Boxing fans will be treated to a battle of Britain between two of the finest fighters in the super middleweight division as George Groves defends his WBA title against Callum Smith at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia tonight. The fight will also see the pair face off for the inaugural Muhammad Ali trophy.
Smith is unbeaten in professional boxing, whereas Groves’ last defeat came to Badou Jack three years ago, so both head into this bout in great form.
Our Grosvenorsport.com boxing expert gives us his thoughts ahead of the bout.
Too soon for Smith?
Callum Smith has earned the right to face George Groves, with the Merseyside man beating Sweden’s Erik Skoglund and Holland’s Nieky Holzken to set up his first shot at a world title.
While many punters think this opportunity has come too soon for him, others think he’s at a good stage in his career to face Groves – ‘he’s hungrier than Groves’ and ‘Smith is on the up, Groves is heading down’, has been doing the rounds.
What’s been most impressive of Smith’s recent wins are the manner in which he has achieved them. They may have gone the distance, but he has dug in and produced results when many doubted him. His endurance and physical presence are also admirable.
He’ll provide a stern test for Groves but goes into this one as underdog. He can be backed at 6/5 with Grosvenorsport.com.
No.1 Groves no stranger to a challenge
Number one seed Groves saw off fellow Brits Jamie Cox and Chris Eubank Jr to book his place in the final against Smith.
The 30-year old Londoner has experience over the younger fighter, and when people questioned his ability to deal with fast and fresh boxers of Smith’s mould, like Chris Eubank Jr, he answered his critics incredibly well.
Groves does have a shoulder injury he has been nursing, and that may be a factor in this title fight, but it’s likely he’ll use his experience to manage that issue in the early rounds and grow into the match.
Groves is one of Britain’s most talented boxers in his division in years, and his defeats have only come against the best of the best in Carl Froch and Badou Jack. Any fighter will need to be on the top of his game to take him down, and he’s rightly labelled favourite at 4/6.
Tight to call, but experience will prevail
It’s easy to sit on the fence with this one given the quality of both fighters. Smith is up and coming and is a breath of fresh air in British boxing, while George Groves has been an incredible fighter at the highest level for a number of years now.
I’m going to stick my neck out and go with experience for this one and say Groves will have too much in the tank for young Callum Smith. I think it will be cagey to begin with but Groves in rounds 7-9 at 8/1 looks good.