Steve Bunce on Boxing: Mind games reach a new level for Carl Froch v George Groves rematch
Trash-talking gives way to ‘quack quacks’ and think tanks
Wednesday 21 May 2014
It is possible that Paddy Fitzpatrick is a genius in the art of mental sabotage that has been used in the fight game for hundreds of years.
Fitzpatrick will be back in the corner when George Groves meets Carl Froch in front of 80,000 at Wembley on 31 May, and claims Groves’ mental and physical preparations are at a whole new level. “I was only with George for nine weeks before the first fight, and for this one we have had a six-month camp,” he said.
In the first fight the referee, Howard Foster, stopped the contest in Froch’s favour in the ninth round with Groves on his feet and winning on all three scorecards. Froch had also been dropped heavily in round one. There were screams for revenge but Froch and Eddie Hearn, his promoter, made it clear they were not interested; Fitzpatrick wants that fact to be remembered.
“I asked George to appeal,” he said. “We used professional people, sports psychiatrists and sports psychologists to compile a report for us and we used that at the appeal. They were our ‘temporary’ members of staff and we were not going to leave it to the opinion of people that were too close to the fight.”
One report highlighted Foster’s bizarre decision to “like” a Facebook message on the day of the fight that said: ‘Froch in nine rounds.’ It was a bad mistake by one of Britain’s best referees.
“The professionals proved that he would not be able to mentally detach himself from that opinion on fight night,” said Fitzpatrick. “It is the opinion of a professional person, and George took that knowledge to the appeal.”
It worked, the IBF ordered the fight, and Hearn and Froch followed, influenced by the obscene ticket sales. “Now we know that Froch has gone to see a quack quack and that is disturbing,” said Fitzpatrick. “He’s with a sports psychologist but he needs a psychiatrist and I will tell you why; a psychologist can help you get back on a bike, get back in a car. Carl Froch’s problem is not a bike or a car: it’s George Groves, and for that he needs a psychiatrist.”
Fitzpatrick is convinced that the process – certainly something Froch has never submitted to before – can only have a negative impact on his preparations: “It’s only happened because of a crisis in the Froch camp.”
The crisis revolves around the relationship between Froch and his trainer since 2001, Robert McCracken, who is also in charge of Britain’s amateurs. McCracken and Froch both refuse to accept that they are in denial about the first fight. “It’s boxing,” said McCracken. “Fighters get hurt, they come back and they win. It’s the way the sport works.”
Fitzpatrick said: “Rob has had to lie to Carl about that fight. They have never had a proper conversation about that fight. That conversation is never going to happen, brother. Basically, if it did happen then Rob would have to say to him that everything that you did to get to this point in your career will no longer work. Rob has no other choice but to lie to Carl.”
Next week the carnival moves to London, and Fitzpatrick said: “I wonder where Carl is right now. Lied to by Rob, beaten by George and laid bare by his psychologist – his head is all over the place. He knows that he can’t win.”
Froch does appear calmer and less agitated than he was before the first fight and actually posted pictures at the weekend on Twitter of an idyllic family day in his garden. “I expect that,” added Groves. “He’s being trained what to say, what to do – it’s all rehearsed. It’s all a show and he knows it.”
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...