Sunday, 1 June 2014

Finished Business: Mark 2

And so it was that, at around 11PM on Saturday 31st May 2014, Nottingham's second portion of sporting 'unfinished business' came to a shattering conclusion. This time round though, the result was the one which most of the sports fans in the city would have hoped for.

If the Carl Froch vs. George Groves rematch didn't quite live up to the relentless hype which Sky Sports bestowed upon it, then the ending certainly did. Whilst the contest itself was absorbing if not spectacular, the final act was devastating. Carl Froch teed up Groves with one of his trademark left jabs and, as the challenger tried to counter, Froch unleashed a right hand which spun Groves' head so far round he resembled an owl. His legs crumpled underneath him leaving him looking like a vanquished character in a streetfighting computer game. There was no controversy about the ending this time - there was never a way back for Groves.

Until that point the fight had been incredibly close. Froch appeared infinitely more focussed than in the first clash whilst Groves was taking a more cautious approach; perhaps wary of running out of steam and definitely respectful of Froch's renowned staying power.

The first few rounds were cagey to say the least and either fighter could've made a case for being ahead on points. Sky Sports' Jim Watt had Froch shading affairs whereas Amir Khan felt Groves was in the ascendancy.

Round five saw an escalation in hostilities as a flurry from the Cobra seemed to wobble his younger opponent. A couple of rounds later however a beauty from Groves caused Froch to blink to clear his eyes and head, though it didn't seem to take too much out of his legs. If Froch had taken the early rounds there was the hint that the tide was just starting to turn in Groves' favour. That is, until 2 minutes 34 seconds of round eight.

So, what next for the two fighters? If Froch had been defeated it's likely he would have retired. Now though, following a well-earned break, he can contemplate the possibility of entering the final tick in his boxing, er, box, with a fight at the sport's Mecca of Las Vegas. As for Groves; he's young enough and good enough to bounce back from this. I can't see a Froch/Groves III happening any time soon but there's plenty of good opponents out there for Groves in what must be one of the strongest divisions in world boxing.

The last word must be about the - and still - IBF and WBA Super Middleweight Champion of the World. Froch once again defied both his age and critics and must be regarded as one of Great Britain's finest ever pugilists. Whatever the rest of his career brings, if it brings anything at all, he, his city and his country can look back on it with pride.

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