It’s a Bonfire night double bill tonight when two title fights take place at the new Wembley Arena in London.
The super middleweight division in this country is currently a hotbed of talent. We have the Olympic Gold medallist James DeGale and on Saturday, two more domestic rivals take centre stage when George Groves meets Paul Smith in a fight for the British and Commonwealth championship.
Groves, from Hammersmith, is unbeaten in 13 fights and has an extensive amateur pedigree. After an impressive 12 fight winning streak as a pro, in which he took the Commonwealth belt from the respected Charles Adamu, Groves was matched in a domestic unification fight against bitter amateur rival James De Gale in May this year.
In a closely contested fight, Groves nicked a hard fought majority verdict although the margin of victory was only one point from two judges.
The common opponent for DeGale and Groves is Paul Smith.
From Liverpool and a pro since 2003, Smith has 31 wins in 33 fights. After fighting mainly in the Northwest area of the UK for the first five years of his career, Smith travelled to 02 Arena in London to annex the English title from Cello Renda in March 2008.
Although he would lose the English title in his next fight, Smith would win the British title the following year with a hard fought win over local rival Tony Quigley. One defence later he caught an in form DeGale and was dismantled in nine rounds to lose the title in late 2010.
Although Smith has had more pro fights, Groves rightly comes into this fight as a betting favourite. Logic could say that because DeGale beat Smith and Groves then beats De Gale then Groves should easily win. We all know boxing doesn’t work that way!
Although I think Groves will win this one, I don’t think it will be easy and I reckon Smith will push him to back foot in the early rounds. Having said that, I think Groves will ride that storm en route to a hard fought points decision win.
In the co main event, Scotland's Ricky Burn,s who seems to have been boxing's best kept secret in the last 12 months, moves up a division to lightweight when he takes on Australian Michael Katsidis for the interim WBO title.
Katsidis, as we know, has proven pedigree. A former champion at this division when he blew away Kevin Mitchell last year, Katsidis attempted to unify the division by taking on the highly rated Juan Manuel Marquez.
Although he had the Mexican down in the third and was competitive on the judges' scorecards, Katsidis was stopped in the ninth.round.
The Australian has undoubtedly mixed in the higher company but in the last year has suffered back to back defeats . Burns on the other hand, after a successful reign as super featherweight champion, is in the form of his life.
The odds in this one will favour Katsidis as he has mixed in the higher company and is the natural lightweight.
Arguments can be made for either guy to win but I feel Katisdis' constant pressure and aggression will grind down Ricky for a late stoppage win.