By John J. Raspanti
George Groves (24-3, 18 KOs) kept his dream of winning a world championship alive last Saturday night by winning a clear cut 12 unanimous decision over Martin Murray (33-4-1, 16 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London, England.
The taller Groves was sharper in the opening rounds. He probed with his educated jab and followed it up with sneaky right hands. Murray, normally aggressive, lagged behind.
Groves, 28, won the first three rounds easily. It was apparent that Murray was banking on Groves’ reputation for running out of gas.
Murray, 33, finally let his hands go in Round four. He connected with a left, but Groves absorbed it and fought back effectively. Murray played a little rope-a-dope in Round six, but Groves took his time and let fly with some sharp blows to the head and body.
Groves almost ended matters in Round seven. A stifling right uppercut sent Murray staggering into the ropes. Murray was lucky the punch landed with only seconds to go in the stanza. Groves strafed Murray with shots in Round eight. The end seemed near, but Murray is one tough guy. He battled back until being hurt again by a combination.
Murray did well in Round nine until a couple of Groves’ rights almost floored him. Somehow, he came out with more energy in Round 10. After landing a sweeping left hook to his opponent’s chin, Murray went for broke. Groves fought back, but was tagged with two right hands over his low left.
Both fighters tired in the last round. Murray stalked, but was wobbled again by a blow to the noggin.
All three judges scored the bout 118-110 for Groves.
“I think I performed well,” said Groves in the ring. “Martin Murray is a class act. He should be a world champion. This was make or break.”
The victory was the third in a row for Groves.
Groves will likely get his fourth crack at world championship honors later this year when he faces Fedor Chudinov for the vacant WBA title. Groves has been stopped twice by Carl Froch and lost a split decision to WBC champion Badou Jack in September.