The pressure is on for George Groves as he battles for a world title on September 12th.
However there is another man, who will be under just as much pressure if not more going into the MGM Grand as George Groves fights for the WBC super middleweight world title. The clock is ticking for coach Paddy Fitzpatrick.
The coach/trainer of George Groves has come under scrutiny for George’s recent performances ever since taking over the reins from ex trainer Adam Booth. Word’s such as ‘lacklustre’, ‘fatigued’, ‘sluggish’ have all been pitched around regarding the Saint’s performances since the defeat at Wembley Stadium in Spring 2014.
Having been part of George’s training team under Adam Booth, Fitzpatrick took over corner duties with seven weeks to go in the first Carl Froch matchup in November 2013. Under Fitzpatrick, Groves suffered his first two professional losses albeit to a proven world champion, which brought up the question is Paddy just a yes man or will he make George Groves into an unstoppable force in the 168lb division?
Fitzpatrick’s coaching style is similar to Virgil Hunter’s, both are education centric individuals, they both emphasise building and developing one’s inner self in order to solidify a foundation. Therefore allowing efficient implementation of the art of boxing which both instil very well to their fighters.
Fitzpatrick has had his fair share of critics, George was known as an erratic fighter whose blistering hand speed and unpredictable movement caused opponents huge difficulties, this seems to have been subdued under Fitzpatrick guidance. The effective one-two-roll under technique implemented by Booth seems to be a thing of the past now. Fitzpatrick appears to be sculpting George into a boxer rather than a banger someone who can pick his shots and use ring general ship to control his opponent. Fitzpatrick in my opinion has been building an arsenal of tools for George to pick from in order to compete at elite level and prepare him for the variety of styles he may encounter in future fights.
George has increased his punch variation, mental ring awareness, together allowing him to control both Rebrasse and Douglin in dominant fashion, (fighters he should be winning against) even Froch at points was struggling to gain rhythm in the Wembley showdown despite winning by knockout. Fitzpatrick is a soothing influence a well-spoken gentleman, who emits positive vibes wherever he goes. I was present at Wembley Arena for the Christopher Rebrasse fight and his corner work was exceptional, he instilled a calming serenity to a fighter who seemed to have the weight of the world on his shoulders.
The results will have to show now, this is where the years spent together will come into fruition. Time is running out for Fitzpatrick, another poor performance or defeat versus Badou Jack will undeniably place Paddy Fitzpatrick in-between a rock and a hard place. It could raise serious questions into the long term career of George Groves and where he is headed underneath the tutelage of Fitzpatrick.
By Calvin Khan, Twitter: @itscalvinkhan