I'd heard about this fight for a few weeks now, and in retrospect I should have looked at it sooner. Some of you guys may be familiar with the work of Carl Froch. I like Froch a lot, because he embodies some of the things I admired most about fighters who are somewhat cyborg-like (whereas I myself was always more of a thinking fighter). As I've said about his fight with Lucian Bute, you can be more skilled than Froch all you want, might not stop him from kicking your ass. He's tough, gritty, KNOWS he can take it, BELIEVES he can hurt you, and furthermore while he's not the most technically savvy guy out there, he's not stupid. He understands principals of the game. Not many people have been able to exploit his lack of fundamentals enough to get a definitive victory over him, the closest thing to that was Andre Ward. So he takes what is considered a stay busy fight against George Groves. Groves had a decent European Amateur background, and was thus far undefeated as a Pro. Still people picked Froch to easily dismantle Groves inside the distance. What little did they know how the bout would unfold, take a look: Now, of course, there's things Groves does that I don't like. We'll get to that in a minute. But let's look at why Froch had so many problems with this guy he was supposed to make quick work of: - From the onset, the opening bell, Groves secures positioning. Remember the digger diagram: Groves becomes Digger A from the start, and Froch never challenges him for the positioning or say, throws punches designed to raise Groves' elevation. This makes the fight twice as difficult. - Groves also establishes threat to the center line from the get-go, when at range. This is also something Andre Ward does. Froch relies on quick timing when he counter-punches. His job in utilizing this becomes more difficult if you are always facing him. His habit of walking around gets his opponents to relax a bit too much, false sense of confidence. In this bout Groves rarely obliges. - Groves measures and thus, controls distance from the get-go. He gets Froch jabbing into his right glove. It seems innocent and playful enough at first, until he starts discarding the pick of Froch's jab and instead offering counters of his own. He is effectively using control of distance to counter the counter-puncher. This is something he does less and less of as time goes on and it seems he lost control of distance in particularly the last two rounds. But when he would go back to doing this simple thing, he would control the space between he and Froch. Froch, from a poor position initially, finds himself reaching for all of his punches. And particularly reaching downward. Groves takes initiative of Froch's compromise with his counters. This is the basic picking jab drill at work. - Groves performs the classic "up and down" threats. He employs a lovely up-jab, which gets Froch wary of attacks coming from underneath. His reaction is to pull back and away, which puts him right in line for the downward attack of Groves' right hand. Remember the fencing principal of a weapon in each hand, one threat goes under, one goes over: Froch fails repeatedly to avoid the downward threat of the right hand. Now the negatives...because Groves is, after all, inexperienced on the World level: - After landing beautiful right hands (albeit not my preferred technique for them), Groves often compromised his own positioning by falling in on Froch. Once Froch got wise to this, he'd pepper Groves for his trouble. This is because Groves' balance is not all that good. His lack of balance is also why he would respond poorly to being hit. Froch has very good natural balance, and if anyone hasn't noticed, often keeps his back straight, chin down, and chest up. He is in good positions to RECEIVE force. - Groves can't fight well on the inside. This is where we get to the old discussion of guards. When Groves would end up on the inside his FIRST measure of defense was too often to put the ear muffs on, square up, and hope for the best. At times it did seem his intention was to allow Froch to punch, and try to counter between shots. That's not a bad philosophy, but it works on dumb fighters. Not guys like Carl Froch. Many times when Groves did not do that, and instead kept his inside positioning similar to his outside positioning, he either didn't get hit at all, or was able to use leverage to move Froch back, nullifying his offense. But Groves did not do that enough. - Groves had a hard time avoiding right hands himself. Moving away often INTO the path of the right hand, as opposed to towards and past it. This gave Froch confidence in his own right hand. - Groves lost his head as time went on. Getting sucked into a battle of machismo, as opposed to continuing to out-think Froch, which was also facilitating an ability to out-fight Froch. If you look at all of the slow-mo's between the rounds. You can see some of the stuff I've mentioned demonstrated as well. Pure coincidence, but it works out for learning purposes. Groves really had Froch's number over the entire course of this fight, it'll be interesting to see what adjustments Froch has to make if they agree to a re-match based on the early stoppage. P.S. - A lot of people have asked me over time about watching/analyzing bouts. With this thread you're seeing a bout through my eyes. Should give you an idea of what I look for when I watch any bout. Or even when I study opposing fighters.