‘Saint’ George Groves is on the comeback trail after two failed attempts at WBA and IBF world champion Carl Froch as he takes on Frenchman, Christopher Rebrasse, at Wembley Arena on September 20th, in an eliminator for a shot at the WBC Super middleweight championship of the world.
The winner of this fight will secure their position as the mandatory challenger for a shot at the current WBC champion Anthony Dirrell. In many respects this matchup is the perfect fight for Groves to immediately bounce back to winning ways whilst staying in the frame on the world scene against an opponent who looks very over rated. Rebrasse’s EBU European title will be on the line as well as the vacant WBC Silver title. Although Groves is above and beyond European level he will also relish the prospect of adding the European belt to his collection of British and Commonwealth titles.
‘L’Iceberg’ Rebrasse kept his cool to seize on a very strange defensive lapse in his victory against Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye for the European Super Middleweight title via a round four TKO. After being made to break in a clinch, Ndiaye kept his hands down leaving himself unprotected whilst Rebrasse took his chance to land a barrage of free punches to the head, forcing the referee to stop the contest. It is his only notable contest on his resume which consists completely of domestic level French opponents.
Groves meanwhile, despite his losses to Froch, was at no point outclassed in any of the fights and caused a lot of problems for the Cobra therefore demonstrating his credibility as a world class boxer. However, there is an air vulnerability about him when in with big punchers and there has been since his fight back in 2010 against Kenny Anderson, where he took a count before coming back to gain the knockout victory in the sixth round. His apparent vulnerability combined with his own attacking talents makes him an exciting fighter for the fans to watch.
Groves’ two knockout losses have though come against Carl Froch, who pound for pound is one of the hardest punchers in boxing. Despite Froch’s technical deficiencies, he is without a doubt one of the elite fighter s in the 168lbs division. Rebrasse is not. There aren’t too many boxers operating at this level of the game with a knockout percentage as low as the Frenchman’s.
The result and manner of victory in this fight should tell us if Groves has lost the psychological edge from suffering such a crushing knockout defeat on the biggest of stages. His mental fortitude and strength of character will now be put to the test as we will see whether he can deal with adversity in the style of a true champion.
Rebrasse is tall for a super middleweight but I don’t see that being a problem for Groves who has superior speed and technical skill to negate any reach advantage his opponent may have. Groves has one of the best jabs in the business both pinpoint accurate and very powerful. If he is able to establish his jab nice and early his best work will flow off it.
Interestingly Groves appeared to have greater power in his punches when he was slightly less well conditioned. It is true that you can lose top end strength when you are so well conditioned and at an exceptionally low body fat percentage. Certainly there were question marks over his stamina after the first Froch fight, but in the second he still looked relatively fresh right to the moment he was knocked out by the thunderous right hand. There may be perfect equilibrium to find for his strength and conditioning team somewhere in between that gives him the best of both explosive power and stamina. Either way he should be good enough to overcome Rebrasse in good fashion as the vast majority elite level fighters would do.
Rebrasse: W22 (KO6) L2 (KO 0) D3 KO% 22.22
Groves: W19 (KO15) L2 (KO2) KO% 71.43