Boxing is a sport that loves a gimmick in order to create hype, and the new ’World Boxing Super Series’ tournament for some of the best middleweights and cruiserweights on the planet appears to be just that.
There’s nothing on the line but the Muhammed Ali trophy and a sense of pride, but that is one thing that keeps true fighters coming back time after time; pride in winning.
1. World Boxing Super Series
So over the next few months we will see eight cruiserweights and eight middleweights battle it out in a straight knockout tournament. The top four seeds at each weight were allowed to pick their opening opponent, and George Groves, the WBA Super-Middleweight champion, has opted for his former roommate Jamie Cox as his quarter-final rival.
Others in the weight category include Chris Eubank Jnr and Callum Smith, so the middleweight class really is one for spectators and punters to enjoy.
Should either fighter here need any further incentive, Groves has been ordered to put his WBA strap on the line against Cox at Wembley’s SSE Arena on October 14, so can the underdog step up to the plate and shock the world as Groves himself almost did when nearly beating Carl Froch?
2. Winner Betting Odds
The opinion of the bookmakers suggests not, with Groves priced as a comfortable 1.25 favourite and Cox the game outsider at 5.00.
3. Why Jamie Cox?
As a seeded fighter in the competition, Groves was able to select his quarter final opponent from the four unseeded boxers. So why did he choose Jamie Cox?
”Me and Jamie are old buddies,” he said. „We’ve known each other a long time now.”
”It’s also a strategic move. It's a long tournament, so I picked the easy guy first.„
Those are confident words from Groves, but after the form, he has shown in the past year or so he has every right to take his ego for a walk.
After a trio of disappointments when challenging for world titles, Groves linked up with trainer Shane McGuigan and since then has kicked on impressively, beating the rugged Martin Murray and the powerful Eduard Gutknecht before outgunning Fedor Chudinov to finally claim his world strap.
Working with McGuigan has changed Groves’ style markedly. He no longer wildly seeks a knockout finish – proven by his points wins over Murray and Gutknecht – and instead now uses his superior boxing skills to good effect. The manner in which he dismantled Chudinov was even more impressive, and confirms that Groves 2.0 is an outstanding, elite fighter.
So what chance does Jamie Cox have then? As a former Olympic gold medallist, he is clearly a skilled fighter, but issues out of the ring have stalled his career. He has served time in prison for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, and received a suspended sentence for a pub brawl in his hometown of Swindon.
Cox has been given a third chance of salvation, this time by Eddie Hearn, and so far he has come up with the goods, winning each of his three fights since turning to the Matchroom owner.
But this fight is a huge step up in class, with Cox never really fighting any opponent of world class status in his career. Groves will surely prove too skilful, too powerful and too confident for the 30-year-old, and a stoppage victory is the most likely outcome.
The World Boxing Super Series is underway, and Groves vs Cox is perhaps the most mouth-watering contest of the opening round. But who will prevail?