Preview: Carl Froch vs. George Groves II

Sports Mole previews the rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves for the IBF and WBA super-middleweight titles at Wembley Stadium.

It has been 186 days since their first encounter ended in controversy in Manchester, but we are now just over 48 hours away from the highly-anticipated rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves for the IBF and WBA super-middleweight titles.

After a lengthy buildup that has involved several public confrontations, the two Brits will do battle in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium after the initial bout ended when referee Howard Foster called off the fight, deeming that Groves was taking too many unanswered punches from the champion.

The result was immediately questioned by Groves, and after a successful appeal with the IBF it was ruled that the duo should meet again on Saturday evening, with the main event supported by a stellar undercard in London.

Below, Sports Mole takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of both competitors, before attempting to make a prediction on the outcome of a clash that has split the nation.

The champion - Carl Froch

Carl Froch has long been considered one of Britain's greatest warriors inside the ring, and will go down in British boxing history as one of the most highly-regarded world champions that these shores have ever produced.

The Nottingham combatant has competed in 11 successive world title bouts, winning nine and losing two, but despite the undoubted success that Froch has achieved during a glittering career, his legacy has been challenged by a man whom he initially disregarded as a "stupid child".

Froch has openly admitted, or claimed, that he took Groves lightly in their showdown last November, but regardless of whether the 36-year-old's version of events are true or not, the performance exposed weaknesses that had rarely been seen alongside strengths that were no secret to people involved in and out of the sport.

Carl Froch celebrates victory over George Groves as the referee stops the fight in the ninth round during their IBF & WBA World Super Middleweight Title fight on November 23, 2013© Getty Images

During those opening six rounds at the Phones4U Arena, Froch looked slow, lethargic, almost bewildered by what was coming his way from someone who dared to question his ability, and the champion was methodically broken down in ways that seemed unimaginable after his victory over Mikkel Kessler.

But for all of the punishment that Froch did take in those opening 18 minutes, he fought back to show that while he had been outclassed, you can't teach a man's desire to hold on to what he believes to be rightfully his, and that is what ultimately scored him the stoppage, albeit debatable, against an intelligent operator who had been sucked into a war that he wasn't required to partake in.

Both men have every reason to take the positives from the last fight, but Froch ended that evening on top, and after being given the biggest scare of his professional career, that has only whetted his appetite to end his career as the undisputed ruler of the 168lbs division in this country.

The challenger - George Groves

When George Groves was booed venomously by 20,000 people as he walked to the ring in Manchester, he was a man whose only expectation came from the pressure that he placed on his own shoulders, but after shocking the boxing world with his knockdown of Froch, he will arrive at Wembley as a live contender in this rematch.

Many will compare the first match with the one that is coming up on Saturday, but they are entirely different propositions. The pair have exchanged places in terms of favouritism in the eyes of the public and both Froch or Groves can't, or shouldn't, approach their showdown at the weekend in the same fashion as they did the first.

However, while the role reversal isn't completely clear-cut, Groves now has something to lose, arguably more so than Froch, and after talking up his supposed superior skills and greater mental strength, it's now time for the Hammersmith boxer to deliver in front of his supporters who are living off his every word.

Carl Froch and George Groves in action during their IBF & WBA World Super Middleweight Title fight on November 23, 2013© Getty Images

Groves ended the last fight in a position where he didn't need to justify his belief that the referee stopped the bout prematurely, but over the past six months, the Londoner has persevered with his approach to ensure that everyone knows he was wronged the first time around, but that could have unwittingly given the advantage back to Froch.

Froch is under pressure to perform in this fight and if the last meeting is anything to go by, he might be slower than his opponent, but the champion will now be effectively walking into the Lion's den on Saturday and that's an atmosphere that a man of Froch's character will thrive upon.

Groves had the better of the first fight and is undoubtedly talented, but over the past few months, he may have angered something inside of Froch that will force the challenger to try to contend with a relentless assault from the champion come 10pm on Saturday.

Prediction

There are few matches that take place in boxing where opinion is evenly divided, but this contest is one of them and it's impossible to make a clear prediction with any degree of confidence.

In sharp contrast to the last fight, Froch will likely come out of the blocks on the front foot and Groves will have to see off an attack from the opening bell, and the way in which the challenger deals with that will potentially decide the outcome of the match.

As mentioned before, the talent of Groves is there for all to see, but Froch looks as mentally switched-on as he has done for some time, and while everyone in attendance will be anticipating a 12-round fight, don't be surprised if Froch blasts his way through his rival at some point during the opening six rounds.

British boxer James DeGale celebrates his win over Piotr Wilczewski on October 15, 2011
Read Next:
Preview: Froch vs. Groves II - the undercard
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole