Boxing: Nigel Benn tips George Groves to be the new Dark Destroyer

Former world champion offers advice and support before showdown with Carl Froch

boxing correspondent

George Groves admits he was knocked out last week – by a telephone call from Australia. It came in the middle of the night and the voice on the end of the line was that of Nigel Benn, the former world champion, offering words of encouragement and advice for the 26-year-old Londoner before his repeat superfight showdown with Carl Froch at Wembley Stadium next Saturday night, a £20 million event that has become as much a happening as a fight.

"It kinda blew me away," Groves tells us. "I'd never spoken to or even met him before but as a schoolboy he was my favourite fighter – and my dad's. A real hero.

"He said: 'Just go out and do it. You were robbed the first time. Just do your stuff. Carl's there for the taking.' He also said a lot of stuff about him I'd rather not mention in giving me some useful tips.

"Since the last fight lots of people keep telling me how to beat Froch. But of all those who've spoken to me, from film stars to other fighters, what Nigel said meant most. After all he's been there and done it."

The Dark Destroyer, now a 50-year-old church minister in Sydney, knew all about domestic grudge fights. Froch v Groves 11 has distinct echoes of Benn's own dramatic duo with Chris Eubank in the nineties.

Such support from a pugilistic peer will further fuel Groves's already brimming confidence, but Benn is not alone among star super-middleweights who believe "Saint George" is capable of depriving Froch of his IBF and WBA titles.

Joe Calzaghe, who retired undefeated in the division, tips Groves "providing he doesn't run out of puff". And even his career-long arch-enemy James DeGale, the Wembley warm-up in a final eliminator for the world title against unbeaten American Brandon Gon-zales, (a tough proposition), reckons Groves "has Carl's number".

We shall see when the roar of the 80,000 crowd drowns the sound of the first bell. Boxers, like jockeys, can be notoriously unreliable tipsters, and, while two months shy of his 37th birthday, Froch is the sort of seasoned warrior you underestimate at your peril.

His clumsy start with that first round knock-down in Manchester last November suggested he was in the grip of ring rage, uptight at being dissed by an upstart who had fought no one of his stature.

But it was his own right hand that was held aloft after the ninth, albeit after a seemingly hasty intervention from referee Howard Foster that was deemed "improper" by the IBF who upheld Groves' plea for a re-match. The tsunami of popularity for Groves even astonished a sport where the bizarre is often the norm, and this time he will be cheered into a home-town ring.

"Carl has managed to get by with what he has got," claims Groves. "Slowly, his attributes are starting to deteriorate. He is left now with a good chin and a bit of determination. Technically, he punches terribly.

"In the last fight, he was abused – physical, emotional, spiritual. How is he going to deal with that when the flashbacks come? I know I can hurt him mentally and physically."

As the Independent on Sunday first revealed Froch has sought counsel from a sports psychologist, which Groves sees as a sign of weakness. But Froch says it was as much to help him cope with the occasion as an antidote to Groves's mind games.

"I couldn't even say his name before," he admits. "I let the boy get under my skin with his arrogance, the disrespect ,and it affected my performance in a very negative way. That will not be happening again."

Groves counters: "I think Froch respects me but he doesn't want to admit it. He thinks I'm a petulant kid and he wants to tell me to behave. But he knows if he does, it'll be embarrassing. So he's trying to be calm. But he's seething. He's more in need of a psychiatrist than a psychologist."

The decade that separates them may be the telling factor though as Calzaghe indicates Groves' stamina is the less reliable, which may be why he has been on regular 10-mile runs.

Observers of Froch's Sheffield workouts say he threatens more controlled venom this time.

Groves promises a KO in three. "Bring it on," says Froch, who says Groves can't last the distance. Here is a fascinating collision of will and egos that could go either way. Re-matches rarely live up to the original but this should be an exception.

It is a hard call but I believe Groves gained more in losing their last inconclusive entanglement than Froch did in winning. What would not surprise me is a split decision in Groves' favour, and even richer pickings in episode three of a titanic trilogy.

Froch v Groves II is live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book online now at: skysports.com/frochgroves2 or call 08442 410888

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea