GEORGE Groves’ sparring partner Luke Watkins claims Carl Froch’s calm exterior is a just an act ahead of the world title rematch.
The pair clash for the second time at Wembley on Saturday after their first contest ended in controversial terms when Howard Foster pulled Groves out of the fight in the ninth round.
In the build-up to the last fight Groves gained a psychological edge with Froch visibly rattled throughout their media obligations. This time however, Froch has cut a more composed figure although Watkins believes it is all show.
“It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s how you are feeling inside,” said Swindon boxer Watkins. “Just because Carl Froch hasn’t said anything doesn’t mean he is calm inside. I’ll give you two examples. When they were on Ringside on Sky Sports he raises his eyebrows when George is talking, which shows he is holding his emotions in.
“Another example is when they went to shake hands. Most people lean in when they shake hands but he leant back. Also on the Gloves Are Off programme, Carl struggles to keep it together. Everyone knows what it is like when you are in a situation you don’t want to be in, your hands can get clammy. I’ve been there, we all have.
“On the Gloves Are Off, Carl wipes his hand three or four times before they shake hands. That proves he is struggling to hold it all together in my opinion. And that’s what it is, this is all my opinion, I’m not a sports psychologist this is just what I think from my experiences.”
Rattled or not, Watkins also claimed the outcome of the fight is all down to Groves’ performance.
“I don’t think it matters what Carl Froch does, I think it is the performance of George Groves that counts,” added Watkins. “I think it is about who stays on course, it’s about who sticks to the gameplan. Carl Froch has to perform to the best of his ability because you are only as good as your last peformance. The pressure is all on Carl Froch.”
The fight itself will break British boxing’s attendance records but Watkins doesn’t think that will faze Groves or his trainer - Swindon’s Paddy Fitzpatrick.
“George is how he is. He is a gentleman and just does what he does going about his business,” said Watkins. “I think George is just going to go in there as he always does in a calm and confident manner.
“Paddy will do the same, they will both take it in their stride.
“It is only a big deal if you make it a big deal.”