Groves vs Eubank Jr Result: Brains beat Blind Hope

Groves vs Eubank Jr Result: Brains beat Blind Hope

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.

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Groves vs Eubank Jr: Boxer versus Bravado

Groves vs Eubank Jr: Boxer versus Bravado

The bookies have installed Chris Eubank Jr as favourite in the semi-final of their World Boxing Super Series clash, proving hype catches the attention of casual fans. The Eubanks have made two careers out of furore. Eubank Senior was no doubt one of the best during a competitive generation. A true boxer who ran out of answers when faced with hardman Steve Collins.

The three losses that closed out his career were the exclamation point highlighting his long decline. They shouldn’t overshadow his boxing prowess. His personal, and carefully crafted, style outside the ring was a distraction that often counted against him, especially as historians focus on the performer.

So it’s with some irony that his son enters his biggest bout to date and isn’t seen as the natural boxer out of the two competitors. His best chance is to make Groves deviate from the plan to box. As we saw against Billy Joe Saunders, Eubank Jr can be put in his shell when the other guy remains disciplined.

Those bookies odds have been shaped by the Eubank Jr gimmick convincing people he’s better than the man holding two belts, as much as Groves’ historical bouts, namely the Carl Froch fights, have swayed opinion.

Cliché alert: some boxers are never the same after a big defeat. Until Groves wins the next big one, there will be a question mark over him. Has the Froch experience scarred him forever? The Eubank Jr fight is the next big one. A win here deletes the years of carrying around inner turmoil.

History doesn’t tell the story of how he out-boxed Froch for two fights, or how the Nottingham fighter needed to pull out the best punch of his career to stop him. It just says he lost. Twice.

To drive home that fact, Carl Froch works tirelessly at working a reminder into every appearance he makes on Sky Sports. If you didn’t know already, Carl Froch once filled Wembley and beat George Groves.

The time to kill the bogeyman has arrived.

He’s endured the painful memory of what happens when he allows adrenaline to dictate his approach. If he remains mindful of his goal – and how to achieve – Chris Eubank Jr will be in for a long night of boxing. One where he becomes a frustrated and beaten opponent.

The fight could come alive in the second half when Eubank Jr realises the points are against him and he needs to do something to remove the judges from the equation. At that point, all eyes will be looking for the knockout win.

The wise man would still fancy Groves. If he can endure the onslaught, he can also deliver more telling power punches to a chin that has never been tested.

Groves famously once said: “Everything for a reason.” All those setbacks have been for tonight, the reason: to take back the respect he should never have lost, to make this his time. In doing so, he will expose the Eubank brand for what it really is.

Mourinho’s Mindless Moanings

Mourinho’s Mindless Moanings

Mind games have been in a Premier League manager’s toolbox for a long time now. Sir Alex was lauded as a master, making Keegan and Benítez crack with it all caught on camera. Since then, every manager has, to some degree or another, attempted to manipulate the psychology of rival managers, players, even match officials.

A young José Mourinho pitched up at Chelsea, full of confidence that wasn’t quite arrogant due to its outlandishness and the cheeky glint in his eye. It undoubtedly was a form of mind games, the sort that only works if it delivers immediate success. Otherwise it makes the user appear ridiculous.

Any style of mind game needs to change over time. José knows this, even if he doesn’t believe on-field tactics need to evolve from one decade to the next. That blossoming young coach turned into a dour old man, who feels the world is against him and any team he manages.

To facilitate this belief, he relies on a heavy sprinkling of hypocrisy.

Take injuries. He famously said: “I never speak about injuries. Other managers, they cry, they cry, they cry when some player is injured. I don’t cry.”

Okay, he doesn’t literally cry, but no other manager this season has enjoyed talking about injuries more than Mourinho. It’s gotten to the point his stock remarks about his injuries have been exhausted so he’s taken to calling other managers liars when they announce an injury.

“But if I want to moan and cry like the others, I can cry for the next five minutes.”

The others aren’t crying and he’s the only one moaning. For a guy so convinced and obsessed he’s judged by different standards to the rest of planet Earth, it’s amazing he dared call out the honesty of fellow professionals. Surely that deserves some form of punishment?

He not so subtly alludes to this when concluding he wouldn’t have been allowed to make a public protest like Pep Guardiola regarding a political issue. This reveals the void of values within the man. Public figures have a duty to speak up when they see something wrong in the world.

Pep has stuck his head above the parapet to defend justice, free speech and democracy. The sort of values José likes to use and abuse.

However, you can’t expect a guy without morals to understand the need for ethical choices. He’d only ever make a modern-day equivalent of a “Free Nelson Mandela” speech if it got him off a touchline ban.

Mourinho can’t be invested in something like the Catalonia issue because it doesn’t involve him and therefore doesn’t really exist at all.

Heading into the Manchester Derby he moved onto lighter issues. After begrudgingly acknowledging City’s strengths, he added: “A little bit of wind and they fall.”

His remarks are transparent – and like his style of football – they’re boring. Clearly designed to plant a seed in the referee’s head, if there’s any justice (grab a dictionary, José), the officials will favour the City attackers to prevent accusations of playing to Mourinho’s tune.

What makes the remark more laughable (Ashley Flung aside) is how it comes on the back of Arsène Wenger being universally reprimanded for suggesting Raheem Sterling dives.

What José Mourinho requires is less in the way of mind games and a good dose of reality. It could be argued articles such as this means he’s doing something right. But he’s not getting under the skin of opposing teams anymore: he’s losing credibility.

He can’t even keep his own dressing rooms on-side, let alone disrupt others.

The biggest mind game he’s ever played and won has been on himself. He made José Mourinho think the world was against him, and keeps delivering faux evidence to plunge him deeper into an obvious depression.