Last night, the Super Middleweight World Boxing Super Series final took place in Jedah. The King Abdullah Sports City saw George Groves and Callum Smith contest The Muhammad Ali Trophy; the WBA world title, Ring Magazine and WBC Diamond belts.
As is often the case in world title fights, it was a tactical and measured first round. Both men were throwing a high volume of jabs and looking for openings that they could exploit later.
Groves remained in his patented low, bent knee stance. It soon became apparent that he was looking for the arching right hand over the top; a shot he caught Froch with early on in their 2013 clash.
As the first few stanzas passed, it became clear that Smith would be too long, strong and awkward for the champion. It was known going in that Smith had a chance of winning but nobody expected him to make it look so easy.
With that said, Groves found some success early with stiff shots whenever Smith got too eager. Perhaps that is the difference of age and exprience. Groves has been the young gun against the crafty old campaigner. He no doubt rembered the mistakes he made against Froch.
In a systematic performance, Smith combined his strength and conditioning with discipline and tactics. He landed hard shots on Groves throughout, which accumulated as the rounds went on.
Groves was wobbled in the third but Smith did not fall into the trap of rushing in and getting caught. His shots thrown at a rope-a-doping Groves remained technical and crisp.
Smith hurt Groves once again in the sixth, before bringing his latest reign as champion to an end in the seventh. Groves threw a straight right but Smith got there first, detonating with a left hook while the champion’s glove was still away from home. Smith then closed the show with a barrage of power punches, rendering Groves unable to continue.
The win marked a long awaited ascent to the summit for the Liverpudlian. He has been deserving of a world title shot for a long time. In one superb performance, Smith brought home the pot of gold.
Nights like this serve to make The Muhammad Ali Trophy even more coveted. Even better, they elevate the sport as a whole.