George Groves is left wondering what could’ve been when he looks back on his first fight with Carl Froch.
The pair shared one of the most intense rivalries British boxing has ever seen in 2013/14.
Groves floored Froch, but ended up being controversially stopped
Before their first meeting, the plucky young challenger showed little respect to the experienced veteran champion.
This irked Froch and Groves deliberately utilised mind games as a weapon. Froch later admitted being unsettled by his opponent’s pre-fight antics.
Groves promised to land two right hands in round one and was as good as his word, flooring Froch in the opener.
He told Sky Sports: “I thought, ‘I’m going to hit this dude on the chin and put him to sleep.’
The pair detested one another
“He crossed his legs, came in with a mediocre one-two, with no respect for what’s coming back at him. I put one on the button.
“It was over, it looked like he was out. The canvas woke him up.
“There is that scene in the studio of David Haye and Amir Khan shocked. My face? Normal.
“Neutral corner. Same thing as I learned when I was 12 years old at Dale Youth, my amateur club, when I used to knock people over.
“Will he get up? I couldn’t care less. If he gets up, I’ll put him back over.”
Carl Froch vs George Groves I press conference exchange
When Froch did rise to his feet, there were just a few seconds left before the bell went to signal the end of the round.
Grpves gave his foe a torrid time, before the Nottingham man battled back and won by virtue of a controversial ninth-round stoppage, which many felt was premature.
For the rematch, Froch employed a sports psychologist to help propel him to a convincing KO victory at Wembley Stadium.
Carl Froch settled the rivalry with a straight right hand at Wembley
When asked what would’ve happened if there were more time remaining in the first round after the knockdown, Groves said: “Who knows? He does have a fantastic chin.
“Does it need one more heavy shot or a few? Would he then close up? He was fresh and had a great engine.
“If I hit him that hard in the eighth round he probably wouldn’t have got up.
“It’s all ifs, buts and maybes. I’m not taking anything away from him. But I definitely would have liked another minute – I probably would have put him away.”