Carl Froch left no doubt about it this time. He decked George Groves with a straight right Saturday in their super-middleweight rematch in London and finally established his superiority in what has become a great rivalry.
Groves (19-2) is capable of outboxing Froch for long stretches, but Froch (33-2, 24 knockouts) proved the tougher man.
Froch had won the first meeting last November in Manchester, his neck of the woods, by scoring a ninth-round technical knockout in a bout he was trailing. The stoppage then was premature. Froch had been hurt worse in the first round, when Groves had overwhelmed him and knocked him down. A rematch was a must.
This time Groves won the first four rounds by again establishing his jab, landing the occasional power shot and countering effectively as Froch stepped up the pace. But Froch became more aggressive near the end of the fourth, and as it turned out, the tide had turned for good.
The jab became Groves’ means of fending off Froch more than actually scoring points. Froch landed a lead right to steal the seventh, and then finished the fight with a one-two in the eighth. Groves blocked the left hook, but the straight right landed flush. Groves’ left leg twisted grotesquely as he fell, and the bout clearly was over.
In retrospect, the knockdown scored by Groves in the first bout was the one aberration. He’s an excellent boxer with a great jab, but his power was not in Froch’s class.
Froch’s last loss was to the Bay Area’s Andre Ward in 2011, and he avenged his other defeat by beating Mikkel Kessler. His crossroads fight Saturday drew about 80,000 to Wembley Stadium, and that’s another sort of power Froch can wield in future negotiations.