George Groves believes Chris Eubank Jr. will pay for doing too much talking ahead of their fight on Saturday and insists his opponent is making the same mistake he did in his rematch with Carl Froch.
Groves (27-3, 20 KOs), 29, admits he did too much promotional work before his knockout loss to fellow Englishman Froch in front of 80,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2014.
And Groves thinks Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs), 28, is doing the same thing ahead of their World Boxing Super Series [WBSS] semifinal.
“I was thinking before Froch II that after I win I was going to be so big that I would have an element of control in what was next,” said Groves.
“I did loads of promotion ahead of that fight but it’s like walking a tight rope the more of it that you do.
“You run the risk of alienating fans which would have made it more difficult after winning. Win emphatically and people quickly forget, but get knocked out and you have a massive fall from grace. Then there is a massive task at hand to get back and rebuild.
“I had to take that defeat on the chin on the night and not only on the night, I had to take it on the chin again because I had to have proper fights.
“The worst thing I could say commercially was that I felt I could still beat Carl Froch, I couldn’t eat that much humble pie and be cheesy by saying ‘Yeah, you know I’m glad I learned my lessons.’
“I am in a good place now, nothing keeps me up at night because I have achieved my dream and am just trying to capitalise on it.
“I think Junior might be looking beyond this fight, like I did. I definitely looked beyond the Froch rematch. Not because I thought winning was a foregone conclusion but I was confident that I could do the job.
“I did too much PR in the build-up which was very taxing come fight night I obviously got it wrong.
“Eubank is looking beyond this fight. He believes he is going to win because it is his destiny, his time. But it is not his time. No one owes him nothing. This is about who is better — and he is not.”
Groves, from west London, is only a year older than Eubank but has had five world title fights while Eubank will challenge for global glory for the first time.
Groves was twice stopped by Froch, then suffered a split points defeat to Sweden’s Las Vegas-based Badou Jack in 2015. After winning the WBA belt with a sixth round points win over Russia’s Fedor Chudinov last May, Groves will make a second defence against Eubank.
Eubank, from Brighton, stepped up from middleweight a year ago, out-pointed 37-year-old former champion Arthur Abraham in July before knocking out Turkey’s Avni Yildirim in the third round of his WBSS semifinal on Oct. 7.
“They have done well in commercially building his Eubank brand but they haven’t had the tests in terms of fights to back up where he is commercially,” said Groves.
“Now he has to make that bridging step against me. It is a bridge too far.
“Saturday is the day when he has to back up all the hoop-la but I believe it is the day when I end it.”
The WBA champion also believes Eubank Jr. will pay for not having a No. 1 trainer who oversees preparations. Eubank Jr. works under the guidance of his father Eubank Sr. [world middleweight and super-middleweight champion in the 1990s] and Ronnie Davies, while also managing his own training.
“I just feel that he might have taken himself off to Vegas and do a camp out there with some decent trainer and very good sparring available in the States but he hasn’t, he’s come back home and decided to train himself,” said Groves, who trains under Shane McGuigan in south London.
“Either he didn’t want to pay for decent sparring or just hasn’t got the connections how to get it.
“He used to spar everyone: me, [Carl] Froch, [James] Degale but now he is not sparring the top guys, because it might turn into a fight rather than a spar.
“I’m sure he doesn’t pay well for sparring partners, just whoever he can get in, usually local amateur lads. He has to work on his confidence, beat up these guys and physically impose himself because that’s where he gets his success.
“I’ve got a lot of one-on-one time with Shane McGuigan. I couldn’t imagine doing it on my own.
“The bags don’t hit back or make you move your feet. It’s not realistic. I believe a good trainer is worth their weight in gold.”
The winner of Groves-Eubank will progress to face either England’s Callum Smith (23-0, 17 KOs) or Germany’s Juergen Braehmer (49-3, 35 KOs), who fight in the other WBSS semifinal at the Arena Nürnberger Versicherung, Nuremberg, Germany, on February 24.