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George Groves vs. Chris Eubank, Jr. Pick

George Groves vs. Chris Eubank, Jr. Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday., February 17, 2018
Where: Manchester Arena, Manchester, England
Weight Class: Super Middleweight: 168 Pounds
Titles: WBA Super Middleweight Title
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

George Groves, 27-3 (20 KOs), London, England
Chris Eubank, Jr., 26-1 (20 KOs), Sussex, England

Betting Odds: George Groves +160, Chris Eubank, Jr. -185

George Groves defends his WBA Super Middleweight Title against IBO Champion Chris Eubank, Jr. on February 17 in Manchester. It's also the semifinal of the WBSS Super Middleweight Tournament. A lot is at stake here. For Groves, it's his chance to really place himself among the elite, a level he has fallen a bit short of with several costly losses. For Eubank, it would be his best-ever win and a real sign that he could perhaps be elite. There's a lot to like about both men in this bout and the close odds suggest we should be in store for a well-contested fight.

Groves, 29, has really surprised me by how well he rebuilt. He was looking great on his way up the ladder, with a win over a young James DeGale being a crowning achievement. And in his first fight against preeminent 168-pound champ Carl Froch, he was doing great until Froch closed the show in the 9th. That started a bad patch for Groves. He was stopped in the 8th round in the rematch and after two wins, he lost to Badou Jack for another title at 168. But he got back in there and scored four wins in 2016, including a big win over domestic rival Martin Murray. In 2017, he added two more wins, featuring a 6th-round TKO over Fedor Chudinov, a win that earned him the WBA belt. In his last fight in October, he scored a 4th-round stoppage over Jamie Cox. After looking like he had hit a wall, he has rebuilt commendably and is now in a spot to make some really special things happen.

Eubank's career hasn't had the big fights Groves has had, but he's on an upward trajectory and has started to put some eye-popping wins together. His only setback was a 2014 split-decision loss to Billy Joe Saunders, who is tremendous and one of the top middleweights in the world. He started winning again, moved up to 168 pounds, and has now won eight straight fights since losing to Saunders, seven of those wins coming by the stoppage route. The son of Chris Eubank, Sr., one of the greatest 168-pounders ever, we see the 28-year old starting to come into his own.


There is a lot to like about Eubank, Jr. His recent power gives him a nice edge, being that he is gifted as a boxer and can hit with enough authority to get guys out of there. Lately, he seems to welcome shootouts more than before and he has thrived in every firefight he has been in. Whatever tactics he chooses to employ, it's wrapped up in a package of total calm. Eubank, Jr. is very relaxed in the ring and able to see and react to everything, while reserving his energy for when it's most needed. He is really improving and we might not have seen the best of Eubank, Jr. yet. We're not so sure if the same can be said for his opponent.

Eubank, Jr. is able to move and jab. He has a good reverse game, when looking to not engage. He can score points and pump the left hand. But it's his pocket-presence that really makes him stand out. He has great awareness inside, using his upper body well to camouflage his attacks. That uppercut comes without much warning with the peculiar way he holds his upper-body. We'll see how well these tactics work against the sharp-hitting Groves. He can't get too uppercut-happy or it could cost him in this matchup.

Groves problem isn't his talent, but rather in how it's applied. Earlier in his career, we saw the athleticism and the way he could use his legs. He was a versatile boxer-puncher type who was able to really hit some high notes. He was conscientious and able to out-skill some good opponents like James DeGale. At some point, however, we began to see a less-versatile Groves. He seemed to slug more. Maybe it started with the battle of machismo with Froch. Whatever the case, his lack of ring-smarts really cost him at the highest levels. He fought Froch stupidly and should have beaten him at least once. And losing to the pretty straightforward Jack was another case of Groves not getting the most out of what he has.

I don't really like Groves from a standpoint of being able to think in the ring. His physicality alone will guarantee him a spot near the top. But his lack of being able to think his way to a win has kept him from being among the true-elite. The best fighters are geared to win. Simply put, they're winners. A path to a win is conceived in their mind and they follow it. Groves certainly tries his darnedest to win, that much is for sure, but he wants to win on his terms. And those terms aren't always the best path to a victory.

Groves on a good day has the tools to beat Eubank, Jr. And he is still just 29. The feeling here, though, is that Groves may have already peaked. Still a handful and then some, his best fighting could very well be in the rearview mirror, whereas Eubank's prime is ahead of him. The talent here isn't that different and it could be close, but I see Eubank, Jr. the more bankable choice as far as simply finding a way to the winner's circle. I'll take Eubank, Jr.

Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Chris Eubank, Jr. at -185. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet on the Groves vs. Eubank, Jr. fight by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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