George Groves not overlooking Francisco Sierra

Posted: July 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Hammersmith star George Groves clearly has no intention of taking the easy path to his goal of a major international super-middleweight title.

In his last three title starts, ‘The Saint’, 24, has seen off the formidable trio of Kenny Anderson (rsc6), James DeGale (pts12) and Paul Smith (rsc2). Now, following almost eight months out due to injuries, he will concede height, reach, experience and home court when he returns in a potentially awkward eight rounder with Mexican banger Francisco Sierra tomorrow evening.

The chief support to the Interim WBC World Welterweight clash between Robert Guerrero and Selcuk Aydin at the HP Pavilion, San Jose, California shall be broadcast live in the UK on the undisputed home of TV boxing BoxNation (Sky Ch.437/Virgin Ch.546) starting at 1am, with Groves expected in the ring shortly after.

This is no ‘gimme’ for Groves. His opponent, known locally as ‘Panchito’, enters with a credible 25-5-1 slate and Groves shall need to be mindful that 22 of those victims capitulated inside the scheduled distance.

Now 24, the 6ft 1in Tepic, Nayarit native was only 17 when he joined the profession in September 2005 and the five reverses that soil his slate were inflicted in company that is arguably superior to what Groves has encountered thus far.

Future WBA interim light-middle king Rigoberto Alvarez (elder brother of ‘Canelo’) outscored ‘Panchito’ over 12 in April 2006, then stopped him in 10 of a return eight months later. Columbia’s highly dangerous two-weight IBF title challenger Edison Miranda routed Sierra inside a round in October 2009 and, at the bottom end of last year, Phoenix’s Jesus Gonzales (then 26-1) and 6ft 4in South African southpaw Thomas Oosthuizen (unbeaten in 17) both beat the Mexican on their home turf (pts 12 and rsc 10 respectively).

However, sandwiched between those blotches, Sierra can boast very credible successes over Esteban Camou (then 22-2, but retired in seven for the Mexican title), ex Carl Froch victim Henry Porras (33-7, taken out in round nine in his native Costa Rica), one time WBO welter boss Jose Luis Lopez (50-4-2, yet retired after six) and Chicago’s Don ‘Da Bomb’ George (unbeaten in 21 but dropped and mastered by Sierra on a technical decision after seven).

The Mexican also held Florida’s future NABF king Dyah Davis (18-2) to a 10 round draw in February 2011. Most recently, he relieved compatriot Rogelio Ruvelcuba of his 10 fight unbeaten tag, comprehensively outscoring him over six in early June.

Plenty of pedigree then, which makes the advertised odds of 12-1 on Groves triumphing faintly ridiculous. Nevertheless, I do expect the Brit to come through what should prove a gilt-edged tutorial in his ring education.

A former dual ABA champion and current British and Commonwealth belt holder at 12 stone, Groves is yet to experience defeat after 14 paid gigs and preserving that could be decisive when the action gets down and dirty against Sierra.

Hampered by injuries to his back then nose, that scuppered his scheduled re-sit with Anderson (March) and a WBO challenge to Robert Stieglitz (May), the west Londoner will doubtless be itching to make up lost ground and emphatically restore his standing as one of Britain’s brightest future world title hopes. However, given Senor Sierra’s daunting stoppage stats, he’ll need to guard against over eagerness. Manager-trainer Adam Booth’s role in keeping him calm and composed shall be crucial.

But Groves scoured the globe as an elite amateur and, having already performed in Germany and the US as a pro, he is unlikely to be fazed by unfamiliar surroundings. Even allowing for rust, he should have a little bit too much nous and class and I expect him to advance through the odd rocky patch and prevail by clear decision. Anything more, should be viewed as mightily impressive.

Article courtesy of Frank Warren Promotions.


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