Glenn McCrory: “A level playing field”

8 05 2011

Sky Sports’ Glenn McCrory gives his verdict on the eagerly anticipated May 21st clash…

From SkySports

I know some people think this fight is happening too early, but I think it’s come at a good time for both James DeGale and George Groves.

Someone is going to lose – and we all have our opinion on who that will be – but defeat will not be the end of the world for either of them.

They are both young enough to come back and build again and they are both good enough to do that. All it means is having to fight for a title again and losing their unbeaten record. And trust me, that is not a disaster many people make it out to be.

Over here in Britain we get too down on it, we think an unbeaten record is the be all and end all. Yes, it does add a bit of mystery to a fighter but at the end of the day it can be the best thing that happens to you. Look at Shane Mosley; he’s lost two of his last five yet still gets to fight the very best in the world.

And if you want to see how to take a defeat in the right way, look no further than Amir Khan. A loss can often be the beginning of something and does not have to be the end and I hope both these young fighters are aware of that.

I am not so sure they will ever meet again, so I am glad this is going ahead now. There is an old score to settle and sometimes it’s best to settle it while you can because there is every chance you might not get another opportunity.

I’ve got to be honest and say that when this fight was first made, my immediate reaction was to favour DeGale but the more I see of the two of them in the build-up, the more I see him getting agitated, the less certain I become. Groves, you have to say, has come out on top so far.

I don’t think James is doing himself any favours. We know there is dislike there, geuine animosity, but I think he is going about things the wrong way. Talking about the colour of his hair, what he looks like, all that personal stuff, is not necessary – or nice.

I know James quite well and he really isn’t like that but for some reason, he has been the one getting wound up while Groves has just kept his calm and his dignity.


DeGale is playing a dangerous game because he has to be careful he doesn’t overstep the mark. Remember he has had to deal with a lot since winning the Olympic gold medal; in this country we we don’t always appreciate success and it was not so long ago he was being booed on his pro debut. He does not want to turn the crowd against him for this one.

People loved Frank Bruno, Ricky Hatton and the late Sir Henry Cooper because they built themselves up for a fight the right way. They didn’t see the need for insults and always maintained the ability to laugh at themselves, which goes a long way with the British public.

Yes, Muhammad Ali said all those things but he was American and Americans love blowing their own trumpets. We tend to let everybody else do it for us and just get on with things – and James should do just that.

That rivalrly cannot be ignored either. Groves might just be sitting there really, truly believing he has got his number. They must have sparred hundreds of rounds and he won their only fight, so maybe he just knows more about James’ personality, and what will undo him, than we think.


Even the best fighters in history had someone who they couldn’t deal with, couldn’t handle or someone that just got to them.

Technically DeGale is the favourite because he has the better skills right now, he is the one that has made the smoother transition to the pro game. But technique alone does not win you boxing matches.

And it doesn’t matter how good you look, it’s whether you can do everything you need to come out with that win. That is all tha matters and that’s all that anyone will care about after this.

Throw into that the history, the way they’ve both been conducting themselves in the run-up so far and all of a sudden this fight is not as clear-cut as we first thought. Not in a million years.




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