ward or Carl Froch worry about fighting either of these guys?

  • Comment number 59.

    #58 - in a word, no. They'd be junior sparring partners or at best a tune-up opponent. Any of the top 10 would have an easy night against them, which is why they shouldn't be rushed. They're simply not ready for world level, I'm not even sure if they're Euro level (Magee for example would likely beat them both at the moment).

  • Comment number 60.

    Froch has sparred with Groves recently and said just prior to the fight that it was a 50-50.

  • Comment number 61.


  • Comment number 62.

    There doesn't seem to be a report on the BBC Sport site that the BBoC rightly refused to sanction a rematch. In the post-fight press conference, Gegale, his trainer Jim McDonnell and his promoter Frank Warren commplained that it had all been a bit unfair of the Groves team to bamboozle them the way they did. Even though, or perhaps because, they had claimed that Degale was 'levels' above Groves and would probably knock him out within four rounds, they seemed to think that they were owed another immediate chance because the first had gone completely awry. Thankfully, the BBoC must have seen that this was just a continuation of the arrogance and delusion which had been displayed prior to degale's failure on the night of the fight.. Hmm, still deluded even after losing. Let's hope that Degale can learn from this but it doesn't look like it so far.

  • Comment number 63.

    Ben - we can all be "priggish" after the event. What did you actually predict for this fight? Was it along the lines of your inaccurate "BBC Sport understand Avram Grant is to be sacked" way back in December / January? OK you were correct......eventually but it would be nice to have a little informed insight / prediction rather than this obvious after-the-event, smarty pants tone. I was one of those who desperately wanted George Groves to win but had my doubts mainly based on what the media were reporting. DeGale was a big mouth who was full of himself and I'm chuffed that Groves did a job on him, stuffing his bragging rights back down his throat. Listened to the fight live on R5L and thought the commentary was excellent. It made for a great Saturday night and the good mood was carried-over to Sunday. I'm a big George groves fan now - intelligent, articulate, disciplined, can adapt his style and a winner.

  • Comment number 64.

    I did not see this fight between Degale and Groves, but I listened on the radio 5, and I must say the commentators were fair as they showed absolutely no bias to one or the other unlike some previous commentators I have heard. Actually, I find a fight between two orthodox fighters much more exciting. For some reason, I cant stand watching a southpaw fight a lefthand forward fighter. Groves deserved his win in what turned out a tactical match. I cannot really comment on what I did not witness, but according to the commentary Groves was heading for a victory. He took some of Degales best shots, and also proved his durability. How many southpaws have been successful as world champions, I would very much like to know. It is not so that just because one wins an olympic title automatically becomes a successful professional. Two examples of past olympic champions I can think of were Peter Rademacher who challanged Floyd Patterson for his title only to lose in one round. And the other one of the biggest flops in british boxing, Audley Harrison. I am sure our Alan Minter who did become world middle weight champion was a southpaw, but there are very few southpaws that have reached the heights.

  • Comment number 65.

    Mike Hughes - With respect, what are you talking about? The blog is called 'Groves makes fools of us all'. That's my point, almost all of the press said DeGale would win, including me, and we all got it wrong. You might want to have a read of stuff before you comment on it.

  • Comment number 66.

    The real truth is, Degales been found out as a two dimentional fighter. He's apparently oblivious to the tactic of a back foot counter puncher and worst of all he's shown he can't adapt if he's unprepared.

    Boxing and indeed fighting is about winning via skill. Only a fool would stand there and trade blows with someone. Is Mayweather a coward for his style of fighting? Is Khan a coward for moving out of the way of a punch? I'm just not sure what sport Degale thinks this is.

    And here is the harshest truth, the gold medal means NOTHING when you go pro, it's a totally different ball game.

    I watched the pre fight press conference, the fight and the post fight press conferences. Degale, his trainer and Frank Warren are both pathetic and disgraceful in the truest sense of the word. Sore dishonourable losers.

    I have so so much respect for Groves just for keeping his composure throughout. Why would he subject himself to more. The personal insults, the elbows shoulders and headbutts. I would have head butted Degale in the prefight press conference for his behaviour, he's worse than David Haye. Degale is just a bully which is one of the reasons I hate him and his trainer isn't far off either.

    If there is one thing I have come to understand from this fight, it's why everyone hates Frank Warren.

    If I was Groves i'd deny Degale a rematch just so it haunts him and his career. Just the most disgraceful episode in boxing i've come accross, trash talking went to a filthy new low.

  • Comment number 67.

    Ben - I've just re-read the article and, on reflection, I was a tad harsh on you in my previous post. My apologies - I will forego breakfast to atone. Just watched the fight on YouTube and thought the verdit was just about right. Could see how it could be scored a draw or Groves win but no way DeGale edged it. Groves showed his class in and out of the ring. Also thought it was an extra touch of class how the Groves corner let DeGale off the bet.

  • Comment number 68.

