By Calvin Khan [@itscalvinkhan]
The relationship between Paddy Fitzpatrick and George Groves has always been under intense scrutiny, ever since the Swindon based Irishman took over coaching duties from Adam Booth way back in autumn 2013. Two years have passed since then and the relationship between the Hammersmith hitman and the Irish trainer has come to a natural end. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Paddy Fitzpatrick about Eamonn O’Kane fighting on the GGG undercard on October 17th, he was kind enough to go in depth about the split from Groves.
Fitzpatrick describes going into the Christopher Rebrasse fight; pronouncing to Groves before hand, “If we lose this fight, we are finished as a team. George looked at me and said ‘why is that?'” Paddy continued, “I told George, public opinion and the media will not allow you and I to stay on together regardless of what goes on, we are zero wins and two losses as a team going into the European title fight.” He further stated, “George however dominated Rebrasse effortlessly, for a man who had been under extremely immense stress, he performed brilliantly and was absolutely slated for it by the fans and the boxing media.”
Paddy Fitzpatrick has trained under the likes of Buddy McGirt, Freddie Roach and many more notable elite coaches. He signifies that he was bemused by the negative attitude from the public regarding his partnership with George Groves. “Everyone thought his performance in the first Carl Froch fight was a revelation. His performance and my game plan showed in that fight we weren’t bad for each other at all, then later on we are lambasted for our partnership together?” The same fans who praised their game plan had turned on them in the space of nine months citing a regression in Groves’ ability as a fighter.
Fitzpatrick moved on to the recent loss to 168lbs WBC champion Badou Jack, “Recently George lost a split decision on an Al Haymon card against a TMT fighter on the undercard of the owner of TMT Mr. Money Mayweather himself, in his back yard. A split decision in Vegas under those circumstances is as good as a win anywhere else in my opinion.”
The smooth talking Fitzpatrick highlighted that the camp for the Badou Jack fight had been excellent, he then detailed the latter part of the Badou Jack fight, “Up until round eight George was performing very well, but between rounds 8-10 I lost him. I wanted him in the centre of the ring, not on the ropes. At the end of Round 10 I warmed his ears up with motivation and he went out there and gave a beautiful performance in Round 11.” Regarding the final round of the title bout Fitzpatrick strongly stated, “Going into round twelve I had him a point up, nothing went wrong, he lost a split decision in someone’s backyard it could have gone either way.”
He affirmed that George was not in poor physical condition, “Barry his conditioning coach did a phenomenal job, he is a very educated man alongside the strength coach Dan they both had George beating personal bests up in the high altitude of Big Bear, he was hurting the sparring partners consistently.”
Fitzpatrick went on to say why the split occurred from his side “We lost to Badou, we were now two wins and three losses as a team, I felt he needed to move on and get a different coach, I didn’t want to be a leech, I didn’t want to hold him back. I fully believe he will be a world champion. I split with the best of intentions. People can make of that what they want. I am a thick skinned man I am not concerned about anyone’s opinion.”
Paddy was full of praise for his former protégé, “George is a fantastically talented fighter, he has a lot of tools in his box. We were both ‘slagged’ off from day one.“ He believes fans will probably rejoice in the split “If anything people will be like ‘great he’s moved on from that Fitzpatrick dude now!’”
He concluded, “I am happy with the two years we had together. I wish him all the best, I have no bad taste, no malice towards him I really do hope he does become a world champion.”
You can follow Paddy Fitzpatrick on Twitter @paddyboxing.