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Froch v Groves II: Time To Settle Unfinished Business

Groves will continue to dazzle in their verbal sparring and Froch will insist that he is unmoved by the words of his arch-nemesis. But until the bell rings on Saturday evening we won't know who has won the most riveting psychological war in boxing history.

Carl Froch and George Groves will settle their rivalry once and for all in the most lucrative fight in British boxing history next week.

Stirred by the controversial finish to their first bout in Manchester last November, the showpiece will shatter the post-war record crowd for a boxing match - and it looks certain to set record figures on Sky Box Office. The lure of the showdown has proved too enticing for HBO who will broadcast the fight to millions of fans in the United States and Carl Froch alone can expect to earn up to £10 million for his latest title defence.

The numbers involved in the fight have become so staggering that Howard Foster's contentious stoppage in the ninth round of their first spellbinding bout looks set to benefit both boxers and they will get the chance to settle their differences in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley on Saturday week.

While Foster's premature intervention in last year's fight undoubtedly came with good intentions, the entire boxing fraternity was left outraged after the bell. The world was left wondering whether Groves could have survived the ninth round and battled to victory after a sensational performance in which he exposed Froch as the slower and more limited fighter.

Not only was the challenger more confident and relaxed on the night, he also proved to be as good as his word, charging towards his stiff and tentative opponent and hunting his prey on the front foot. It was a brave and exciting decision from one of the sport's classic counter-punchers and his hypnotic jab and crushing right hands left the champion stunned. It proved that Groves is as articulate with his fists as he is with his tongue and a bruised and battered Froch was looking understandably relieved after the fight.

To the delight of boxing fans all over the world we now have a captivating and unmissable rematch to look forward to next Saturday, and if the first fight had been a mesmerising mental war then the rematch looks to be even more fascinating.

Groves has been keen to set an agenda of more mind games since the bout was announced and his perspicacity and astuteness against Froch's unparalleled grit and determination have helped create one of the most explosive and exciting rivalries in the sport's history.

When the two antagonists have come head-to-head to publicise their rematch, it has been clear that Froch remains deeply irritated by Groves' disrespectful and superior tone - and the champion must dream of wiping the smirk from the challenger's face once and for all.

It was this burning hatred that led Froch to allow anger to diminish his control in November and though it can be excruciating to watch, there is something remarkable about seeing the challenger deliver his meticulously planned putdowns.

Froch claims he is no longer affected by Groves' unrelenting jibes but one suspects it will be the latter who is relishing next week's hectic schedule of face offs, media obligations and interviews.

Groves has shown he is a ruthless psychological bully on more than one occasion and he insists that his mind games are entirely methodical. His brazen refusal to acknowledge Froch's achievements in the sport would irritate even the most unflappable of personalities and his disrespect appears to be a product of his high opinion of himself.

The fact that Groves appears to have an extensive vocabulary - he has co-written a sitcom and has considered a career in stand-up - means that he has the luxury of using repartee as a valuable weapon. He is certainly not afraid to use it.

His interviews are merciless and not always pleasant to watch, but Groves' unashamed bullying isn't cowardly - nineteen consecutive professional victories in five years helped prove that - and the doubt and fear he instils in his opponents is reminiscent of one of the sport's greatest personalities, Mohammed Ali.

Froch has promised his fans that he is coping with the pressure a lot better this time around and he has called upon the help of a sports psychologist in recent weeks. It will be news that is greeted with elation in the Groves camp but it's a vital and admirable step from the champion and it could be a crucial factor if he is to defend his title.

There is no doubt that Groves touched a nerve with Froch last year and he appeared to expose an insecure side to the battle-hardened fighter. The superstar is one of the sport's most successful names; he has nine brutal victories in eleven world title bouts and he is considered to be in the top ten pound-for-pound boxers in the world.

Jaw-dropping displays against the likes of Mikkel Kessler, Lucian Bute and Jermain Taylor have stunned viewers all over the world, yet there is a feeling that he has not received the recognition he deserves since he captured his first world title in 2008.

Froch believes he deserves more credit for the breath-taking wars he has given his fans and he will have been saddened by the boos that followed him out of the ring after his uncomfortable evening against Groves in Manchester.

The anger towards Froch came from those that thought he was rescued by the referee and conspiracy theories and cries of corruption tainted an electrifying comeback. Froch must seek comfort in the way he rallied after the most torrid six rounds of his illustrious career - and when the fight was stopped, two of the three judges had the champion just one point down.

The bout was certainly beginning to sway in Froch's favour and he was landing some colossal punches in a Lazarus-like comeback. As the dust began to settle on the stoppage the idea that Foster was only delaying the inevitable began to gather momentum and Froch was frustrated that the referee had robbed him of the opportunity to remove all doubt.

The severity of the first contest was marked all over Froch's face but a rematch was always his most lucrative option. At the age of 36 he will be aware that a £20million extravaganza in front of 80,000 fans is too good to overlook and it's a fight that could help him secure the credit he deserves and craves.

Groves has been unequivocal in his criticism of Froch, explaining that "he's too slow, too predictable and his best days are over," and there is a case to be made on all three counts. The question will be whether the champion in gentle decline remains too good for his younger challenger and whether or not Froch can channel his frustrations and anger under the guidance of his psychologist.

What we can be sure of is that Froch's determination remains, and Groves must be disheartened by the fact his opponent leapt off the canvas after experiencing the full force of his trademark right hand. The likelihood is that one of the two warriors will be on the floor once more and watching them express their fierce hatred in the ring at Wembley will be a grisly sight.

We know that both fighters will be in the best physical shape possible on fight night but their first encounter was a reminder that even in such a gruelling sport as boxing the mental element must not be underestimated. The fight could be won or lost over the course of the next week.

Groves will continue to dazzle in their verbal sparring and Froch will insist that he is unmoved by the words of his arch-nemesis. But until the bell rings on Saturday evening we won't know who has won the most riveting psychological war in boxing history.

You can get all the latest news and tips ahead of Carl Froch and George Groves' rematch at