Fight night tips: Best bets for Groves v Eubank Jr
We make our pick for the World Boxing Super Series semi-final in Manchester, along with Danny Garcia's meeting with Brandon Rios in Las Vegas.
George Groves v Chris Eubank Jr.
This fight will be a cracker.
In a meeting of arguably Britain’s two best super middleweights, Groves’ WBA world title, Eubank’s IBO belt and a place in the World Boxing Super Series final are all at stake.
For Groves, this is just another big bout in a career that has included a win over James DeGale in 2011, a mega-fight with Carl Froch at Wembley in 2014 and two world title challenges before he won his belt against Fedor Chudinov last May.
While Groves has fought the best at super middleweight, this is Eubank’s first real test in the division.
The 28-year-old hasn’t lost since he was outpointed by middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders in 2014, but opponents like Gary O’Sullivan, Renold Quinlan and Arthur Abraham are nowhere near the level of Groves.
Eubank looks impressive when showing off his handspeed in training videos, and he clearly has the edge in that area, but he isn’t the kind of big puncher that will worry a fighter who has taken on Froch and Badou Jack.
Eubank’s strength is his work rate, but Groves dealt easily with pressure fighters in Chudinov and Eduard Gutknecht, and his jab - perhaps the best in the division – will be really important on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old is comfortably the bigger man, the better boxer, and has the power in his right hand to end this fight inside the distance.
Eubank has a good chin, though, and the stamina to last all 12 rounds, so it’s likely we’ll see the judges’ scorecards.
Danny Garcia v Brandon Rios
The super-middleweight bout in Manchester isn’t the only big fight happening on Saturday night, as former two-weight world champion Garcia returns to the ring for the first time in 11 months.
The American lost his WBC welterweight belt – and his 33-fight unbeaten record – in a split-decision defeat to Keith Thurman last March, and has chosen a tricky next opponent in former WBA lightweight champion Rios.
The 37-year-old has a professional record of 34-3-1, losing only to former world champions Mike Alvarado, Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.
He’s a fading force at this point in his career, though, and was knocked out in his last loss against Bradley in 2015.
Rios has only fought once since then, and his inactivity has to be a concern against Garcia, an elite fighter in his prime who has beaten Amir Khan, Erik Morales, Lamont Peterson and Paulie Malignaggi.
Garcia is among the best punchers in this division, with 19 knockouts to date, and he should manage to find Rios’ chin with one of his trademark hooks and end this fight inside the distance.