    Could have gone either way. Groves out-thought DeGale who always looked to me like he had a few doubts before the fight. Instead of addressing them, he tried to bluff his way through by adopting the dumb, bully-boy attitude. Didn't help that he's surrounded by back-slappers and a vastly over-rated corner team, particularly Chief Cheerleader, Jim McDonnell, the REAL "glorified fitness trainer".

  • Comment number 69.

    Ben, I feel Booth has caught you up in his "Dark Energy".

    Last year you commented that 'David Haye is not as elusive as he thinks and that he will find it hard to avoid Wlads jab'. Why the change of heart????

  • Comment number 70.

    Degale is a sore loser. He flunked his biggest exam but can't accept it, Groves schooled him, simple as that. Flunky needs to drop trainer McDonnell and beg Freddie Roach to train him. McDonnell has no tactical skills whatsoever, which was very evident during the fight as the Degale corner had no answer to Adam Booth's smart tactics. Flunky has a mental age of nine and that doesn't help either. Groves is a gent and a pro and deserved the win, he edged the fight with a brillint, disciplined display. Boxing is better off for this victory. Degale sets a terrible example to youngsters with his appalling attitude and ego. Flunky doesn't even have the character or maturity to see where he went wrong in this fight, so it's not likely that he'll learn from the loss or improve. His only hope is to pack his bags for the Wild Card gym. But even with Roach behind him and a future world title to his name perhaps, he'll never beat The Saint, who is definitely the real deal. Like Calzaghe, he always finds a way to win and will only get stronger and better as time goes on. Well done George!

  • Comment number 71.

    I feel Degale and McDonnell's tactical naivety as much lost it as Grove and Booth's tactical prowess and execution won it.

  • Comment number 72.

    Strongback - I haven't had a change of heart, I still don't think Haye is particularly elusive when he comes in to mix it, it's just that he doesn't look to mix it a lot!

  • Comment number 73.

    i too agree with *71 with ref to mcdonnell,s poor leadership and lack of tactical knowhow. he also made a fool of himself at the press conference . your not a fighter anymore mac you need to calm down a little bit.

  • Comment number 74.

    Yeah sure he can do it London but could he do it on a rainy night at Cinderford (home of the brave)....I think not!

  • Comment number 75.

    A Cleverly Bellew match up seems appealing at first. But so did Haye Harrison!

    It was after that the Sky felt the fans fury. Bellew is still at domestic level - like Harrison and for all the panto build-up it would bring, an anti-climax of a fight could spell the end for Warren and Pay-per-view after Haye Harrison and Sat's pull outs.

    Cleverly needs to be in with a proven World level guy - not just to justify Pay-per-view but for his own credibility moving forward as a World Champ.

    Fighting a domestic level guy is a step backwards and wil do little for enhancing Clev's reputation on the World scene.

    If Bellew is good enough he'll get there and we can look forward to it then!

  • Comment number 76.

    In response to 'Alan' i think it's a silly statement to suggest that Groves should devote the win totally to Adam Booth. That's ludicrous. Time and time again we see fighters deviate from their strategy, especially in highly emotional grudge matches such as this one. Ok Booth is a great strategist, but you need a fighter with great resolve and character and skill in order to implement it. I'd say it's a 50:50 input. Great win for Groves and Booth.

  • Comment number 77.

    No matter how good the game plan the fighter has to action it. That requires talent, skill and apptitude. Well done George Groves, he showed all of that in spades. Adam Booth is an exceptionally intelligent man and a very very good coach. In his early career the great Freddie Roach was often derided... not so now, Booth and the way he does things may irk the purists or die hards but boiy does he get results. Anyone betting on big Wlad over David Haye needs to re think it. Even the great Roach has picked Haye to topple the younger K2. De Gale needed a wake up call - he has it and he will go on to be a more successful fighter than Groves in my opinion but he needs to change trainers. Jim Mcdonnell simply had no game plan let alone a plan B. He needs to consider how Kahn changed his career around, some humility would be a good start but honing his considerbale skills with a more accomplished trainer would help.

    Rematch.... when they both De Gale and Groves have something of world value on the line.... that would be nice.

  • Comment number 78.

    I think we will find out what kind of fighter Degale is, this is not just a loss for him but a deep scar on his personality and self esteem. He hyped himself to much and in the wrong way with under the belt and childish insults. He proved to the world that he is just a boy, a boy in his build up to fights, a boy with his craft in the ring and certainly a boy who was starting to almost self proclaim that he will be the next world Champion. Now he is eating humble pie, but will he recover. Groves played it quite smart, not saying to much or getting into Degales mind games, and he showed that he was the better man or the only man. Anyway what i write is not rocket science neither is it a display of amazing powers of observation, its a simple fact that Groves beat, humiliated and totally outclassed Degale in every possible way. Groves has made his legacy, he will have a few big money fights and end up being the person that beat Degale. Degale maybe world champion one day, he is certainly the more gifted boxer but will he get over this and step into a mans world, for me that is the main question.

