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Callum Smith vs. George Groves Pick

Callum Smith vs. George Groves Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, July 14, 2018
Where: O2 Arena, London, England
Weight Class: WBSS Super Middleweight Tournament Final
Titles: WBA Super Middleweight Title
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Callum Smith, 24-0 (17 KOs), Liverpool, England
Vs.
George Groves, 28-3 (20 KOs), London, England

Betting Odds: Callum Smith (+115), George Groves (-145)

Callum Smith takes on George Groves at the O2 Arena in London for the WBA Super Middleweight Title. The bout is also the World Boxing Super Series tournament final in the Super Middleweight division. Both men won two fights each to get here, with Groves facing the more-demanding road to this spot, beating Jamie Cox and Chris Eubank, Jr. in February. Smith beat Erik Skoglund by decision, before beating late-sub Nieky Holzken by decision, also in February. The winner of this fight wins a prestigious tournament, while laying claim to being the best at the weight. A lot of prestige and future earnings are at stake in this one.

With Smith, he's a guy just starting to knock on the door of the big-time. From a fighting family where multiple brothers have reached world-class level, everything stacks up on paper. A rangy 6'3," Smith has done everything asked of him en route to a 24-0 mark in a 5.5 year pro career. But as is often the case in the sport, you have one man in Smith trying to get to the heights already occupied by his opponent. With Groves, he may not have reached the absolute top, but he has experienced a lot of success and near-greatness. Smith owns some nice wins and there is a lot he brings to the table. We will see if it translates at this level, as it's fair to say the Liverpudlian is stepping up in class.

It's hard to not give Groves some credit for this recent career resurgence. His results and style seemed to be in a state of decay a few years ago. A fighter blessed with good athleticism and a set of strong legs and movement, he had started fighting in what appeared to a more-mindless style. He was banking simply on having better hands, which helped him prevail at a certain level. In reclaiming a spot among the top 168-pounders, he has been able to show some lost dimensions in his game, as he is now getting the most of his considerable skills.

In many ways, Groves has a pretty underrated resume. He was on the right track to beating one of the top super middleweights ever in Carl Froch, before the ex-champ's power surfaced and derailed Groves. But with wins over the likes of Eubank, Jr. and a young DeGale, Groves has made a strong case to be at the head of the pack in this recent British 168-pound renaissance-period. A win in this tournament spot against his countryman in Smith would cement him as a preeminent super middleweight.

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In many ways, this comes down to how close to his peak Groves fights. Smith is the more-predictable variable. Coming off a shoulder surgery that caused this fight to be pushed back, Groves is showing signs of wear at 29. He held up for most of the fight against Eubank, Jr., but he was clearly in distress late in that fight. If such an injury were to surface here, it would obviously be a major hurdle to victory. And even if not, will he be fully-comfortable with his shoulder to throw punches in his typical fashion? And the success he found against Eubank, Jr. showed him at his best. At his worst, he doesn't fight intelligently. There have been a few occasions where better overall fight IQ would have perhaps allowed him to navigate his way to victory. At this level, being a proven commodity in the area of cultivating victory counts for a lot.

Smith will have some physical edges on Groves, with over 3 inches of height and a half-foot of reach. It's not sure how much that will come into play. Looking at Smith's dimensions, one might think he's a mover and that's not the case, even with the height advantage. He looks to mix it up, throwing punches in bunches, and settling into a rhythm of forward momentum. Punches that are not of the pitty-pat variety come in combination and when left relatively unabated, he can start taking over fights. He is pretty adept at countering, especially with a nice left hook that he wields to the body with nice leverage. Smith has good reflexes and works off what he is given. He's certainly a forward-oriented fighter. While he can fire off some nice single shots in retreat, he's more effective on his front foot.

Smith comes from a family with boxing steeped in their background. It's fair to say the 27-year old has a certain level of innateness when it comes to this sport. His level of calm in his fights suggests a fighter who isn't likely to see things for the first time in a ring. In many ways, he's a very smooth operator when he fights. It gives him the power of being able to react quickly and without a hitch. He is a talented fighter that is a handful when allowed to set up and unload. With all that said, he's not the most versatile fighter. When not moving forward, he's a diminished force. And he tends to fight in the same gear, at least more than Groves.

I see Groves' ability to adapt and give different angles giving Smith considerable issues. I think it will help Groves that he's been in there with the best, while Smith can't claim the same thing. Smith is unbeaten and could rise to the occasion, as you can't hold it against him that he's never had the opportunity. His volume and hard-hitting style could end up being the ticket to victory against Groves. Still, I'm not sure he has enough overall dimensions to the point where you can bank on him in this spot. Smith won't have a Plan B if Groves can endure his power and I see Groves giving him some different looks and making life hard on Smith. I like the hometown boy in this spot. I'm taking Groves.

Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on George Groves at -145. Bet the Smith-Groves fight for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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