It seems Chris Eubank Jr read all the big fight previews and agreed, to such an extent he decided there was no point entering the ring with a game plan.
That may be a little harsh, he did have Plan A, which was to swing aimlessly for a winning knockout punch. It’s one thing to realise your opponent has better boxing craft, quite another to decide this means you should abandon anything resembling boxing tactics.
Fair enough, Eubank Jr was unlikely to ever be ahead on points by occupying the centre of the ring and outworking Groves with intelligent jabs and counterpunches. But he could have taken rounds by successfully hustling The Saint. Getting on the inside and landing telling punches – against a proven world class boxer – requires careful plotting.
Rushing your man is a quick way to hand over the fight. George Groves did show signs of openness but that’s to be expected with the amount of wild punches being thrown. By the sixth round any doubts in his mind vanished. He knew the points were racking up in his favour. Keeping him at arm’s length seemed easy, avoiding when up close never looked too much of an effort.
Eubank Jr did sustain a cut above his right eye, which bled profusely, but it wasn’t a telling factor in this fight. The major difference was experience and brains over the arrogance of youth. Chris Eubank Snr was an original, an eccentric one-off who could box. His son comes across as a deluded braggart.
Tonight, George Groves made Chris Eubank Jr look like an amateur. An amateur with a poor amateur background.
It’s the start of a new chapter for Groves. A chance for a fresh start, and if the shoulder injury he sustained in the final round isn’t serious, he’ll go on to win the World Boxing Super Series. While this is going on, Eubank Jr should watch this fight on repeat every day and take notes on how to box.
If you want to reach the top level you need to learn how to use brains before dropping the bombs.
There’s no better example in the world of a man who knows this than George Groves.