By Scott Gilfoid: #1 WBA Fedor Chudinov (14-1, 10 KOs) will be fighting #2 WBA George Groves (25-3, 18 KOs) for the vacant WBA Super World super middleweight title. The fight was announced last Saturday. The date and venue has yet to be determined, but the fight will be taking place in England, the home country of the 29-year-old Groves.
The super middleweight division has been thinned out of the talent with the aging of some of the higher quality fighters and the retirements of some of the top talents. Andre Ward moving up in weight to light heavyweight has left a large space that has been filled with lesser talents. Groves and Chudinov are two guys that likely would have never had much of any chance of winning a world title if Ward was still around.
For Groves and Chudinov o be fighting for the Super World title, it kind of makes on shake their head in disappointment. Chudinov lost his last fight, and Groves is a 3-time world title fight loser. And these are the two guys that are fighting for WBA’s Super World 168lb tile?
“Contract signed for home soil for WBA super championship George Groves against Fedor Chudinov,” said Groves’ promoter Kalle Sauerland on his social media site. ”Date and venue to be confirmed next week.”
This will be the fourth time Groves has fought for a world title. He was beaten twice by Carl Froch in 2013 and 2014 and then by Badou Jack in 2015. Groves has since won his last 4 fights to earn a 4th shot at a world title. It’s unclear where Groves will go if he gets beaten again. This has to be the easiest chance that Groves will get. Former WBA World super middleweight champion Chudinov looked terrible in losing his last fight a year ago to Felix Sturm by a 12 round majority decision in February 2016.
I thought Chudinov should have won the fight, but he looked really bad nonetheless. Chudinov has now been out of the ring for the last 14 months. I can’t imagine the long layoff helping him improve. By the time Chudinov does fight Groves, we could be talking about him being out of the ring as long as 17 months. That’s a year and a half without a fight. I can’t see a Chudinov beating Groves with that much ring rust on him.
If Groves beats Chudinov, it could put the wheels in motion for a big money unification fight between him and IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale in the second half of 2017. Hopefully, DeGale fights before that, because he’s coming off of a 12 round draw against Badou Jack last February. A lot of boxing fans thought DeGale should have lost that fight. If DeGale is going to stay out of the ring until he gets the fight with Groves, then it might make the fight look kind of funny. But then again, Groves is fighting Chudinov, a fighter coming off of a loss. I guess it’s the new acceptable norm.
“I’d like to fight George Groves again,” DeGale said to skysports.com. “The Groves fight is always there, although me winning the world title, while he has failed three times to do that, kills him.”
DeGale is still technically a world champion, but he’s looked dreadful in his last four fights against Andre Dirrell, Badou Jack, Rogelio Medina and Lucian Bute. Those were all close encounters where DeGale struggled badly. In his last fight against Jack, DeGale looked like a shot fighter, a guy that doesn’t have it anymore. DeGale has taken a lot of punishment in those last 4 fights, and it could be that he’s worn down, and just a shell of his former self. As such, Groves might have a good chance of beating him again.
Groves defeated DeGale by a 12 round majority decision six years ago in 2011. I thought that DeGale did enough to deserve the win in that fight. The judges saw it differently, but it was still a very close fight. Up until recently, DeGale looked to be fighting at a higher level than Groves, but not anymore. I think Groves is fighting at a higher level than DeGale now.
Chudinov heat Felix Sturm by a 12 round split decision in 2015. He followed that fight u with a 12 round unanimous decision over Frank Buglioni in September 2015. However, in Chudinov’s rematch with Sturm in February of last year, he lost a controversial 12 round decision. Sturm reportedly failed a drug test after that fight.
Chudinov has the punching power to give Groves a lot of problems. What Chudinov lacks is hand speed. He’s so slow. Groves will most certainly be teeing off on him. However, Groves looks uncomfortable when he gets hit all, period. Chudinov will hit Groves and he will hit him a lot. Groves looked troubled with the few shots that Martin Murray hit him with in their fight last June. The thing is, Murray spent most of the fight hiding behind his guard and not throwing punches. But when Murray did unleash a few punches, Groves looked ready to be knocked out. That’s kind of troubling because Murray is not a puncher.
In Groves’ last fight against Eduard Gutknecht, it was mismatch of the lack of power from the Kazakhstan fighter. Still, when Gutknecht was attacking Groves in the first 3 rounds, he was landing frequently. If this had been a Chudinov landing those same shots, I don’t think Groves would have made it past the 3rd round without getting knocked out. Chudinov’s hands are too heavy for Groves to be taking a lot of shots from him. I suspect that Groves is going to be playing it safe to try and not get hit as much as possible, because he doesn’t have the chin to fight Chudinov in a grueling type of fight.
Groves can fight light hitters like Gutknecht and Murray with that type of approach, but it’s a different story in facing someone with the kind of power that Chudinov has. He’ll swell up Groves’s face in the same way Gennady Golovkin does to his opponents, and I can’t see him lasting long if that happens. That’s why I think Groves will be trying to move around the ring and box Chudinov for as long as he can. I doubt that Groves will be able to move for long because he’s got poor stamina. He’ll need to stand and fight. If he moves a lot, he’ll gas out quickly.