    And what a better way to end a pure English fight with the under dog winning to some loud mouth bully.

    Who looks ugly now Degale, who has bad breathe now Degale, who is thick now Degale and where are your balls.

    If Degale ever breaks the law i dont think he should be sent to prison, but he should go to a day center and watch over and again all his pre fight interviews.

  • Comment number 79.

    Maybe it has been wrote previous, but did Degale honour his bet and give Groves the full purse???

  • Comment number 80.

    Shadow Warrior - Groves' trainer let DeGale off the bet live on TV right after the fight. Class.

  • Comment number 81.

    What about Enzo Macc Bellew.

    After Enzo has a warm up and Bellew's rematch with Orvill.

    It's a fight fans would love to see.


    Enzo will take on anyone, he would at Cruiser he's fearless, so I can't see him ducking anyone at LHW. Big fan of Enzo.

    Bellew though, I think has a BULLY'S mentality. He boils himself down at LHW and never chanced his arm in the pro's at Cruiser.

    He likes to be the biggest, strongest and most powerful in the fight and I don't know ig he has the balls to fight somebody that'll match him in those areas, like Enzo.

  • Comment number 82.

    With your pre-match predictions you dug yourself a great big hole that will be interesting to see how you climb out of it. You could start by acknowledging the coaching given to you by the Dale youth trainers ( Micky Delaney & Peter Carson) who over the years while you were at Dale Youth put up with your trantrums and temper inside and outside the ring. Self belief, is paramount in any career you choose to follow,but you overstepped the line with your arrogance and rudeness towards George Groves over the last couple of months. Your only beef as I see it is the claim that he deprived you a chance to win a triple crown in the ABA's. I seem to remember the word" racist" was used when the result of the fight was announced. If my memory serves me right you were only allowed to continue to your second title because Simon O' Donnell broke suffered a hand injury when he beat you at York Hall allowing you to take his place in the next round. Well James'
    you will be able to watch the replay of your defeat against defeat and see how he outfoxed and outboxed you during the fight for a second time with courage and heart that you could not match. As for a rematch, join the queue! why should Frank Warren and yourself line your pockets for a second time.Just remember there was another Olympic winner who failed to deliver after "talking the talk" As my old dad you to say to me when I got too big for my boots, " Shut you mouth son and give you arse a chance" so live learn and listen James and let your undoubted talet do the talking for you. Regards: Dale Youth fan

  • Comment number 83.

    So glad another loud mouth lost. Groves deserved it, and was the better on the night. He shouldn't give Degale another shot. I hope Haye loses next, can't stand his bragging arrogant ways. They should let their boxing do the talking and then indulge in all the glory. Some modern boxers, or perhaps its the promoters fault, talk themselves up and then get smashed, Khan being a prime example with brendis prescot. DeGale and Haye need to shut their mouths and let the boxing do the talking, Khan learnt his lesson and is better for it.

  • Comment number 84.

    I see Bellew is running his mouth again. Clearly doesn't believe in his own ability to get to World level, so he's trying like Harrison to use his mouth to get a shot.

    I'm sick of seeing fighters undeserving using their mouths to get a shot.

    Cleverly had to earn his shot - Commonwealth, British, European, Eliminator and Interim.

    Bellew should fight Big Macc - the winner of that will take big strides forward towards World level, if Bellew is man enough to take that fight.

    The winner should go for the European and if they win that is then is deserving of a shot. Mohammedi would be a good Eurpean fight.

    Then the fight is credible and there can be no comebacks from fans that have dished out good money to see it, it doesn't live upto expectations.

    Haye Harrison
    The pull outs on Sat
    Khan McCoskey

    tells us that retrospectively fans do not want to see a domestic level fighter in with a World level fighter just because the pre fight up is hostile.

  • Comment number 85.

    Flunky needs to dump trainer Jim McDonnell, who is not much more than a fitness coach, the guy has zero tactical ability. Tactics won the fight for George and he deserved it. Degale needs to sack Jim fast and beg at Freddie Roach's feet to be trained by him. It doesn't help that Flunky has a mental age of nine. I don't think he will learn or improve after this humbling, humiliating defeat. What a comedy his career is turning into. All that big mouth bully boy banter he spewed at Groves - only to get schooled and out-boxed. Clown.

  • Comment number 86.

    Buenos Dias. While Mr. Groves is talking about world titles and he giving a chance to DeGale, again, LETS SEE IF HE CAN GET THROUGH FRANCISCO SIERRA FIRST. My name is Alfred Melchiorre and I manage Sierra and if Groves wants the world title he should see if he can whip the Mexican Champon. We will fight Groves in England, anytime. Mr. Groves my email is or +5213221117522 cell

  • Comment number 87.

    You must be a pretty poor manager if you are trying to arrange your fights on message boards.


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