The Pugilist

Froch v Groves II: The boxing legends give their verdict on big fight

The Pugilist

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80,000 will be at Wembley tonight for a mouth-watering world IBF and WBA super-middleweight title duel between Carl Froch and George Groves. The boxing greats have their say on who is going to win the biggest British fight since Nigel Benn fought Chris Eubank for a second time in 1993.

David Haye (former WBA heavyweight champion): George is a very good long range boxer and Carl Froch has got a real weird - but effective - way of closing the range, without closing the range. He's got really long arms, he's bolt-handed and he lets you think you are having it and as you're doing it, he starts punching while you are punching and that really slows people up. I've sparred with George a lot and he is very awkward, but I sparred with Carl too and he's very awkward as well. In terms of my own style I am trying to think which one I would least like to box. I have seen Carl out-boxed on occasions but I haven't seen George out-boxed, so I'd probably go for Carl if I can out-box him. But believe me, if you try and go to war with Carl, you just come unstuck! I am sitting on the fence again for this one. I am not going anywhere and I am certainly not going to pick a winner. I am just going to sit back and enjoy the fight and see how it plays out. I am watching this as a fan. I am not there to cheer someone on and I don't need to because 80,000 people will be doing that at Wembley.

Winner: Too close to call

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Lennox Lewis (most recent fighter to the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world): Everybody is taking it a lot more seriously and George Groves really feels like he can do something to Carl Froch this time and he really wants to do it. You can hear it from all the things he has been saying. Froch is taking it a little bit more seriously too and he wants to go out there and prove something and show he can do his technical stuff and stay away from throwing the haymakers. I think he’s learned his lesson and I don’t think he wants [another scare] to happen again. This fight is going to have a lot of fireworks in it. Whoever keeps his chin lowest is the one who is going to win and Froch has the advantage as he definitely has the stronger mind and he’s put a lot into training. I know how this man thinks and trains; he’s taking it very seriously. I say Froch [will win] by a knockout.

Winner: Carl Froch

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Amir Khan (former two-time world light-welterweight champion): I like both guys even though I've had my ups and downs with Froch. I was on the edge of my seat watching the first one and I'm excited about this one. I'm not sure who is going to be the winner. I was saying the first one that Groves would win because he is the underdog. But this time it is 50-50 and maybe Froch will take it because he knows what to expect. Froch is taking it more seriously this time. I think Froch might take it with the experience he has got, he might start a bit quicker and be more composed.

Winner: Carl Froch

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Ricky Hatton (former world welterweight and light-welterweight champion): I’m sticking with Carl Froch to win his rematch with George Groves at Wembley tonight – but I have to admit I feel like I was a bit disrespectful to George’s chances in the first fight. I thought Carl – the warrior that he is – would just walk through his younger, less experienced opponent. But looking back I have to admit I didn’t do Groves justice. And after a great performance at the Phones 4 U Arena, no one could claim he doesn’t deserve another crack. This is more than a fight for the Nottingham Cobra – it’s his legacy that’s on the line. But still I’ve got to go with Froch, who maybe underestimated Groves, just as I did. I like to think I know my boxing. And if I was thinking Carl could power his way past George, perhaps he was thinking the same.

Winner: Carl Froch

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Steve Collins (former world middleweight and super-middleweight champion): I saw George early in his career and he was a nice boxer and a good kid but of recent he has shown more to me than I thought he had. If George Groves goes on to win this fight, he is going to go on to be one of the greatest in British boxing because he is going to show that he can, at this early stage of his career, take on the big strong puncher and win. If he does win this fight, he is going to be something really special. I've grown to like and be more impressed by Groves. I see a great fight and whoever sticks to the game plan can win because both these guys have the ability to beat each other. I like Carl Froch. I hope he wins. He has got this fight and one or two more big ones left in him, but George Groves still has time on his side.

Winner: Carl Froch

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Andre Ward (undefeated WBA super-middleweight champion and former WBC super-middleweight champion): If I had to pick somebody, I think Froch will pull it out. I didn't watch the first fight, I saw the knockdown and I saw the stoppage. But I read about it. Groves is confident, he believes in himself and if he wins this fight he'll be on his way, but I think that Froch has another good fight in him.

Winner: Carl Froch

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Joe Calzaghe (undefeated former WBO, IBF, WBC, WBA and The Ring super-middleweight champion and The Ring light-heavyweight champion): I’m happy the second fight’s come around, but slightly surprised. It’s an intriguing fight because there are still question marks over both fighters. Groves was obviously very unlucky and if the fight had gone a bit longer in the first round I think maybe he would have stopped him. But can he go 12 rounds at a good pace? He sort of ran out of steam a bit and got caught, but it was a premature stoppage. Whether Froch would have gone on to stop him we’ll never know, but at the end of the day Groves definitely deserves a rematch and I predict a win for the younger fighter. It’s another tough fight, but I think Groves can win the rematch.

