Andy Lee gives his backing to George Groves' new trainer
Andy Lee believes George Groves has made a wise decision after he selected Paddy Fitzpatrick as his new trainer.
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 11/11/13 12:49pm
Groves forged a successful partnership with previous trainer Adam Booth, who had overseen the 25-year-old's unbeaten career since he turned professional in 2008.
Booth's shrewd tactical brain and Groves' intelligent ring skills proved a winning combination as 'The Saint' rose through the super-middleweight ranks, collecting Commonwealth and British titles on the way.
But as the pair approached their toughest test, they suddenly split in October, leaving Groves to find a new trainer just a matter of weeks before his Sky Sports Box Office showdown with Froch on November 23.
Lee, a former world title challenger, is also trained by Booth and is not surprised that he swiftly sought out Fitzpatrick, a familiar face in the Vauxhall gym.
Fitzpatrick has worked alongside Booth in recent years, joining him in the corner for some of Groves' fights and Lee feels they share some of the same principles.
The Irish middleweight told skysports.com "Very good trainer, good manner about him.
"He's very calculated. He knows what he wants and he has his own way of doing things, but he's similar to Adam in a lot of ways, but in other ways he does a lot of things himself.
"They teach a lot of the same things, just basic pad work, very similar combinations with slight differences.
"I think they have a similar approach. Adam respects Paddy as a trainer as well. That's why he was part of Team Hayemaker.
"Personality wise they are different men. Paddy is a philosophical type of guy. He has a good eye for fighters and he is a good judge of a fighter."
Booth has earned a reputation as a wily strategist and Groves followed his masterplan in the 2011 points win over bitter rival James DeGale.
Without Booth in his corner, it remains to be seen if Groves can outfox the experienced Froch.
Lee expects Fitzpatrick to supply a similar blueprint to Booth and has urged Groves to listen to it in the heat of battle.
"I think he will have a good plan for George, he'll have a good strategy," he said.
"I don't think it will be any different from the strategy that Adam would have had.
"The only concern I have, is that I hope George holds Paddy in the same respect he held Adam, because Adam was his guru and now Paddy is the guy who he has worked with before, but in a secondary capacity, so that's the only thing I would say."
The break-up with Booth has cast a shadow over Groves' preparations for Froch and the pair are no longer thought to be on speaking terms.
Lee insists this turmoil will not unsettle Groves, but is saddened by the split at a point when the duo's hard graft had secured a chance of world title glory.
"It depends on how he sees it. I don't think he's worried about it either way. He's a mentally strong guy," said Lee.
"I think probably somewhere, personally he has regrets about how things went with Adam, probably not now, but maybe he will in the future.
"Not that I know what went on, but just I think for both of them this was their fight which they had worked on and all they had been working on until this point. It's a shame that they split up.
"In some way it's win-win for Adam because if George does well Adam's looking good, if George loses Adam's looking good. In some way, but that's not all and everything."
Lee himself changed trainer last year, joining Booth in London after the death of his legendary mentor Emanuel Steward.
He accepts that Groves may profit from Fitzpatrick's fresh outlook, but believes Booth still had more to give to his former protege.
"It could give him a new approach but the only thing is, I still believe George had more to learn from Adam," he said.
"I was with Emanuel for seven or eight years, the only trainer I had been with and then Emanuel passed away. So I had no other choice but to move on.
"I think George could still have benefited from having Adam in his corner, but Paddy is the next best thing."
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