It took us awhile to get here, but we are finally ready to wrap up the inaugural season of the World Boxing Super Series. This Friday, their Super Middleweight (168 lbs.) tournament ends as George Groves (28-3; 20 KOs) faces Callum Smith (24-0; 17 KOs) in the finals. On the line is Groves’s WBA title, plus the WBSS Muhammad Ali trophy. Ring Magazine ranks Groves at #1 in the division, with Smith #3. The fight takes place this Friday, September 28 live from Saudi Arabia and airs on the DAZN streaming service with a fight time of 1:00 p.m. ET. DAZN is $9.99/month, but you can get a free 30 day trial. The main event is scheduled to start at 4 PM ET.
How do these two stack up?
Groves: 30 years old | 5’11” | 72” reach | orthodox stance
Smith: 28 years old | 6’3” | 78” reach | orthodox stance
What have these two done recently?
Groves: W - Chris Eubank Jr. (UD) | W - Jamie Cox (KO) | W - Fedor Chudinov (TKO)
Smith: W - Nieky Holzken (UD) | W - Erik Skoglund (UD) | W - Luke Blackledge (TKO)
How did these two get here?
George Groves is only 30, but he’s something of a war-torn veteran at this point. Groves really rose to prominence in his 2013-14 series with Carl Froch (where Groves went 0-2). Since then, he’s somewhat oscillated between serious battles and favorable gimmes. He’s coming in here off of what you could argue is his greatest career win - a decision victory in the WBSS semifinals over Chris Eubank Jr. That fight was in February, and Groves has been inactive since then dealing with a shoulder injury. What comes next for Saint George will be interesting, as he has talked both retirement and moving up to Light Heavyweight.
The undefeated Callum Smith early earned the label of “best Smith brother”, though interestingly, he’s also had by far the fewest high profile fights of the brothers. Maybe that changes here. Smith is a 6 year pro, and he comes in off a win over kickboxing legend turned boxer Holzken, a late replacement for Jurgen Brahmer. Groves has been critical of Smith’s level of opponent throughout this tournament, and he does have a point - Smith struggled at times against Skoglund, and was criticized for his inability to put Holzken away. A win here would be a major moment in Smith’s career, no doubt.
What can fans expect?
Overall, George Groves is probably the better boxer, with a more effective jab, and a more demonstrated ability to deal with top level opponents. At the same time, Groves is far and away the more worn down fighter, as his shoulder injury layoff and retirement talks indicate. At both fighters’ best, this seems like it should be a Groves victory, as Smith has struggled against fighters a notch below George. But Groves also seems more likely to be hurt by a big shot, and particularly when you factor in the time off and any questions about his shoulder, there’s a definite danger the wheels could fall off for Groves, and Smith could finally live up to the early Smith hype. That should make for a tense fight - one where Groves is winning, but always on the cusp of defeat. Odds have Groves as the very slight favorite at -145 to +115 for Smith, and that seems right, but don’t be surprised if the (mild) upset happens.
Prediction: George Groves, UD
Should you watch?
If you can. It should be an entertaining fight, and it caps off the tournament, and who doesn’t love a good tournament? Only downside - it’s not in the UK, where a rabid fan base for both men would make for a guaranteed electric environment.