Boxing Picks: Murray Will Surprise Groves In Must-Win Fight

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 1:56 PM GMT

George Groves (23-3, 18 KOs) and Martin Murray (33-3-1, 16 KOs) will fight in a WBA Super Middleweight Eliminator at the O2 Arena on the Anthony Joshua vs. Dominic Breazeale card on June 25.

This promises to be a classic fight as Groves and Murray find themselves in a must-win spot. Whoever wins will continue to get opportunities in the competitive super middleweight division, while the loser will likely go back to the end of the line.

The 33-year-old Murray and the 28-year old Groves are similar in stature and both almost won the world title. Murray was involved in close fights with Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez before losing to Gennady Golovkin and Arthur Abraham in 2015.

Groves has less experience, but he knows what is like to be in the spotlight. He almost beat Carl Froch in 2013 but in the end suffered a controversial TKO loss. Froch stopped him in the rematch and then he lost a title fight at 168 against Badou Jack. Groves won his last two fights, earning a shot at Murray.

Another loss would be disastrous for Groves. His setbacks have been against talented fighters like Froch and Jack and he did beat James DeGale, one of the best in the world at 168. Groves was accomplished as an amateur and when he's at his best he can be crisp and tough to beat.

Murray could have beaten Sturm and Martinez and his fight with Arthur Abraham was close. He's always been a contender but fate hasn't allowed him to reach the top. At 33, some might consider him old, but his experience can help him in this "do-or-die" encounter with Groves. I expect both fighters to be fired up for what should be a classic super middleweight battle.

Betting Analysis
Groves is a flashier boxer but his jaw is a bit fragile, as evidenced when he was knocked out twice by Froch and once by Jack. Has Groves regressed since his impressive showing against DeGale? He did change trainers and the wear from the Froch fights has made him seem a bit insecure and lost at times. Are his issues mental or is he just too tired? Either way, he just hasn't been the same.

Murray is more battle-tested and he has fought quality opponents in tough environments. He went up against Martinez in Argentina, Abraham and Felix Sturm in Germany and Golovkin in Monaco and did pretty well. Not anyone can last 11 rounds against Gennady Golovkin, so his stamina and durability can be the difference against Groves, making him an intriguing boxing pick.

Still, both fighters have their backs against the wall and at +220 boxing odds there's good value on Murray.

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Boxing Pick: Murray +220
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker