Carl Froch and George Groves are both convinced they will emerge victorious from their eagerly anticipated re-match at Wembley tomorrow night.
The pair were in confident mood at the final pre-fight press conference yesterday, with Groves predicting exactly how he will knock out Froch in front of almost 80,000 fans at Wembley.
“It’ll be the left hook that finishes Carl on Saturday night,” Groves said. “Anyone who has watched the media workouts or the Behind the Ropes documentary will know we’ve been working on left hooks – the left hook will work.”
Froch responded dryly: “I better pick that right hand up then and get it by my chin.”
Groves beats his chest, Froch rolls his eyes – it’s been that way since Howard Foster’s controversial ninth-round stoppage decided the pair’s first fight in the latter’s favour in November.
Far from conclusive, Foster’s intervention has given both fighters a platform for belief.
For WBA and IBF super-middleweight champion Froch, it is confirmation that, even with a poor performance, he can get over the line on the biggest stage.
For Groves, it was injustice that scrubbed out his undeniable dominance through the majority of the contest.
“I 100 per cent know I can go 12 rounds – I could have gone 12 rounds the first time,” Groves said. “That’s why we’re here right now, why it’s being called unfinished business – we’re picking up where the last fight left off and I plan to perform. I’m going to get better and better, round on round.
“I’m not going to give anything away but every round I’ll be better and it’s up to Carl to hang in there. I can go 12 rounds if need be, I can go more. I’m in fantastic shape and I’m going to be out there straight in my rhythm, straight in my groove.”
Froch came back: “Hardcore boxing fans know what I’m about. When I turn up in the shape I’m in now – you’ve seen it time and time again against top opposition – I’ve proved I can perform at the top level.”
He continued: “I mix it with the elite boxers in the world. I’m bringing that confidence and that experience with me into this fight on top of being in absolutely unbelievable shape, which will allow me to perform at my best for the whole duration of the fight if necessary.
“But I’m convinced this fight won’t go the distance and that George Groves won’t hear the final bell. Because I know what I have to do and how I’m going to do it.”
At 26, Groves is ten years Froch’s junior. The Londoner is lighter on his feet than his opponent, sharper in his angles and swifter with his hands. But Froch is durable, cunning and, with 32 professional victories out of 34 contests, his experience will prove invaluable when the adrenaline is pumping.
“You’re using the 36-year-old as a question mark around whether or not I can still do it at this level,” Froch said. “But of course I’ve still got it what it takes and of course I can still do what I did in my 20s. I am performing, the output is there, I’m still doing it. It may be a cliché but age really is just a number.”
Groves is determined to prove otherwise. “I’m going to perform on Saturday night and become world champion and do it on the big stage looking very good doing it,” Groves said. “In boxing you can be the most talented fighter out there but you need people to watch and I’m fortunate I’m in that situation. I will arrive on Saturday night – no stone has been left unturned. I’m fully prepared and I just can’t wait.”
As the duo stood up, television cameras jostled for position to catch the simmering square-up that preceded the first fight.
There were no such dramatics this time, however. Froch slapped his two world-title belts over his shoulder and Groves kept his own company with a wry smile. The time for talking is over.