As I sat there ringside watching Groves dismantle Di Luisa on Saturday night, I saw glimpses of a man who still has the killer instinct, the fire burning deep inside…. brief being the operative word.
I once had the pleasure of talking to the likeable and friendly Shane McGuigan, he confidently told me that his training style is similar and compatible with that of Adam Booth. Saturday night, confirmed that, the choice of trainer for George Groves albeit a young inexperienced trainer is the right selection for him at this given time.
Sometimes it is not about finding the most technically gifted trainer, sometimes it is about finding the trainer who can bring out attributes buried deep within the soul.
I wrote an article a few years back where I said George Groves has taken on too much outside of the ring, which will ultimately be his downfall when it comes to achieving world honours. He may or may not have read the article, but he has taken the first steps in maintaining focus on his in ring abilities, for the first time since June 2013.
George has been searching for a man to replace Adam Booth, a trainer who oozes confidence, an illusionist and a control freak. Those attributes, in certain cases, allow a fighter to feel self-assured about the team around them, less stress, less mess, more ring prowess. Over the course of the last two years, we saw George became Mr Do it All, to the detriment of his career, he had his reasons, trust being the main one.
Enter Shane McGuigan, the man who has become Mr Rejuvenator, he’s got more fighters than Don King! He signifies the new generation, the chap who has learnt tricks from fighters of the past, whilst aiming to add a youthful exuberance to the game….the McGuigan Touch.
The results are showing, to an extent. Groves showed smart body work, slick upper body movement and speed that seemed to have left him for the last two years.
The fight was at a catch weight, so not all processes have been ironed out, if it’s Shane’s conditioning methods or George’s meal discipline, we don’t know. However, Groves’ perceived stamina issues under Booth were maybe down to him crashing his weight on fight week. Whilst in recent times under Paddy Fitzpatrick he has looked more like a ten round fighter than a six round fighter an improvement in stamina nevertheless. Only time will tell, if Shane McGuigan can keep him sharp and strong at 168lbs. When up against James DeGale, Callum Smith or any world level fighters, the weight making issues may endure bigger consequences.
Groves is a smart cookie, a world title challenger, he is shrewd enough to know that the Sauerlands are more suited to dealing with his business affairs, whilst he focuses on maximising his ring abilities. He is clever enough to know what to eat, what not to eat. He is wise enough to know that paper chasing will lead him to a route where emptiness seems like eternity.
But will he be intelligent enough to learn from other people’s mistakes?
The Groves saga goes on…..