Winner: George Groves

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Anthony Joshua (2012 Olympic super heavyweight champion and British heavyweight title hopeful): I think Carl is going to win the rematch because when you are the champion of the world you have a different type of energy. He is fighting for something he wants to keep. I'm sticking with Carl. He doesn't want to lose his belt.

Winner: Carl Froch

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Tyson Fury (undefeated former British and Commonwealth champion): Froch has beaten him once so he'll beat him again. I beat Chisora once, I'll beat him again.

Winner: Carl Froch

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Richie Woodhall (former WBC super-middleweight champion): I think it will be similar to the last one and Groves will have his moments, but I am expecting Froch to win. Styles make fights and these two seem to suit each other. Froch doesn’t know how to take a step backwards, while Groves is very quick to the punch. Carl made too many mistakes early on and got punished last time. I think, this time, he expects Groves to be a genuine threat as a challenger. It was a tremendous performance from Groves last time, probably his best-ever fight. But remember that still wasn’t enough to get the win. At the same time, it was Carl’s worst display and Groves’ best still couldn’t beat him. I have watched Carl train and spar and he looks as strong as ever. I really don’t buy into what people are saying about him being on the slide. He’s 36 now and there’s probably only a couple of fights left for him. One day Groves will be a world champion – I just don’t think it’s this weekend. He’s young, he’s got time on his side and will get better through experience.

Winner: Carl Froch

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Chris Eubank (former world middleweight and super-middleweight champion): In my view, when you are so sure that you have something sussed is when you've missed a trick. That's the only thing with George for me - he is so sure and you should never be so sure. George is fresh, with fewer than 20 fights. He has skill, ability and talent in abundance but he doesn't have the experience of being in the trenches when you have nothing left but your will. What Carl has over him is resolve. He is a battle-hardened, a seasoned campaigner and by my experience, if it goes into the later rounds, then Carl will have the edge. Out of respect for the fighters, and even more so myself, to give a prediction isn't fair because we don't know what's in the hearts of the fighters and I'm not a clairvoyant.

Winner: Too close to call

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Nigel Benn (former middleweight and super-middleweight champion): I believe George Groves has the tools to beat him. It (the stoppage) was so premature. Back in my heyday I'd have thumped the referee because there was no way that fight should have been stopped. He looked at the referee to say 'what are you doing?' because that was one of the only shots that Carl really got in. I got George's number from my brother so I called him because I wanted to tell him that he did really well. He was booed when he went in and everyone was cheering for him afterwards. Because he put up such a good fight the British public just switched. Carl should have said well done after the fight and it will be interesting to see if he gets booed or cheered this time. You've got to have the British public behind you because they're the best crowd in the world and if George has got them behind him, that will encourage him more. That will affect you.

Winner: George Groves

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Barry McGuigan (former WBA world featherweight champion): George is faster and technically superior and could build a lead in the first half. His stamina is being questioned but that is not the reason I suspect he’s not a 12-round fighter. His problem is that he lacks experience of big fights at the high level of intensity this will be. This is a macho game but in the heat of battle it can spill over into arrogance and I doubt if George can stay composed and just keep boxing throughout. Force my hand and I go for Froch with a stoppage in the 10th, 11th or 12th round.

Winner: Carl Froch

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Frank Bruno (won the WBC world title against Oliver McCall in last major fight at Wembley): When I fought against Oliver McCall for the world title in 1995 at the old Wembley, it was unbelievable. Nerve-racking and exciting, but an amazing experience. It is going to be a brilliant rematch. Boxing is coming out of the grave. It is going to be a great fight, and good luck to both fighters.

Winner: Too close to call

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Jim Watt (former lightweight world champion): I still fancy Carl Froch to win - although I have some doubts! That is what makes this such a terrific fight and when you are out for a walk, or just sitting back at home relaxing you start imagining in your mind what is going to happen in Wembley Stadium on Saturday. You can make an extremely strong case for George Groves, who is younger, fresher, naturally bigger and probably a harder puncher than the four-time world champion. He has all the physical advantages going into this so you think he is going to win. But then you can easily start to think that Groves cannot do anything he didn't do the last time - and Carl was still there, hard as nails, experienced and able to turn the fight in his favour.

Winner: Carl Froch

The time for talking is over. Our big fight coverage begins around 7pm (BST) LIVE from Wembley when you can join Liam Happe with all the pre-fight build-up. The fighters are expected to be on their way to the ring around 9:45pm (approx). You can check in with Liam here.

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